Swear Meter Rating of 3: Uncomfortable positions and falling dirt/debris
In order to replace my rubber coolant hoses underneath the car, I had to remove the closing plate underneath the gas tank. The epoxy has lifted and is brittle, though fortunately there is no rust-through and it can be refurbished someday. These are one of the few parts of the DeLorean that are totally unavailable NOS. I had come across the Stainless Steel closing plate on PJGrady.com and it had sat in the back of my mind for some time. I'd spent so much time underneath the car lately I felt it was deserving of a proper upgrade. A short time later I decided to make the investment and try it out.
The closing plate arrived in a reasonable amount of time from New York to Arizona and was packaged well, though somewhat marked up and dirty. A little windex and laquer thinner cleaned most of it up, but there were some scuffs that didn't come out. I felt I could live with this since it was going under the car anyway. The weld points for the nuts are visible and dark, but once attached under the frame, they're out of sight. The plate itself is sturdy and about the thickness of a U.S. quarter. The edges are finished and smooth so I didn't cut myself while handling it. It's the exact style and shape as the original, a big factor to me, as theoretically it could be painted to match the frame, should I choose to. Interesting to note the grain goes perpendicular to the rest of the car's panels.
Installation was a relative breeze. The holes are drilled exactly to the original pattern, and it is rigid enough to not warp or kink while I was installing it. I replaced all my bolts and washers with stainless ones so now the closing plate will outlast the frame. Getting under the car is its own challenge and you'll need some space to un-do the bolts and drop the panel down. I'd recommend removing the bolts furthest back last. The closing plate has a lip at the front so you'll have to pull back to remove it.
It's a costly upgrade at $260, and almost nobody will be able to see it. It falls somewhere between a structural improvement and a cosmetic item. One can hope if you're in a bad accident that you'll flip the car over just so people will admire it. Is it worth it? Ask me in 25 years, but I'm pretty sure I'll say yes.
Available online at http://www.pjgrady.com/holidayspecials.asp