Classic Car Restoration
by Pat Goss
Who doesn’t dream of restoring a classic car? Better yet, doing it ourselves! But as Pat Goss shows us, parts of that dream should be left to the pros.
PAT GOSS: This is our old ’68 Caddy Convertible that we’ve been doing so much work on. Well, when we got into the body work, we decided that there was way too much involved for the average do-it-yourself-er. So we brought it to Pete here at Classic Car Shop in Baltimore. Pete, why was this not a really good candidate for a do-it-yourself-er?
PETE: The scope of the project was very large because of the amount of bodywork that needed to be done on the vehicle. Basically, after we stripped the car, which had five layers of paint on the car, we found a lot of previous repairs, that had been done over the years. And we had to do intense bodywork. Which involved putting new patches in the bottom of the fender. Down here we had to put a six by eighteen inch patch; we had to put a four by nine inch patch in the bottom of the door; another, about, nine by four patch in the rear. And then we also had to put a patch over the wheelhouse in the quarter, and the bottom of the quarter; from about here, down.
The problem with the average hobbyist, cannot form, shape, or weld in those kind of patches. If there’s a small amount of body work, or a small amount of priming or if you have a really good, excellent car when you start off, then the average hobbyist can do that kind of repairs. But when you get into a large project, like this, an older car that’s had previous repairs, it needs to go to a professional.
PAT GOSS: Now, you’ve spent about three weeks, two of you on it, full time, bringing it to this stage. And right now, you’re blocking the primer, getting it ready for the final paint. A lot of people don’t understand what blocking is. Can you explain that please?
PETE: Well certainly. Basically, blocking is sanding the car, removing the highs, the low, the imperfections in the body of the car. Whether its back here, where we’ve put in new metal, and done some plastic filler work, or in areas that were just bare metal. None of the cars are perfect when the sheet metal is brand new. They all have to be prepped for it. It’s basically just sanding it with a variety of different tools. Whether it be a small block, a large block, a power sander, or whatever.
PAT GOSS: Now these are all critical steps, and something that takes an endless amount of time if you’re doing it by yourself. A project like this would take months, and maybe even years with a do-it-yourself-er. Which makes it totally impractical. For most people.
PAT GOSS: Pete, thank you. We’ll come back and visit you after it’s all done. And folks, if you have a question or comment, drop me a line. Right here, at MotorWeek.