The doors and trunk lid are primered

November 6th, 2012

After several days’ delay due to Hurricane Sandy (and no power for 4 days), I got a change to prime the doors and trunk lid. Like the body, they got 2 coats of epoxy primer and 3 coats of filler-surfacer.

I also re-installed the windshield with a new rubber gasket.  It is a bit of an art to install it- you have to use a long, thin piece of rope to get the lip of the gasket to go around the edge of the opening in the frame.

The body is painted!

October 27th, 2012

I painted the body and bonnet over two days. Each part got a coat of epoxy primer mixed as sealer, and three coats of color. It came out pretty nice overall – a couple of little bugs in the paint, one small run on the windshield pillar, and a small orange-peely patch on the bonnet – nothing that won’t buff out. Most of it looks great.
One annoyance was that the color match was not so great. The original paint was orange-ish red, and the new paint (which was custom mixed to the original factory paint code) is a more saturated, pure, red. But since I painted the door jambs, there is very little original paint showing. The underside of the hood and the inside of the trunk are faded and grubby enough to make color matching irrelevant.
The next step to to get the doors and trunk lid painted. They are ready for primer, but the weather is supposed to be terrible for the next several days.





Finished sanding!

October 24th, 2012

I got the entire body and bonnet (hood) sanded and ready to paint. The final sanding was done wet, with #600 sandpaper. It takes a while, since the body has lots of nooks and crannies. I am doing the door jambs, which add quite a bit of work. After a final cleaning, the car will be ready for the sealer and final color coats. One other thing that I need to do before painting is to fix up any place where the masking might have gotten damaged or loose.

I’ll actually paint the body first, and the bonnet the next day, since it has to be raised to paint the body, and lowered to be painted itself.


October 15th, 2012

So far, I have managed to get the rear valences and both rear fenders sanded. I start with #320 dry, and finish with #600 wet. It takes a while, since the paint seems to clog the 320 sandpaper pretty quickly, and I have to keep vacuuming it off.

Did the primer, finally

October 11th, 2012

Over the last couple of days I finished the masking and got out all my painting stuff and set it up.

Then I sprayed a couple of coats of epoxy primer followed a few hours later by three full coats of filler-surfacer.  The next step is to start sanding it.

Almost ready to start painting

October 7th, 2012

I finished the filler work, went over the car one more time with 220 sandpaper, and wiped it down. Then I put a clean new tarp down on the garage floor, rolled the car to the correct spot, and jacked it up to be supported on some cement blocks, a foot or so above its normal level. This will allow me to more easily paint the rocker panels. Once the car was secure, I removed the wheels, and started masking off all the places where I don’t want paint.

I need one more day to finish the masking the car and giving it a final cleanup, and then it will be ready for primer.

Still doing filler

October 2nd, 2012

I’m mostly done with the filler, but I spend more time than I planned. I realized that one rear fender had a fairly thick layer of old filler, so I started sanding it off. Then I ended up having to put most of it back. I should have left well enough alone.
Another complication: the main pressure switch on my air compressor burned out, and I had to order another, which meant that I had no air for a week.

Getting closer to painting

September 16th, 2012

I was away on vacation for a couple of weeks, and when I got back, I installed the capping strips on the bottom seams of the rear valence. I also drilled some holes in the valence panel for the rear bumper mounts.
Then I resumed sanding. There are a lot of edges, nooks, and crannies that have to be gone over, and it takes a while. I removed the passenger door– I’ll paint both doors separately, along with the trunk lid.
There is two or three hours of sanding left to do, and then a few hours of work work applying filler. After all that is done, the car will be ready for the actual painting, but I will have to prepare my garage for painting and do a lot of masking before I can actually start spraying.

Replaced the panel

August 10th, 2012

The new panel arrived, and it looked good, so I got to work.  First I removed the old panel by cutting out most of it with a jigsaw, and drilling out all the spot welds (90 or so) that held in place, using a special spot-weld-cutting drill bit.  Then I had to clean up all the edges of the surrounding metal where the spot welds had been, including grinding off the remaining parts of the spot welds.

I also had to fabricate and install a patch for a damaged section of the trunk floor, where many years ago  a muffler mounting bracket had been torn off and crudely repaired.  Finally, before welding in the new panel, I had to completely remove all the undercoating and paint from both sides of the metal where the new welds would be, on the edges of both the new panel and the mating surfaces on the car body.  Once all the preparations were finished, I fitted the new panel into position, and used an electric spot welder to weld it in place.  The actual welding went pretty quickly- 90% of the work was in the preparation.

I still need to spend a bit of time tidying up the welded joints, and installing new capping strips over the joints behind the rear wheels.  Once that is done, I can get back to the actual paint job I had originally set out to do.

More sanding, and a momentous decision

July 28th, 2012

I’ve done more sanding, in the spots that I could not reach with the 6″ sander. The car has a lot of nooks and crannies that take longer than I expected to sand.
I removed a lot of bondo from the left rear of the car. It had been hit there once, and whoever repaired it was quite generous with the bondo. Once I got the bondo off, I used my stud welder to get the rear corner of the rear fender closer to its correct shape.

I also decided to replace the entire lower rear valence. It had gotten bashed up, and it had been “repaired” by bashing it in an equal opposite direction and covering the entire thing with about 1/8″ to 1/4″ of bondo. The panel is fairly easy to remove, and since the seams are all exposed, spot-welding the the new panel will not be especially difficult. I had been considering replacing it for the last ten years or so, and if I don’t do it now, it will never get done.

More sanding

July 6th, 2012

I had another day where it was not excessively hot (in the morning at least), so I got some more sanding done. I did the rear fenders and rear valence. I have sanded everything that can be reached with a 6″ round DA sander, and now I’ll have to do a bunch of inside corners, nooks and crannies, etc. with a smaller sander or by hand.

Some more sanding

July 5th, 2012

One day this week was not excessively hot, so I rolled the car outside and did more sanding. I made a lot of progress on the sides of the hood and the rocker panels.

Too darn hot!

July 1st, 2012

It’s been way too hot to do dirty hard work like sanding! But last week I managed to seal off the passenger compartment with a plastic sheet, so sanding dust would not get into the interior.

More paint removal

June 17th, 2012

I took off the driver’s door and put it on sawhorses, which made it easier to sand it. I didn’t try to remove all the old paint, but I made sure to sand completely through the old repaint job, and well into the original paint. Fortunately the original paint is still quite good beneath the surface- there isn’t really any peeling, cracking, rust bubbles, etc. The only exception was the trunk lid, which I took completely down to the metal, and of course the places where I needed bare metal do do dent-pulling or welding. I have to spend maybe 10 or 15 solid hours with the sander do do the entire car. It’s just noisy, dusty, uncomfortable work…


June 14th, 2012

The paint on the trunk lid was in really bad shape, so I took the lid off the car and used paint stripper to completely remove all the old paint. It also needed some sanding to deal with the spots the stripper didn’t completely take care of.
I also started sanding the hood. I noticed that the paint thickness is very uneven- some parts needed tons of sanding to get through the topcoat to the primer, but other parts were down to the metal after a few seconds. I still need to decide if I want to remove all the paint, or just sand it enough to get rid of the deteriorated top layer.

Fixed all the dents

June 6th, 2012

To fix the dent on the bottom of the rocker panel, I made a special puller attachment from some bits of scrap metal. It got clamped to the seam at the bottom of the rocker panel, and it was able to pull it down to the correct position. Then I used the stud welder to pull out the dented portion of the rocker panel.
I also welded a couple of small cracks in the hood, and filled in the holes in the driver’s door where the rear-view mirror had been attached.
The car is just about ready for pant removal, which is a messy job. I already have the new primer and filler, so there is nothing to wait for, except finding the time.

Fixing dents

May 29th, 2012

I got the last of the removable pieces off the car: the door latches, window seals, and gas filler. I also spent some time cleaning the residue of sealer and wax that was underneath most of the things I took off the car.
After that, I starting fixing a few dents: I sanded off the paint surrounding each dent, and used my stud welder to attach studs to pull out the dented areas. I still have to deal with one problematic dent on the bottom of the right rocker panel, just behind the front wheel. It was created about 20 years ago when I accidentally drove over one of those cement “logs” in a parking space. I will have to pull it downwards, which is hard because the car is so low to the ground. Once all the dents are fixed, I need to fill in the holes in the driver’s door where various rear-view mirrors were attached at one time or another, and weld a couple of little cracks in the hood next to one of the headlights.

Taking off more stuff

May 22nd, 2012

I’ve got almost everything removed: the front valences and grill, the snaps for the top, the bumpers, all the lights, all the trim and badges, etc. The only things left are the door handles and outer window seals. To remove those, I’ll have to take off the interior door panels.
I will also need to clean off a lot of sealant and greasy grime that was underneath all those items.
When you look at the virgin paint that was covered up by all the things I removed, you can really see how bad the paint had gotten…

Taking stuff off the car

May 14th, 2012

On day one, I removed the windshield, so I can properly paint around it and replace the rotting rubber gasket. I also removed the headlight assemblies and the front side marker lamps.
Last week I got a nice replacement windshield gasket, and new gaskets for the headlights. It’s nice that I can actually get good-quality reproductions of these parts. A lot of the original rubber is crumbling, and has paint on it from some long-ago quickie paint job.

I’m going to paint the Spitfire

May 14th, 2012

After thinking about it for ten years or so, I’ve decided to paint my Spitfire. It will be a break from working on the Ford for the next few months. I don’t want it to turn into a big frame-off restoration project, but I want to give the car a better paint job than it got from some previous owner, maybe 25 years ago. I’ll be removing the windshield, lights, trim, bumpers, etc., but I won’t be worrying about the under-hood area. Obviously I have all the tools and equipment that I got for doing the Ford, so I just have to buy paint and some replacement rubber parts.

I’ll single stage acrylic urethane paint like I used for the Ford, but I will probably buy a less expensive brand than PPG Concept. I will be duplicating the original color, which is an orangeish-red they called “pimento”.