Body Shop 101
by Pat Goss
You have to wonder how many broken dreams like this old Mustang are sitting in people’s garages. Everybody has this dream that they’re going to go out and buy a collectible car and restore it. If you look at this one, it is a classic example of what not to do. It’s got a lot of new sheet metal on it, but if you look at it closely, you see that the wheel arch is wrong. The door skin doesn’t fit properly and there are lots of other problems. And that is simply because the sheet metal that was used on it, it just didn’t fit in the first place. It was poor quality.
So if you’re going to do repairs on sheet metal and you’re going to buy patch panels such as we have here, get them home, and check them very carefully to make sure all the contours and creases and everything are absolutely correct. You can’t do that after it’s installed. Can’t make it look right if it isn’t right.
One of the big things about restoring an automobile is to have lots of patience and to practice a lot before you actually lay tools to the car itself. That means that you’re going to have to have the proper tools: hammers, dollies, sanding blocks, files; all of the things that you would normally need. But you also need manuals to know what goes where and what the tolerances are and things like that.
You’ll also need to have various fillers and primers and sealers and rust prevention products and so on. Now where do you get all of this - that can be a real problem? Well Eastwood Tools, their catalog shows most of these things they have some really hard to find tools and products for restoration. It’s a great source. All right so the big thing, plan your restoration, use quality parts, and practice and patience.
By the way, you’re always going to be dealing with emblems and things like that. “Plio Grip” from Valvoline Ashland is a double-sided tape that is used for emblems and trim and things like that. It’s kind of unique in as much as once the tape is pulled off it’s clear, so you don’t see the edge of it. And it is sticky beyond belief. Follow the directions; put the emblem in place and it isn’t going to move.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.