by Pat Goss
Restoring an old car can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a royal pain. There are going to be a lot of things on the under-hood areas and underneath the vehicle that you’re going to want to refinish. Well, that means that you’re going to start by cleaning everything very thoroughly, and once it has been cleaned, then you’re going to use some type of prep solvent that’s designed to remove grease and wax and silicone and so on. If you don’t use this, well I guarantee you you’re going to wind up with those nasty, ugly little dots called fish eyes.
The other thing you have to remember is that you’re not going to get the coatings that you need at the local hardware or home center. You’re going to have to go to a specialty house like Eastwood Tools. We started with their engine enamel to restore this old Buick engine. They come in most of the popular colors so that it will match whatever kind of engine you’re working on.
But there are going to be a lot of other things, maybe manifolds, for instance. And you might need a high temperature finish such as this, and we used that right here on this piece of manifold. We brushed it on, and no brush marks or anything. It does a great job. It makes it look pretty authentic for a long time.
Then comes the under-hood area and certain other spots on the car where you’re going to have to have not a real flat nor a real shiny black finish. You want under-hood finish, and again, you can paint it, but you have to prep it, you have to clean it. And you’ll get a good job in the end.
Now there are lots of other things, lots of finishes that apply to the frame, the suspension, the exhaust system and so on. You can find just about anything you want if you do a little shopping. But there are going to be parts of the car that you’re not going to be able to restore yourself, like this dash pad that we have down here. Well, it was beyond hope, so we sent it to Just Dashes, and they did a restoration on it, making it look just like new. And you’ll find that these restorations on dashes and door panels and so on many times will even include the insignia. They do a good job.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.