Daily Archives: November 30, 2012

It’s custom

2012.11.30 - El Camino (1)2012.11.30 - El Camino (2)2012.11.30 - El Camino (3)2012.11.30 - El Camino (4)2012.11.30 - El Camino (5)2012.11.30 - El Camino (6)2012.11.30 - El Camino (7)2012.11.30 - El Camino (8)2012.11.30 - El Camino (9)While Chase toiled away wet sanding the Plymouth, Chris and I spent today working on the wiring of the El Camino. Not so much installing the wiring as testing.

The first thing this morning Chris took an hour or so to hook up the horns. The car didn’t have horns when we first got it so the first order of business was to find out where the horns go and how they attach. There was no obvious way or place to mount them but after a few minutes of digging on the internet he found a picture and discovered what he needed to know. You can see him installing the horns in the first photo and the results of his handy work in the second. What I want to know is how did we do anything before the internet?

The owner of the El Camino wanted a lot of light inside the car to eliminate dark corners. To that end we mounted a pair of LED bulbs inside the smuggler box that come on with the interior lamps. A clever idea if I do say so myself.

The third and fourth photos show Chris mounting the LED’s in the box. The LED’s mount flush in the top of the box as you can see in the fifth photo. After the wires were tied together we slipped the box into place and hooked them up to the interior lamp circuit as you can see in picture number six. The LED’s aren’t dazzling bright, but they do throw a nice amount of light into the interior of the box. Just another of those little custom touches that will surprise and delight the owner.

And speaking of custom touches, here is another one. The owner asked that the intake be painted black, to match the rest of the engine and engine bay, but then he wanted to sand the black off the top of the strakes to reveal the aluminum underneath. To be honest, my first thought was “Why?”, but it’s what the customer wanted so we did it. It is hard to tell, but picture seven shows the intake after the paint was sanded off. In person you can easily see why he wanted it done … it looks great and helps ties the look together.

After seeing the intake we decided to set in place the fuel rail covers we painted way back at the start of this project. The covers were the first things painted as a color check, and we have been saving them for this moment. The engine is quit dirty, something we will take care of before the car it turned over to the owner, but you can get an idea of how the engine is going to look in the last two pictures, numbers eight and nine. We are going to have to modify the right cover just a bit to get it to fit, but I think they look good and will set the engine, once it is cleaned up, off rather nicely.

I wouldn’t call this El Camino a custom car, it is still basically as GM built it in 1969. Having said that, it does have enough subtle customization to make it a true one of a kind.

So maybe it is a custom car after all.

That’s deep

2012.11.30 - Plymouth (1)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (2)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (3)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (4)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (5)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (6)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (7)2012.11.30 - Plymouth (8)Chase spent his day with wet hands and feet. Just what you want on a chilly November day.

The first picture has Chase wet sanding one of the fenders with 3000 girt sandpaper on the DA (Dual Action) sander. The fender has already been blocked to remove the imperfections. This DA sanding with 3000 grit sandpaper is something we have just started doing on our High Performance Finishes. It doesn’t make the paint look any better, but it does make it a little easier to get there by reducing the amount of polishing the paint needs.

The second photo shows the fender after the wet sanding is complete. Because the 3000 girt sandpaper is so fine, it almost returns some gloss to the finish.

Wet sanding, like every sanding step before it, is performed to remove imperfections. No matter how good the painter, and Chase is a pretty good one, it is impossible to lay the paint down perfectly. It simply can’t be done.

Painting, done well, leaves the paint with imperfections that are so slight they are difficult to near impossible to see. But the imperfections are there, and when they are removed the paint jumps to an entirely new level of gloss and reflection. In other words, you don’t notice the imperfection in a good paint job … until they are no longer there.

The third photo shows chase polishing the fender to remove the dullness left by the sanding. The fender will be polished three times with progressively finer polish until the sanding marks and polishing swirls are removed. In this photo Chase is just starting the polishing process and is using the most aggressive polish.

In the fourth photo Chase has completed the polishing and is wiping the fender with a micro-fiber towel to remove any remaining polish.

Wet sanding is time consuming, messy, and in winter, cold job. But … there is no other way to get the depth and reflective qualities that you see in the fifth picture. Now that is a High Performance Finish.

I was so please at how the fender(s) looked that I let Chase do the same thing to the hood. You can see him slaving away with the sanding block in picture six. Doesn’t he look like he is having fun?

Picture seven shows Chase once again polishing the paint after the wet sand process. The process is always the same  … block with 1000 grit sandpaper, block again with 2000 grit sandpaper, DA with 3000 grit sandpaper, then polish with course, medium and fine polish.  The only variation is if the paint is white or very light, we might skip the final polishing step because it makes no difference on the light colors.

The final photo, number eight, shows the results of his labors on the hood … and a pretty good result it is too.

I have done my share of wet sanding and I can tell you that nobody likes doing it. As I said before, it is a messy and tiring job. But if you want the best finish possible I know of no other way to get it, and that deep shine makes it all worth while. Especially if you get someone else to do it.

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