Over the weekend I installed the gas tank. Once it was in place, I was able to hook it up to the engine, install the gas gauge, and put in some gas. I was also able to install the instrument panel (which goes on the rear of the gas tank) and hook up the ignition switch and ammeter. Of course I took out the temporary one-quart gas tank and ignition wiring. To fasten the gas tank in place, I decide to re-use the original screws, so I cleaned them up and Parkerized them.
I also started bead-blasting the trim strips that go between the gas tank and windshield, and above the windshield. In the next few days I should be able to paint them.
I re-painted the top of the gas tank, making sure to mix enough paint this time. In a day or two when it is dry, I will sand and buff it again, and the tank will be ready for installation.
I also rebuilt the gas gauge, which is a clean, simple, and pleasant task. It’s the world’s simplest gas gauge: there is a float on a lever, which moves a little panel labeled with “0 1/4 1/2 3/4 F”. You look through a little glass porthole to see the numbers inside the tank.
The paint in the engraved numbers had long ago fallen out, so I cleaned up the parts, put a layer of epoxy paint over the little panel, and once it was dry, I sanded off all the paint that was outside the engraved numbers. Now it looks as good as new.
Last weekend I painted the gas tank. First I had to spend some time building a tent-like structure in the garage out of plastic sheeting. It pretty much fills one half of the garage, and is big enough to hold the entire car.
The actual painting didn’t come out so great. There wasn’t enough bright light to see the dark paint well, and I got some runs on the bottom of the gas tank. I also ran out of paint after putting only 2 of 3 coats on the top.
Once it dried, it was insanely glossy, like the entire tank had been dipped in liquid plastic. It also had (despite the plastic) lots of little bits of dust and a significant amount of orange peel. After it dried for a day and a half, the paint was quite hard, and I sanded off the orange peel and most of the runs, and buffed the paint. It looked pretty good then, but the paint on the top was a bit too thin and the underlying primer was starting to show on one spot, so the top of the tank will need another paint application.
By the way, good acrylic-urethane paint (I am using PPG Concept) dries insanely hard in a short amount of time, much better than any single-component paint you could buy in a hardware store. It would probably be good for lots of things besides cars. Unfortunately, it’s really expensive, and a pain in the ass to apply.
I installed the roof fabric. The entire center area of the roof is covered with a black vinyl material, which is attached to the wood frame that surrounds the roof opening. Several months ago I stapled the base layer of chicken wire over the wooden ribs. Today I put a layer of padding over the wire, followed by the vinyl material. The vinyl had to be carefully stretched and tacked in place. It needed about 120 tacks. It was a warm and sunny day, so I moved the car out into the center of the back yard so the vinyl would be warm and easier to stretch.
It looks gorgeous! The vinyl is smooth and even, and there is no trace of the ribs.
Later in the fall (or winter) I will attach the metal moldings that cover the edge of the fabric. The molding material has to be carefully bent into the correct shape and nailed in place.
I got back from vacation, and I managed to get the floor and the rear of the firewall painted. First, I needed to finish filling some rust pits. The storage area under the front seat and the rear footwell were rather pitted, and about two years ago I sandblasting and primed the floor and filled most of the pitting. This week I finally finished the job.
After finishing the filler work, I applied the finish coat, which is the same that I used to paint the underside of the body and the front of the firewall: A semi-gloss maroon color.
I also noticed a a place on the roof where the contour wasn’t quite right. It became noticeable because the roof (and the entire car) had a smooth-uniform layer of light-colored primer-surfacer. So I had to sand off the primer, apply some more body filler, smooth it to the correct contour, and re-apply the filler-surfacer.