Daily Archives: June 7, 2012

Looks can be deceiving

I present to you, exhibit A … a BMW Z3. Looking at the first picture, it appears the car needed some minor body work. A replacement door, a new hood and maybe some work on the back bumper. But you would be mistaken.

The BMW was well, truly hammered. Involved in a serious crash on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this BMW has been all but rebuilt from the ground up.  The car needed extensive repairs on the frame machine, including straightening of the front subframe, replacement of most of the front suspension and a new engine. Not to mention the new hood and door.

Most of the major repairs are complete and we are down to the cosmetic stuff. As you can see in the first photo, we have replaced the hood and the drivers door. In the second photo you can see the large dent in the “A” pillar that we are going to pull.

In the second picture the “A” piller looks like a porcupine from the studs welded to it. We will hammer away at the dent with the slide hammer until we get the shape we want, then we will finish smoothing the repair using body filler, which you can see in the fourth photo. Once the filler dries we will sand it smooth and blend it into the “A” pillar lines so the dent is completely hidden.

This little car has been through a lot, but it is nearly over now. We still have a few rough places to smooth over, but it has come a long ways since the crash. We will finish cleaning up the scars then we can roll it into the booth for paint.

The owner has been waiting almost a year, I think, for the repairs to be completed. I know I have been stepping over or around that hood for months while I waited on the car to be brought in. I’m sure she will be glad to finally have her baby driveable again.

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Do not open

Having never had this happen to me, I can’t imagine the shock the driver of this BMW 3 Series must have felt when the hood opened while he was driving down the road. I can guess what he said though, and I suspect the first word was Oh!

The damage could have been much worse. The owner of the car is lucky that the only part damaged was the hood itself. You can see in the second photo how the hood is bent and twisted where the hinge mounts. Had the hood been torn loose and folded back over the windshield the owner would be in for more than just a replacement hood.

In the third photo the replacement hood is in the booth, waiting to be painted. Quality replacement parts come coated in a rust preventive coating just like the one applied when the car was built. All I have to do on these type of replacement parts is give them a light sand to make sure the paint sticks and then give them the gun.

The fourth photo shows the hood after the base coat has been applied. The base coat dries nearly flat, like a chalkboard, because it is the clear coat that follows that gives the paint the pow! and zing! that automotive finishes are known for.

Pictures five and six shows what I mean when I say the clear coat gives the paint its zing! As you can clearly (no pun intended) see, the addition of the clear coat gives the paint depth and luster it doesn’t have with just the base coat applied.

Tomorrow the hood will be dry and it can go back on the car. Get the grilles and emblem back on the hood, and it will be good to go. If we have time, I might see if I can smooth those puckers out of the bottom of the drivers seat too.

A mashed bug

This poor little bug … it was just sitting at a stop light, minding it’s own business, when some yahoo makes a left, cuts the corner too much, and … blam! It was pretty bent up. I had to cut the hood latch out so I could get the hood open and the left side fender looked like a folded aluminum soda can.

It has set around the shop for several weeks while the owner and the insurance company worked out the if/when/how of the repair. A couple of weeks ago we finally received the go-ahead to perform the repairs, last week I got enough parts to get started, and today I started piecing the bug back together.

I thought I had taken some before pictures, but when I started looking for them I couldn’t find them, so I guess I didn’t. But trust me, this was one mashed bug. Even so, after a few days of mounting parts and performing bodywork, and another few days of painting, this VW will no longer look like the bug that hit the windshield.

Trust me … it’s better

I tried at least two other times to get pictures of the work being done to this Accent. I completely forgot to take pictures when I painted the trunk, and because the damage before the repair was so light, the damage didn’t appear in the pictures.

But trust me, it looks better now.

Box car

Terry’s El Camino is coming along nicely. Murphy Rod & Custom has remounted the chassis to the body so it is a car again instead of a collection of parts. All those boxes in the back of the car contain the remaining pieces they have to finish before they are done and I can start the body work.

This beast has come a loooong way since I first saw it, engine-less and sitting under a tarp. I can’t wait to get started on it.

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