Pictures of the outside.  Taken before sending it off to get painted.

At home: I managed to get the car home safely. I have a nice heavy-duty trailer, but I still get a little nervous about towing it around. The first step will be to install a new wiring harness...I should have it installed in a week or two. I am really excited about getting it back together, and I would imagine things will go much more quickly from now on. Fun!

Prep and Paint

This coming Friday I'll be removing the tires, having the rims sandblasted clean, and then sending them to get powder coated.  Upon return, the whitewalls will be mounted, then I'll start actively shopping around for paint estimates.

I'm now done with the left side of the car, the rear, and most of the front. I'm certain that this paint removal is saving me a good bit of money at the paint shop.  I'll continue around to the right side (only have the door and rear quarter panel left), then remove the interior paint, and then what's left in the trunk. After that, it's going away to let the professionals finish it up and paint it...finally!!

I've got the right side and window frame done...which means I've now removed the paint from the entire exterior of the car.  Next job is to remove the interior paint.  That should be easier because there is less surface area, and there seems to be only one layer of paint... instead of 6.

Today I removed the paint from the dash, and about 30% of the rest of the interior...

Pictures are of the stripped dash (note the steering wheel and column are not mounted), and a shot of the car up to this point.  Paint me!

In the paint booth:  OK!! These are the first pictures taken after paint. At this point, the car has not been color sanded or buffed. The wheels are still off of the car and being finished. They are being painted Pearl White with a tan outer rim to match the convertible top. The car will be covered in plastic until the wheels and misc. items are painted to avoid overspray on the body. The misc items include: glove box door, gas cap, steering box cover plates, license light housing, tail light housings, speaker grills, and the steering column. Looking good!

As I start into the paint removal and prep for paint, I am starting on the left side of the car.  I still haven't decided what color to paint it....

I finally got the rest of the paint removal/body work done this last weekend...with the help of a really good local sandblaster. He did great work, and didn't charge me a bunch either. The surfaces he did are not only completely clean, but actually smooth to the touch. Impressive stuff!  He shot the rear half of the interior surfaces, the engine compartment, the front kick panels, the door jambs, some of the dash, and a good bit under the front hood...including the hood springs, hinges, and rest of the hard (impossible) to reach areas. I added some pictures from earlier in the project for comparison...whoa.

There's no primer in these pictures, either...just the bare metal.

Okay, paint removal sucks.  Plain and simple...especially nearly 40 years worth - 5 layers of hard and crusty paint and primer!  See all that Yukon Yellow dust lying around?  There was a ton of it! I used a combination of chemical stripper, my air disc sander, and some good old fashioned elbow grease.  The panels look good though.  There is that one spot on the lower right corner of the quarter panel that I fixed earlier, and a low spot on the right side of the door.  Other than that, the original car is still smooth and straight.  My oldest boy found a way into the pictures again. : )

This front left quarter panel was absolutely THICK with filler.  I'm talking about easily 1/4" in the lowest spots...maybe a little more. This car was obviously hit in the nose some time ago, which resulted in some wrinkled areas up front.  The good news is, it is repairable.

I knew something was up way back when I first removed the left front fender...I purposely gouged an area to see what I had to deal with...after my gouge went through 1/4" of filler, I stopped, and left it until now.

The first picture is after I removed all the filler and checked out the damage. (in the next pictures, you can see I also removed the gunk and paint from the front wheel-well, and have started the prep for the undercoating.) 

I don't have a dent-puller tool, so I wondered how I was going to pull the metal back out. The picture doesn't quite to it justice, but the lowest spots are where the left over filler is still present. Pretty bad.  I fooled around with a couple different "tools" and ended up using an old wooden closet rod. High-tech stuff.  I cut it off to kind of a flat, wedge shape on the end and was able to stick it down the inside of the quarter panel and either bend outward, or whack the butt end with a hammer. I was successful at correcting the super low spots.  Afterwards, the panel was in MUCH better condition and ready for prep. It really makes you wonder... if it only took a hack like me 20 minutes to bend the metal back out, why didn't somebody ever do this before?  Who knows.  Joe Hi-Fi strikes again.

I then shot a thin layer of primer, (sometimes it's easier for me see the countours that way) and then sanded it back off... pictures 2 and 3 above. I didn't have time to finish the job just yet, but it won't be long - I'll then work next around the front, under the hood,  and around to the other side of the car. Picture number 4 is a shot of the "finished" prep on the left rear quarter area. Note the undercoating in the wheel-well.

The right front fender was new (one of those "original quality" types from Wolfsburg West), and did not have a hole for the turn signal housing.  There's something that just feels wrong about cutting holes into a perfectly smooth fender...but I want this car to look stock, so it had to be done.  I used a 1 1/8th" bi metal hole saw.  Because it has a guide bit, an arbor, it is easy to use and keep exactly center. I was impressed with the tool - had never used one before. Note the progression from right to left above.

Still at the paint shop:  Out in the natural sunlight you can see the true Pearl White color. It has a much more yellowish tint under the artificial light of the paint booth in the pictures above. The wheels are now painted and mounted, but the white walls will need to be cleaned up.  They've still got to do some painting before it is ready, too...the support rails, the interior floor pan, underneath the fenders, inside the wheel wells, and some under the front nose will be painted black with the protective undercoating-type stuff.