Category Archives: 1962 Chevrolet Rat Rod Pickup

Nothing that looks this bad could ever be considered to have our High Performance Finish … but that certainly doesn’t preclude it from looking great! The owner of this truck also owns the fantastic C10 Custom-Rod, meaning he has a truck for any occasion. This project was a lot of fun to work on and I hope to get similar projects in the future.

Eeeek! A rat!

What we have here is a prime example of the classic American Rat Rod. This 1962 Chevrolet pickup hits all the major rat rod points. Big, beefy V8 motor … check. Goes like stink … check. Looks like 40 miles of bad road … definitely check. 

After spraying on the olive drab paint Thursday, yesterday we put the finishing touches on the truck by taking some of the paint off. By lightly sanding a few areas on the truck we removed the paint and left the primer underneath showing through. You can see the results of our efforts in these photos. What you can’t see in the photos is how thin the paint is in places. You can see the primer through the olive paint making the paint look that much more worn.

A couple of notes on the photos … the first photo is of Jordan sitting in the engine bay replacing the transmission dipstick with a new one to stop a leak. The fourth photo shows Mike peeling the stencil off the truck to reveal the door sign underneath. The rest of the pictures … they speak for themselves.

This truck was interesting and fun to work on. Normally the vehicles I work on look like this when they arrive … not when they leave.

Capturing the vision

Yesterday we put some primer on the truck, both to give the truck part of its character, but also to protect the metal. Today we are going to hide all that work so we can carefully reveal it later in a way that best compliments the truck and fulfills the vision of the owner.

The first picture is how we left the truck yesterday with its various coats of primer and paint. Now that the base coat, for the lack of a better term, is dry, we are ready to apply the details.

The second photograph is of the door where we will be stenciling in a service station sign. The first step is to put some white paint on the door, the color that will make-up the advertisement. The next photo, the third, shows the door after the paint dried and I … uhhh …  distressed it … with some sandpaper. Basically I sanded the snot out of with some fine sandpaper until I killed every bit of the shine. You can also see in the third photo that I am about to apply the stencils that will make up the sign on the door.

Pictures four through nine are of the stencils being carefully applied to the door to create the signage. The stencils will protect the white paint underneath from the final color, allowing the white to remain. When the stencils are peeled away they will take the top coat with it, leaving the white paint underneath showing through.

The last set of pictures, numbers ten through sixteen, are of the truck receiving its final coat of paint, an olive color used on some BMW’s. This is a regular base coat paint, and when paired with the clear coat, makes for a very attractive color. But in this case we will not be covering the base coat with a clear coat. This will cause the paint to remain in a near flat finish and allow the paint to experience an accelerated aging process. Without the protective clear coat this paint will take on the patina of old paint without the owner having to wait 20, 30, or more, years for it to happen. Aging thirty years in less than one … think of it as near instant old.

Tomorrow, after we put the finishing touches on the truck, this … well, beautiful is a bit of a stretch … this classic rat rot truck will be ready to go home with it’s owner. And what a sight it will be too.

A coat of many colors

Today … today we painted this 1962 Chevrolet pickup. Today we took a truck that was already looking a little frayed around the edges … and made it look worse. And I think it looks fantastic! The owner of this truck wanted a specific look. His words to me were, “… the worse the better …” Okay … let me see what I can do.

Normally my customers want their car to look its absolute best. That is best expressed in our High Performance Finish where we pay a lot of attention and spend a lot of hours making the metal laser straight. Later, we spend even more hours polishing the paint to bring up the shine until the paint all but explodes off the car. But not today. Today I did something a little different.

Because we only want the truck to look like it is on its last legs, all the metal is well protected so it won’t actually rust. But we covered the metal with a couple of different colored primers, as if the owner was painting it with whatever he had on hand at the moment.

We started with the red oxide primer. I gave the truck a liberal dose of that, both over the bare metal, and then anywhere else I thought a dash of red would add character. I was careful not to do too good a job putting the primer on, not worrying about full coverage or overspray. Remember, the key words here are the worse the better. While the glass and chrome are protected from overspray, the rest of the paint … well, in this case a little over spray never hurt anyone.

After the red primer had dried, I came back with a black primer … just for some contrast. Not only did I hit all the metal that wasn’t completely covered, I also made sure that the patches of red primer weren’t to large. I wanted the truck to look like it had been worked on over the course of many years and that some areas had been worked on more than once.

Finally after the black had dried, it was time for a few spots of white … just because.

Normally when I am painting a car I use one, sometimes two, colors … and I strive to lay down the smoothest, glossiest, coat of paint I can. But not today, and not on this truck. But I did find out one thing today I didn’t expect.

It’s a lot of work to make a truck this bad. But it’s worth it.

Wide whites

This 1962 Chevy rat rod pickup is beginning to come together. The wheels we painted black on Friday have been mounted with some 3-inch white wall tires for that classic rat rod look.

I’m not sure … can a rat rod be a rat rod without wide whites?

Wheeler dealer

Today we did a little wheeling and dealing. The Chevy rat rod project we have in the shop is to have black wheels instead of the gray that was on the truck before. After receiving the wheels back from the sandblaster, we set about getting them painted black.

Even though the wheels had been sandblasted clean, they still had to be sanded. As I have said many times in the past, every paint project starts with sanding. In this case, the sanding is to smooth the surface after the sandblast so that the paint can lay down with a nice even finish. You can see one of the sanded wheels in the first photo.

The second photo shows the primer being shot onto the wheels. Just like rattle can spray paint won’t adhere well to bare metal, automotive paint won’t either. The primer binds to the metal and gives the paint something to sink its teeth into for good adhesion.

The last photo shows the finished wheel. This is one of the rare cases where we used a single stage paint … a paint that doesn’t use a base/color and clear coat. The wheel was shot with a 70% gloss paint to give the wheels a nice semi-gloss appearance that will look better on a rat rod than wheels with an ultra-high gloss would.

We’ll let the paint fully cure over the weekend then we can send the wheels out to be shod in some new tires … because even a rat likes new shoes.

Youuuuuu dirty rat

Normally a car is brought to me so that I can make it look better. For a complete change of pace, I present to you this 1962 Chevrolet pickup. This truck has been brought to me to … well … to make look worse.

The owner of this truck is the same customer that owns the 1971 Custom-Rod I worked on a couple of years ago. Where that truck was built, to the best of my abilities, to be perfect, this truck will be built, to the best of my abilities, to be the opposite of that truck. The worse it looks the better the owner will like it.

Scott is starting his rat rod project with a good foundation. This truck is, as you see it here, basically has he bought it, complete with the flat and faded or missing paint and a general look of disrepair. But looks can be deceiving because the truck has the full rat rod treatment under the skin. This truck features a fresh Chevrolet 383 small block, turbo 350 transmission with an upgraded shift kit, 3.73 rear end, and for that little extra something, it is dropped 3 inches. Oh, and everything works … right down to the cigarette lighter. I have personally seen this truck simply boil the back tires, both of them, for the better part of block.

So, what can the JMC AutoworX shop offer? We are going to smooth some of the welding … not smoothed as to make ready for paint, but rather to make the welds look like they have been there a long time. We are also going to spray some good old-fashioned red primer on the truck in such a way that it looks like the paint has faded away to reveal the primer underneath.

The owner asked us for suggestions and we have been talking around the shop about adding a bit of character to the truck in the form of a bullet hole … but that might be going a bit too far. I will have to run that one by the owner first.

In any case, by the time we are done with this truck it will look like warmed over death. It’s going to be great!

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