July 19, 2014

Leave the Waving to the Driver

Have you ever seen a car wave at you?

 You may have no idea what that means. I'm referring to the shimmer of light as it reflects of the side of a car that isn't quite straight causing you to notice it "waving" as it rolls by. Many car's that are un-restored are understandably nowhere near straight, and appear extremely wavy. However, there are some classics that have been worked on,and even had frame off restorations that are quite "friendly" and will wave at you as they drive past.

Achieving a show winning level of straight and true body lines does not happen overnight. Nor does it happen by haphazardly applying materials and thinking, "yeah, that'll be good enough!" It requires patience, a baffling number of layers of various materials, knowledge tools and techniques and knowing when to replace, fill, sand, prime, and paint. Plus it needs that touch. What you may not see without the shimmer of clear coat can be detected by sliding a skilled hand over the car, feeling the panels for minor imperfections. I watch Steve do this and marvel at how he will know where every last curve should happen and he can find the smallest of indentations.

It takes a number of steps to prep a vehicle, straighten and finally re-paint it in your chosen color. It's not just for looks, ensuring straight and true panels done the RIGHT way creates the longest lasting restoration and return on investment for you as an owner.

 As an example the 1951 Ford Custom Convertible is seen in multiple photos below. It's not finished yet, but it's on track to being a #1 restoration. This is no small task.

1951 Ford Custom Convertible-Red
The 1951 Ford Custom Convertible as it arrived at our shop.(above)
After media blasting, the need for metal repair in specific locations is apparent. All paint was removed from the underside and exterior of the body. Caution is required during the process when you need to remove the amount of material that was on this car. Too much heat being built up during the process will cause warping and an "oil can" effect on the metal which makes more difficult and time consuming to straighten panels. Avoid warping at all costs.(above)
 1951 Ford Custom Converible Primer
 Not wanting to leave the bare metal exposed for too long we take the precaution of applying the first coat of epoxy primer to protect the clean, rust free finish we now have to work with. (above)
test fit panels Ford convertible
 Test fitting panels BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER you begin metal repair is key to ensure a perfect fit. Marking the metal ensures you've got the piece cut, placed and welded properly.(above)
1951 Ford Custom Convertible Metal work
Metal work can be underway once the body is marked. This 1951 Ford Convertible's rocker panels, floor braces, portions of the floor pan, parts of the trunk and rear quarter were custom cut, fitted and shaped with new sheet metal. Again caution is required when welding in new metal. If you create too much heat in a localized area too fast you will cause more problems with warping the metal. Allowing sufficient cooling time and working across a broad area helps this process.(above)
Metal work and body filler 1951 Ford
Steve uses a body hammer and dolly(held on the interior of the panel) to work out a very small crease in the side of the car. Some dents, dings and creases my not be visible when the car in is bare metal or primer, but Steve has an eye and feel for locating the most minor of imperfections. Once the metal replacement pieces are installed and all dings are "worked out", filler work begins. Body filler should always be used as sparingly as possible. If used too generously it will cause cracking, imperfections in the paint or poor final fit of the panels. When done wrong you can see where the repairs were made, even through the paint. 
Steve works out the crease and continues finishing filler work before the next coat of primer. (above)
1951 Ford Custom Convertible Epoxy Primer
The Red Epoxy Primer is the first coat after metal work and body filler has been completed. This is a match to the finish and the color that was existing on the car's underside(underneath about 2" of undercoating). (above)

1951 Ford Undercoating
When we removed the gas tank it was apparent that all undercoating was applied directly over ALL parts of the car(frame and all) with only red primer underneath. This process will not be repeated per customer preference. We agree wholeheartedly. (above)
1951 Ford Sound Deadener
 Sound deadener/undercoating was applied to the car's body tub. This step lines up with how the car's interior was finished originally.(above)
1951 Ford Custom Convertible Fill Primer
 The next coat of primer is applied to the exterior of the body. This is "fill prime". This primer, as it's sanded of with the use of guide coat, will assist in removing imperfections.(above)
1951Ford Painted Body tub
The car's color, 3 coats of a custom blended base coat red to match the original paint,  is applied to the body tub and the firewall.(above)
1951 Ford Clear Coat Firewall
Finally, 3 coats of clear coat applied to floor of the trunk and passenger area as well as the firewall. Don't worry about the over spray this time around! It's just gotten on the primer. We will actually be spraying "guide coat" on the primer to help locate high and low spots in the body as the block sanding begins.(above)

gloss paint shoebox ford
 The result is a mirror like finish. Instead of a friendly car, you have a car that reflects it's owner...literally.(above)

Hopefully this short summary helps demonstrate the layers of material and depth of skill that it takes to ensure the car will be straight and free of any dents, waves or wobbles in the body panels as you watch it glide past on the road. We like friendly people...not friendly cars.

We aren't done yet! You can follow the rest of this restoration on our Facebook Page and see the album of this beloved family treasure on our website

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