As Tony Grzelakowski at Advanced Body and Color likes to say, “The paint quality follows the body work.” What that means is that the best paint job in the world only look as good as the body work below it. Getting the surface perfectly flat and blending in body work is where you should spend most of your time in prepping your muscle car for paint. That prep is made up of sheetmetal replacement, dent repair and block sanding. This article will give you the basics you’ll need to tackle dent repair.
While there are techniques to removing dents and waviness in metal panels, what is really required is patience. Unlike bolting on an intake manifold, there is not a step-by-step process is guaranteed to make a panel arrow straight. It takes practice and patience. Some areas mayRead More
Between bench racing at car shows and reading a little bit about paint chemicals, it’s pretty easy to become completely confused when it comes time to choose paint for our car. You’ll have people waxing on about the unmatched beauty of a hand-rubbed lacquer paint job offset by someone who loves the latest acrylic urethane two-stage system. Everyone has their favorite brand and line. Most of the literature you’ll find on automotive refinish products is written for professionals and environmental regulatory bodies. Oh, and paint is only one of about 10 products you’re going to need before all is said and done.
So we’ve put together this brief, um, primer, on paint chemicals. We used all PPG products on the car we show in this section, and we’ll stick with their produRead More
If you’re doing paint and body work on your muscle car, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll need to replace some sheet metal. Simply put, ifthe paint is questionable, the foundation under the paint is probably a bit shaky in at least a couple of spots. Rust has a way of workingbehind the scenes to eat holes in your precious car, and you may also uncover some previous repairs that it is now time to fix the right way.
There’s a plethora of reproduction sheetmetal available today, so it’s usually just a matter of realizing what you need to replace and then placing the order. Of course, new sheetmetal doesn’t fit old cars perfectly. Bolt on parts like fenders and doors need massaging to match your 45 year-old car, and weld-in parts need cutting and usually a little shapRead More
We believe that you can have a nice looking car without completely stripping off all of the previous paint, primer and body filler. However, we think that the only way to do a thorough paint and body restoration is to strip the car to bare metal. Doing so exposes exactly whatyou are starting with and lets you address each issue the right way. The way that will keep problems from coming back two, five or 10 years later.
Muscle cars are 40-50 years old. There’s a lot of history hiding under whatever you see on the surface. And it’s the type of history that you need to permanently erase from your car if you want a durable, award-winning paint job.
The final yards of a paint job come once you have all of the sheet metal replacement work done, the dents are straightened and the body filler is sanded. But you’re still a bit away from the in zone. The last stages before paint are critical to executing a top-quality job that’s going to look great close up as well as far away, and last for years or decades to come.
In this final phase, we will cover block sanding. This is where the fingerprints will disappear from your hands and you’ll saturate your clothes with sanding dust. It’s also what makes the difference between a pretty straight car and an arrow-straight car. Block sanding uses layer of primers to fill in extremely small differences in height along the length of a body panel, and it may expose some spots thatRead More
After weeks and months of work, this is the day when it all pays off. When you lay down the color and see a beautiful muscle car body in prefect restored form. It’s hard not to rush into this stage of paint and body restoration. If you do, you’ll see the flaws as you are spraying the paint and clear coat onto the car. We’ve done that before and it’s a much worse feeling than just spending an extra week or two on the previous steps. So make sure you’ve done everything you need to before you launch into this final stage.
We chose a PPG base coat/clear coat system to paint this car with. See the article, “Chemistry Class,” for the skinny on modern chemicals and why we chose this route. There’s a bit of technique to applying the paint and clear, but the theme of prRead More
I contributed photography only for this article.
In 1997 former President Clinton began his second term, scientists cloned Dolly the sheep, the spacecraft Pathfinder landed on Mars, and the Spice Girls released Spiceworld-their second Number One album-making the group the first British band since The Beatles to have two albums on the U.S. charts at the same time. Rock aficionados around the world mourned. That year, I was in the Bay Area, taking pictures and scribbling notes for an engine story that would appear in the August 1997 issue of Hot Rod magazine. Mike Blackstone was caressing a big-block Chevy to pump out what was some serious pump-gas horsepower for the day. Fastest street car racing was starting to get crazy and people were losing sight of the street aspect of fun, go-fast cars. This 557ci engine coming together in BlacksRead More
When you’ve spent decades learning about and building one type of engine, it can be hard to embrace the new stuff. After all, most of us are building older cars that came with these older engines, we have a slew of parts for the old engines and they work just fine. And, let’sface it, change is painful. If It’s not necessary, why do it? Follow along as we point out the nuances that you’ll need to know. It won’t be too painful to learn a few new tricks!