The BugShop: Project '57, pg 12

This page last modified- 11/3/01

FINALLY, the '57 is painted. Tom called me at 10 am on Saturday morning (4/10/99) and said "Come on out, we're painting your car today. And bring your trailer." The pictures below detail the final paint stages on the body.

At least a good hour was spent masking the body. Here Tom is taping up a quarter window from the inside. Remember that the interior dash, pillars and door sills had already been painted, as was the trunk cavity. It was important to insure that no overspray got on these surfaces. The windows and front and rear lid openings all had to be taped up. 

The hood opening was carefully taped along the retainer seal line, then paper was taped over that. It is important to tape up all of the openings completely and not leave any "pockets" of loose flaps in the paper. This is so there won't be any places for dust particles to accumulate and then potentially get blown out as the paint gun passes nearby. 

This is the rear of the car after all of the taping was done. Note one smooth paper "plane" covers the opening, the tape was placed along the very outer edge of the seal retainer strip like the front. You can also see that the inner rear quarters, which had previously been undercoated, have been taped off. 

Then the entire car had to be wet sanded, by hand, with 1000 grit paper. And since it was all masked and papered, you couldn't get too sloppy with the water. You just had to do one small area at a time and then wipe up the excess water and move on. The paper that Tom uses though, does have a light wax coating so the water doesn't destroy it.

You can see the gold/brown "sludge" that formed when the base color coat was sanded. 1000 grit paper is so fine, you really don't feel like you are sanding at all, but the sludge forms quickly confirming that the paper was cutting the paint. The whole car was done with just folded paper, in hand, with a flat palm. After it is sanded, it is smooth as glass. Only the base coat is sanded to 1000, the HS (white) primer on the doors is sanded to 600 grit. 

A lot of measures are taken to reduce, if not eliminate, the dust in the paint booth. First it is sprayed out. This is a Viking down draft spray booth. Heated air is drawn through the large filter panels seen on the ceiling and then out of the vents that run along the bottom of the walls. Both intake and exhaust vents are heavily filtered. 

There was still more taping and masking to be done once we got the car in the spray booth. (We hand carried it over from the end bay, there is a laundry mat across the street from Tom's shop. Some patrons there waiting outside on a sunny Saturday seemed amazed at the two of us carrying this car out and around the the building) It is important to tape a "skirt" on to body panels that are close to the floor. This is so the gun air doesn't blow under the car a potentially propel dust that is either on the floor or on the underside of the car.

And you can see that the floor is wet. Turns out this is a very good way to "stick" the paper to the floor. A wet floor will actually hold any dust that might be floating around. Even if the booth has been rinsed but is dry, Tom will wet the floor thoroughly before spraying. 

Here you can see that a skirt is "wet stuck" to the floor under the rear apron as well. 

I have to remember to tell Tom to clean the window on his paint booth. Of the 4 or so pictures I took of him painting, this is the only one that came close to being usable. Tom wears a full body paint suit, with a hood, taped at the waist and wrists and a 2 stage respirator (the charcoal filters are only good for 24 hours after being removed from their sealed packaging). 

For some reason, this picture makes me think of the wizard of OZ. I know the tin man was painted silver, but I remember a flat gold makeup applied to someone's face. Maybe it is the girl in the Bond film "Goldfinger" I'm thinking of.

Anyway, this is the car after the color coat was sprayed. Shiny, very "gold", but flat. Notice that the door was painted slightly a jar so the back edge could be sprayed. 

So the top picture was in November 1998, when the car left my garage, and the bottom pic April 10th, the day it came back (you can see my winter wheels on the Cabrio in the lower pic) 

THAT is one shiny paint finish huh? 

Less than 2 hours after I backed the trailer into the garage, a ladder fell over into the driver's side of the car. The damage is almost imperceptible, the mar rubbed out, there is no chip but a slight dent that you can feel and see in bright light. I can see it. A friend of mine I met at a dinner party later that night remarked "you are in a remarkably good mood!" after I told him what happened.

The ladder is no longer functional by the way. It will be part of the firewood pile by the end of the month.