Monthly Archives: September 2011

Oh deer!

A few days ago this GMC truck had a unfortunate run in with a deer. I forgot to take a before picture showing the damage, but I did remember to take one after I had removed all the damaged bits.

The truck had a smashed grill, broken air conditioning condenser, damaged bumper and all the head-lamps were broken, but amazingly no sheet metal was damaged. But if you think the truck came off bad, you should see the deer.

This was a simple rip and replace repair since no painting was required, so after a couple of days in the shop the GMC has a whole new face for minimal expense.

Now the bed is Ford tough too

This 1966 Ford pickup was dropped off at the shop yesterday to have its bed coated with a Raptor Liner coating.

The Raptor Liner is my bed-liner of choice because it much thinner than the traditional spray-in bed-liners and better fits the types of vehicles my customers bring me. You see, I tend to get nicely restored or family vehicles, like the Ford you see here, not the heavy-duty work trucks like contractors use. Heavy-duty protection is not required … but style, that’s a must.

This Ford already had some kind of protective coating in the bed, which you can see in the first two pictures. I’m not sure what it was, but it is obvious from the over spray that it was there before the truck was repainted. Even if the bed wasn’t covered in over spray, the Raptor Liner will look a lot better than the stuff that was in there already.

First we removed the chrome trim from the outside of the bed so the bolts holding it on wouldn’t be coated in the Raptor Liner material. If I were to have covered those bolts with the Raptor Liner material it would almost guarantee me a cussing from someone in the future because that trim would be very, very difficult to get off.

After the trim was removed, like almost every job we do at JMC AutoworX, putting in the Raptor Liner starts with sanding. Lots of sanding. You can see the results of all that sanding in the third picture. And let me go on record right here and say that sanding the inside of the bed on  a long wheel base pickup … that’s a lot of sanding, and none of it is much fun. My knees were black from crawling around in the bed as I sanded away.

After sanding the truck was taped off to protect the paint and the Raptor Liner material was sprayed over the bed. You can see me applying the Raptor Liner coating in the next four shots. The tricky part is getting the liner into all the corners and crevasses, for full protection, but not get all over everything else. Everything else like the paintwork of the truck … or myself.

The final shot shows the completed Raptor Liner in the truck. It needed a couple of hours to completely dry before I would be able to reinstall the chrome trim pieces I had removed earlier. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the customer to stop by and pick up his pick-up.

Not only does the new liner look great, it makes the bed as Ford tough as the rest of the truck. After all, what good is a truck that you are afraid to haul anything in?

Plastic fantastic, part 2

Here is the bumper after priming, painting, and the clear coat. You can’t can’t even tell where the bumper was damaged.

When this picture was taken the clear coat was still a little tacky, but after it dries over night the bumper will be ready to install on the car in the morning.

War weary, battle scarred

This poor Honda Accord, just back from the road wars of Los Angles, California, looks a little tired and worn. There is no serious body damage, but there are bumps and bruises everywhere from the everyday jostling of a big city full of cars.

The first five pictures show the car as it arrived. No big dents, but both bumpers have deep scratches and both sides of the car have various rub marks. The head-lamps are also a little cloudy from the intense southern California sun and the constant sandblasting from road grit.

The next three photos show the car being painted. Since the rub marks on the sides were on the rear portion of the car, we only painted the sides on the back half, along with the bumpers, in order to save the owner money.

The last five pictures show the car out of the paint booth and, in the last three, assembled and ready to return to the customer. While we were cleaning the car up, preparing to return it to the customer, I polished the head-lamps to remove the haze because, frankly, they were borderline dangerous.

Now that all the scratches, bumps and bruises are removed, the car doesn’t look new, but it certain looks a lot better than it did when it arrived at the shop. A little R&R, that would be restoration and remediation, does a body good.

Plastic fantastic

I guess someone figured that if it’s called a bumper, that’s what they’re for … and this Camry’s bumper was most definitely bumped. Bumped hard enough to crack the plastic.

Not all cracked bumpers are repairable, but this one is. You can see in the first picture the damage that was done by a careless driver. Not a pretty sight. Before the repair can begin I had to sand the paint off the effected area to reveal the damaged plastic underneath.

The second photo shows a product we use specifically designed for plastic bumper repair. It is basically a very thick, strong, glue that binds the damaged areas and can be sanded when dried. I have placed a piece of fiberglass mesh in with the glue to provide additional strength.

After the bonding material dried it was sanded smooth as shown in the third photo. A bit of body filler here and there to smooth the sanded areas and this bumper is ready for primer and paint.


Yesterday, in a fit of optimism, I hooked the battery up on the Mustang and … I was so relieved that nothing burst into flames that I completely forgot to take pictures of the result. Not that there was much to see. Just a bunch of working head-lamps, tail-lamps and interior lights, which don’t show up very well in photos anyway.

Actually there was very little doubt that most, if not all, of the systems would work the first time. I use American Autowire wiring harnesses for all my builds because they are, in my opinion, the best harnesses available. I never have trouble with them and each wire is clearly labeled all the way down the length of the wire which makes installation a snap.

The only problem we had was one of the tail-lamps had a weak ground and a door jamb switch was faulty, neither of which was a problem with the harness, and both are now fixed. I would have liked to tick the engine over, but the engine hasn’t yet been primed with oil, so I had to settle for listening to the fuel pump turn on.

I crack wise about the car bursting into flames, but even still I always hold my breath on the first test of the wiring. Not because I think the car will catch fire, but because if there is a problem, it could be a pain in the lug nuts to find and fix. But that isn’t a worry on this build. Nope. Not a worry at all.

Tying up loose ends

To day was about tying up some loose ends, specifically the front end and the back end.

Today we installed the head-lamps in their buckets on the front, and on the back we installed the valence, rear bumper and the trunk latch. The pictures were taken late in the day and I had a hard time with the sun streaming in the front of the shop, so the pictures of the back aren’t the best photos I have ever taken. But trust me, the back end looks great.

One thing that strikes me just now that I hadn’t noticed before, and that is how Jaguarish the front of this car looks with the head-lamps in like that. I’m sure the resemblance will disappear after the grill and hood are installed, but for now …

Don’t see it? How about now?

Stripped nekkid with a beer

Of course I am talking about the car, but you knew that right?

The El Camino has been stripped all the way to the frame, as you can see in the first picture. The frame will need new bushings, and a little cleaning up, but it is in pretty good shape overall.

The next three pictures show the body off the frame. The floor pans are a total write off and will have to be replaced. This is a common problem on older cars and replacement pans are readily available for most cars, this one included. The fabricator will do a little cutting here, a little welding there, and the floor will be good as new.

The next photo shows the parts that came out of the car all jumbled in a pile. Some of these parts may be used again, but a lot of them probably won’t. The seat, for example, won’t be used as the car will have bucket seats installed when it is reassembled.

The final picture shows a little surprise Kelly found in the car. One of the past owners of the car must have had a taste for Schlitz beer because several empty cans were found in various nooks and crannies of the car. When you tear a car down like this you never know what you might find. This is one of the less embarrassing discoveries.

Latest arrival to the dance

What do you do when you have a couple of old cars that you can’t drive? Why you buy another of course.

This is Terry’s latest project, a 1969 Chevrolet El Camino. Last year I did the paint and bodywork on Terry’s 1962 Austin-Healey Sprite restoration and I guess he liked the work because he is back for another round.

Terry is also the first customer to take advantage of my vehicle inspection service. This is the third car he had me look at. His first selection I was able to warn him off of because it had a lot of hidden damage and was going to need extensive reconstruction work. The other vehicle was in much better shape, but he decided on this El Camino instead.

There is a bit of a story behind this car. Terry owns the Austin-Healey seen on this site. But he also owns a survivor 1965 Lincoln Continental with less than 30,000 miles that is in, well to be honest, fantastic shape. It may be the finest unrestored slab side Lincoln in the southeast. He also owns a 2008 Dodge Challenger, one from the limited run that was offered the first year they came out.

The problem with all these cars is he can’t, or won’t, drive them. The Healey is too small, and with a top speed of about 50 mph, too slow to drive anywhere other than just putting around country roads. The Lincoln and Challenger he is afraid to drive lest someone run over him and destroy their intrinsic value. Considering that he has had both his daily drivers in the shop for repairs, one of them twice, from accidents that were not his fault, I can see why he would be nervous about that.

Anyway, he wanted an old car, a toy, that he can drive anywhere at anytime without worrying about being crushed by semi-trucks or damaging and losing his investment. Therefore, enter his El Camino. I know the car looks rough, but it is actually a pretty solid old car. A perfect place to start for what he has planned … too far gone to want to bring back to original condition, but still in good enough shape to not need a total rebuild to make into something nice.

Not to give too much away, but he has big plans for this car including extensive upgrades to make the car run and drive more like a modern car. He doesn’t care much for the blue and white with red splotches color scheme so the car will be redone in our High Performance Finish … though the primary color is still being considered.

The first series of pictures, dated August 10, show the car as it was delivered to my fabricator. Like I said, it looks worse than it is. The car will need new pans and toe boards, and a bit of rust repair here and there, but nothing major.

The second series of pictures, dated September 12, show the car partially disassembled. Some substandard repair work has been performed in the past, which while annoying, isn’t irreparable. Over the next 2 to 4 weeks Kelly, my fabricator, will cut out and repair all the rot, strip and prepare the car for the final bodywork and paint, and test fit or install the drive train and other major component upgrades. The car will then be transported to my shop for said bodywork, paint, and reassembly.

I am excited about this project. One because I like these old Chevelles, Malibus and El Caminos, but also because this is the first project that I am able to document from purchase to delivery.

Let the fun begin!


Every day brings a little more progress on the Mustang. The first picture shows some of the work that we have been doing in the engine compartments.

The MSD (Multiple Spark Discharge) ignition, basically electronic ignition for older cars, is installed. You can see the red control box in the lower right corner of the picture. The battery is in and most of the wiring is run, if not tidied up yet. We have also installed the radiator but haven’t hooked the hoses up yet.

The second picture shows more of the air conditioner install inside the car. I cut a holes in the dash and inserted factory style air conditioner outlets for a nice clean look rather than mounting the outlets below the dash.

All the little details, taking the time to install the factory style air conditioner outlets, neat and tidy wiring, just sweating the details, adds up to a more polished, professional looking job when the car is done.

Like wise men say, if you pay attention to the little things, the big things takes care of themselves.

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