Monthly Archives: April 2012

Red hot

At long last the Hugh’s 1965 Chevelle is a color other than primer gray. In fact, it is about as far from primer gray as you can get.

The first two photos show the hood fitted to the body. Unlike the trunk lid, it fit perfectly and required no … drastic … adjustments.

The third photo shows the fenders and doors after the sealer has been applied. The sealer does just as its name implies, it seals the primer layers below it and provides a smooth and consistent color base for the paint that follows. The sealer is available in seven shades of gray, from nearly white to almost black and each color specifies one of these seven shades of gray. Using a sealer other than in the recommended shade will noticeably change the color, either lightening it up or darkening it down, depending if you shift to a lighter or darker shade.

This is one of the lighter shades of gray and just happens to be almost the same color as the primer that was on the car before it. But if the sealer is lighter or darker shade than the primer is it covering, the sealer provides good coverage to even the color so the paint that is going over the top finishes smooth and even with a minimum number of coats.

But enough about primers and sealers already … let’s talk about paint! Photos 4-9 shows the lovely red paint going onto the fenders and doors. This isn’t your run of the mill red, oh no, this is a red’s red, a retina searing, jump off the car red. Hugh wanted a red car … well, he’s going to get one.

Like all two stage paints, the base coat, the red in this case, dries to a nearly flat finish. Picture eight shows the flat finish very clearly.

Picture nine shows the clear coat going on. The clear provides not only protection to the base coat underneath, but it also provides the depth and luster to the paint.

The last five pictures, numbers 11 through 15, show the fenders and doors after the application of the clear coat. As you will notice, the paint has a much more depth and gloss than before the clear was applied.

These parts will dry overnight, then they will be set aside to make room so other parts can take their place in the booth. Painting a car is kind of like eating an elephant … you take it one piece at a time.

Some final adjustments

Today we worked on the Chevelle, trying to get it ready for paint next week. It is so close to being finished I can taste it.

The first couple of pictures show us sanding the primer used to cover the blocking marks created during the smoothing of the body. We are sanding with a 320 git paper, which is quite fine, on this final sand before the car goes into the booth for paint.

During our test fitting of the fenders, door, hood and trunk we uncovered a little problem. While all the fitting and adjusting had already been performed in the Murphy Rod & Custom shop, the car was on a buck. A buck is a shorthand term for the custom frame Kelly constructed so the body could easily be moved around his shop while the chassis was at the owners house having the drive train installed.

On March 3oth we mated the body to the chassis, and it was a real struggle. So much so, apparently, that once everything was attached and tightened down, it tweaked the car just enough to caused the trunk lid to kiss the right side quarter panel. Now I like kissing as much as the next guy, but not on my cars, so I called Kelly Murphy of Murphy Rod & Custom to see what we needed to do.

In the third picture you can see Kelly looking over the gaps. He determined, as I had, there was no way to adjust the trunk lid to fit. Moving the lid left, to open the gap on the right, would simply move the problem to the left side of the car. Time to bring out the big guns.

The fourth photo is of Kelly grinding away on the edge of the trunk lid, removing the metal a tiny fraction of an inch at a time. He would run the grinder over the edge of the lid a time or two, close the lid to check the fit, and then do it all over again. Once he was satisfied with the fit, the edge was welded to preserve the integrity of the edge.

You can see the final result in the last photo … a nice straight even gap down the entire edge without a touch in sight. Obviously this wrecked the primer that has so carefully been applied and sanded in this area. That is why this step is done before all the priming starts, so these kinds of heavy duty “adjustments” don’t cause rework. But that chassis to body wrestling match caused unexpected problems that had to be addressed after the fact. Oh well, it is only a minor setback, easily rectified.

Next week we will prime and sand this area again, before we put the car in the booth, and the post primer “adjustment” will be completely undetectable. In fact, I have already forgotten it even happened.

The other hood

Work continues on Hughes’s Chevelle. Now that the car proper is nearly ready for paint, we are beginning to work on the other stuff. Like this hood. Here Jordan is spraying on a coat of primer so we can, you guessed it, sand most of it back off.

It isn’t much fun, spraying stuff on then sanding it back off … spraying stuff on then sanding it back off … but it is the only way to get the High Performance Finish.

The hood

The hood from the 1950 Chevrolet pickup, has been polished out and is ready to go home, along with the rest of the parts. The owner just wanted his parts painted so he could take them with him. That’s fine, I’m glad to help him out. But I hope he brings the truck by when he is done with it. I would like to see it.

Whoda thunk it?

“It’s déjà vu all over again”  – Lawrence “Yogi” Berra

No sooner than I get one deep red 1950 Chevrolet pickup out of the shop, then parts of another arrive. The two truck are the same make, model and year, and so close in color that unless you see them side-by-side, you would think they were the same color. It’s strange how coincidences work sometimes

The owner of the truck, the second truck that is, dropped off a few parts, the hood, tailgate and a couple of other small parts, to be painted. Apparently the shop that painted the rest of his truck was unwilling or unable to finish the job. I’m not sure what is going on, or even who the other shop is, but in any case I only have these few parts to paint.

The first picture shows the hood, upside down and ready to paint. That picture was taken almost two weeks ago just before I painted the underside of the hood. Yesterday I was finally able to get the hood, along with the rest of the parts, back in the booth to finish painting them.

The second picture is of Mike cleaning the inner fenders. Mike is wiping everything down with a tack cloth to remove any contaminants from the surface. The tack cloth is just a piece of lint free cloth treated with a chemical that leaves the cloth slightly sticky … much like a PostIt! note. The cloth is wiped over the surface that is to be painted and any loose dirt, hair … whatever … is picked up by the cloth and removed from the surface.

The third photo shows the tailgate hanging in the booth, ready to paint. The black part of the tailgate is some primer that has been sprayed on the tailgate to prepare it for paint.

The fourth and fifth pictures are of yours truly sitting on a hard concrete floor with my head stuck inside what amounts to a big steel bucket while I taped up the already painted areas to protect them from overspray. Yes … you too can enjoy a glamorous career in automotive repair …

The sixth picture shows all the parts, prepared and ready to paint.

The last three photos, numbers 7, 8 and 9, show the various parts after they have been painted. After the parts dry overnight they can be sent home with the owner.

I’m just glad I didn’t have both these trucks in the shop at the same time. It would have gotten real old real fast having to constantly walk up and hold parts against the trucks to compare the color to make sure you were getting the right parts on the right truck.


The dictionary defines unfortunate as Characterized by undeserved bad luck; unlucky. The owner of this 2012 Nissan Sentra was unfortunate indeed. While sitting at a stop sign this nearly new car was whacked, hard, in the rear when another driver failed to stop.

With the exception of the tail-lamps and interior, which we removed to look at the damage, this is pretty much how the car arrived at the shop. The rear bumper was missing, apparently completely destroyed in the crash. The entire rear of the car is going to have to be rebuilt. A new rear reinforcement will have to be installed, along with one new tail-lamp bucket, the right side quarter panel and a trunk floor.

You can see in these photos the car is bent nearly everywhere behind the rear doors. A modern car is tough … built to take a good hard lick. For the car to be bent this badly, this poor car took a good shot. The technical term, used in the business, for a car like this is messed up!

50 years ago a crash like this would have totaled one or both of the cars, new or not. Yet here this car sits, still drivable, ready to be repaired. I hear people say about today’s cars, “They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.” And they’re right, they don’t. They make them better.

Completed Camry

Yesterday we painted the Camry and today we put it together. The first two shots show the car in the booth after the application of the color.

I must have gotten busy because for some reason I didn’t take any pictures of the car after the application of the base coat, then later the clear coat, as I normally do. The last photo shows the car after the paint has dried and been reassembled.

Oh well … it is the finished product that people care about anyway. It looks a bit better than it did a couple of weeks ago when it arrived doesn’t it?

Less is more

In the shop for a face lift, this nearly 20 year old Ford is finished and ready to go home. Most people associate white with work vehicles, but white can also be quite striking. A simple clean color, not every car or truck looks good in white.

But this F150 certainly does.

And now, to your right …

A couple of weeks ago we fitted the left side door and fender, test fitting them to check the gaps and to make sure the body lines align. Yesterday, we did the right side. Both sides aligned well without a lot of work.

With the exception of the hood and trunk lid … and the interior, grille, chrome, wiring, fuel tank, steering column … and paint … this baby is just about done.

Let’s wrap this up

Creative without strategy is called “art.” Creative with strategy is called “advertising.” … Jef I. Richards

In the rough and tumble, cut-throat world of business, getting recognized is half the battle. Over the past year or so I have been toiling away on that. I’ve created this humble blog you are so generously reading. I have started to become a sponsor of some of the local car shows and cruise ins. And I have been fortunate … business has been steadily growing.

Now I am adding another arrow to my advertising quiver. My shop truck, a very nice but nearly invisible Toyota Tundra, is no longer quite so nondescript. A splash of color, some graphics, a small lift and a standout wheel and tire package, and my shop truck has become a rolling bill-board.

I have had the JMC AutoworX 1960 Karmann Ghia for some time now, but I can’t always take it around to show it off. Take today for example. Cold and wet … not the best weather for driving a car with no top. But now, even with the Ghia ensconced in the garage, the message is still going out.

The first picture shows the truck before the transformation. A great truck to be sure, but it is lost in a sea of other vehicles on the road. The next three photos show the truck as it stands today. Not quite so easy to miss now, eh?

The graphic shows a typical auto painters paint gun spraying down the side of the truck in electric blue bands. Behind the blue is a honeycomb pattern over a black high-tech looking background. Overlaying all that is my logo, a bit about what I do, and around back is the website. I even through in a QR code just to show how hip I am.

The truck came out better than I imagined it would … but I think I might have to give up my aspirations to be a bank robber. My get away vehicle … it won’t be hard to remember now.

I hope.

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