Category Archives: 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS (2012)
A very fine car when it arrived, we tear this car down and put it back together … making it better than ever.
A sleek black beauty
Those that listen to the weekly NPR radio program Car Talk may have heard Tom and Ray Magliozzi refer to the “sleek black beauty” during their program, another name for Tom’s long departed 1965 AMC Ambassador convertible. I think you would agree that the label could equally be applied to this drop dead gorgeous 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.
This is a true SS car with the thundering 396 big block and four speed manual transmission. The car is very original, sporting all original sheet metal with the exception of the left front fender and the panel under the rear window. The fender was replaced because of a collision, and was the impetuous for the car to come to the shop. The panel under the rear window was replaced because of an improper repair at some point in the past.
A black on black car, the car looks the business. Excepting the damaged front fender, this car was very nice when it arrived, requiring only a bit of titivation. Treating the car to our High Performance Finish kicked the paint up from nice to stunning. Nothing shows the depth and gloss of a High Performance Finish like black and this car doesn’t disappoint.
The owner picked the car up today and I think he was well pleased with the results. I know I am quite happy with the way the car turned out and will proudly claim the car as a product of the JMC AutoworX team.
If you would like to see this outstanding Chevelle in person it will be on display at the Shiner Drag Racing and Hot Rod Expo in the Greensboro Coliseum February first and second.
I hope to you see you there.
A glass act
We are really closing in on the delivery of this stunning 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle. The last major task to complete was the installation of the rear glass, which was done today. While waiting on the glass installer guys to arrive, we spent some time dressing up the trunk area of the car.
The trunk floor, while solid, had a good amount of surface rust. Wanting to head off trouble before it could start we applied a rust converter to the area. A rust converter attacks the rust chemically, binding to and sealing it so that it stops the rust in its tracks. It is a wonder product and is perfect for applications such as this. You can see the rust converter painted onto the floor of the car in the first photo. After it dries we will repaint the trunk in the correct “splatter paint” as use by GM. Once that is done you will never know we had done anything at all to the trunk.
The last two photos, numbers two and three, show the car after the rear glass install. As you can see it looks perfect and the bright metal trim around the glass really sets off the black paint. It’s a real glass act if I do say so myself.
Hey … come on … it’s been a long time since I last used a bad pun.
The end is near
We are approaching the end of the work on this ’67 Chevelle … we only have a few odds and ends to finish up, and throw a bucket of water over it, before the car will be ready to turn over to the owner.
The first two photos show the inner fenders, which we painted Friday, installed on the car. The camera flash makes them look like they have more gloss than they do as these are finished in what it becoming our standard engine bay color, a semi-gloss eggshell black.
The third photo shows the doors on the car getting a bit of sound deadening. This is some leftover material from the El Camino project and rather than throw the excess away I slapped a few pieces on the door here and there. Every little bit helps, ya know.
In the fourth and final photo you can see Chris installing the inner door panels and affixing a bit of trim on the doors. This door also had some of the sound deadening material applied under the door cover.
I expect the owner will be able to pick up his car this week. Not a bad way to start out the new year … driving home in your freshly painted classic car.
Adding some sparkle
Yesterday and today we cracked on getting this magnificent 1967 Chevelle SS buttoned up by adding the last piece of sheet metal then added some sparkle by installing the trim.
The first photo shows the car with most of the side trim in place … but something is still missing.
The second and third photos shows Chris working on on the hood, the last piece of sheet metal to go on the car. Once the hood was installed and aligned, we moved on to the bumpers.
The fourth photo shows the rear bumper installed, along with all the rear trim. If you overlook the protective layer of dust, the car is beginning to look quite sharp.
In the fifth photo Chase (under car) and Chris install the front bumper. The finished front end is looking very tidy indeed in the sixth photo.
In the seventh photo is a good example of the High Performance Finish. That’s not a picture of the sign that hangs on the wall in the shop … that a picture of the sign that hangs on the wall in the shop reflected in the roof of the Chevelle. I think the owner will be well pleased with the finish.
The last photo, number eight, shows the inner fenders and the battery tray, the last few items in need of attention, in the booth getting their coat of paint. After they are dry these pieces will be bolted into the car.
This Chevelle has been a real pleasure to work on. Being this is a nice straight original car, all the body panels fit as they should and that make our job a lot easier. But we are near the end of this project and I expect to turn the car over to the owner one day next week.
If you would like to see this car in person plan on attending the 11th Annual Shriners Drag Racing and Hot Rod Expo February 1st and 2nd, 2013 at the Greensboro Coliseum. JMC AutoworX will be displaying a selection of cars we worked on this year, and this lovely Chevelle will be one of them.
It’s a good thing that Chris isn’t claustrophobic. Today, after three or four tries at aligning the trunk, we finally decided that the easiest way to do it was someone would get in the trunk while the other stood outside and pushed and shoved. Once the trunk lid was in place, the person inside the trunk could tighten it down.
The first photo shows Chris working his way into the trunk. Chris is a pretty big guy so it was a tight squeeze.
The lid is going down in the second photo. I took a photo of him curled up inside of the trunk with the lid down but it came out fuzzy so I didn’t use it in this post. He was curled up pretty tight and there was a fair amount of bumping and banging in there, along with some muttering, as he moved around.
The third photo shows me yelling, asking him if the keys to the trunk were in his pocket because I couldn’t find them anywhere. Actually, this was staged photo for comic effect. Yes, Chris is in the trunk but the trunk lid didn’t even have the latch attached yet so Chris couldn’t be locked in the trunk.
Just to prove that Chris got out of the trunk no worse for wear, the last photo, number four, shows him test fitting a bit of trim to the trunk lid later in the day.
In the past I’ve done my fair share of crawling in and under things as Chris did today. But if he thinks this one was bad … wait until he has to get in the Mustang.
Doing a little work on the side
It’s Christmas eve so we didn’t do a lot around the shop today, but we did work on the Chevelle some. It’s surprising what you can get done when the phone isn’t ringing off the hook and you can focus on one thing for more than five minutes.
In the first photo Chris and I are hanging and aligning the door. Hanging panels on older classic cars isn’t any more difficult than doing the same job on a modern car, but they are much more fiddly. We worked on the car for about 3 hours mounting the door and fender, and the bulk of that time was spent tightening the bolts, checking the gaps, loosening the bolt, moving the panel, and retightening. It seems like just when you get the gaps perfect in once place, you mess the gap up in another, so it is dance to get everything as close as possible at the same time.
The second photo shows me hammering the door into place for the final time. Now that the door is aligned we can move on to the fender.
In the third photo Chris and I are mounting the fender. The fender isn’t heavy, but it helps when there are a couple pairs of hands to hold and align slots and bolts.
In the fourth photo we are finger tightening the first set of bolts so the fender will sit in place and we don’t have to worry about it falling off and getting damaged.
In the fifth photo we are beginning to insert and tighten the other bolts to see how the fender sits on the car. We will install and remove these bolts several times, inserting and removing shims, to adjust how the fender fits on the car.
In the sixth photo we finally had the top and bottom of the fender where we wanted it, so it was time to put the screws to it so the fender is secure.
After tightening the fender down tight the fender moved just enough that I was no longer happy with the bottom gap, so in picture seven we loosened the bottom bolt yet again and applied some muscle to force it back into place. While Chris held it in place, I tightened the bolt down again so it would stay.
The last two pictures, number eight and nine, show left side of the car with the door and fender on and properly aligned. You can’t see it in these pictures because the car is so black it sucks up all the light in the room, but the panel gaps look pretty good. Not a bad way to end the day before the holiday.
Wednesday, when we return to work, we get to repeat the process on the other side.
Yesterday we completed just over half the steps necessary to make this already very nice finish into a High Performance Finish. Today we did the rest.
There are six final steps in giving the paint it’s maximum gloss. There are three sanding steps where we sand the paint with progressively finer sandpaper until all the flaws are removed from the paint. We completed all of the sanding yesterday.
After the sanding removes all the flaw we polish the paint to restore the gloss. As you can guess, no matter how fine the sandpaper, sanding the paint is going to dull the finish. There are three step in the polishing process. The first step removes the dullness left by the sanding, but it leaves the paint with “swirl” marks in the paint. We also completed this step yesterday.
So for today we need to get the swirl marks out of the paint. This is what the second polishing step accomplishes. Where the first step uses a relatively aggressive polish, the second step uses a very mild polish. The entire process is designed to remove the flaws in the paint as quickly and efficiently as possible. I suppose you could skip all the sanding steps and the first polishing steps and go right to the second polishing step … but you would be working on the car for weeks polishing the paint. Better to get “aggressive” with it at the beginning to speed the process along.
If this were a light colored car, we would stop here. Light colored cars, whites, silvers and the like, never have the depth in their paint that dark colors do so additional polishing does them no good. But as you can see, this car is as far from white as you can get so we go another step when polishing.
The third and final step removes an ethereal haze left behind by the previous polishing step. After the first polishing step it is easy to see the swirls, but the haze left by the second step is almost impossible to see. The light has to be just so and the only time you can tell it is there is when the third step removes it from an adjacent area. It very hard to see and even more difficult to describe, but we have the ability to remove it, so we do.
These three photos show the car after all the sanding and polishing is complete. The car looked pretty good when it arrived … well, except for the bent front fender … but it looks a lot better than just pretty good now.
There’s sand and water, but no beach
Chris and Chase did yeoman’s duty today on the Chevelle, taking the very good paint finish on the car and starting the process to make it a fantastic finish … a High Performance Finish.
What makes a High Performance Finish pop is not only what we do to the car before we paint it, but also what we do to the car after we paint it. A High Performance Finish involves three separate sanding steps followed by three polishing steps.
The first three steps is the wet sanding of the car. Wet sanding sounds exactly like what it is, the car is sanded while wet. The water acts as a lubricant that helps prevent the sandpaper from removing too much material from the car. It also highlights any flaws in the paint that otherwise would be difficult to see by washing away the removed clear coat and providing a slight gloss to the paint.
We first hand sand the car with 1,000 grit sandpaper on a soft block. 1,000 grit sandpaper is so fine that you can’t feel the abrasives other than as friction when you drag your finger across the paper. The cutting action of the 1,000 grit sandpaper is fairly aggressive at this level and is used to remove the tiny imperfection in the paint. These imperfections are so difficult to see that most people can’t see them … until they are gone.
The second step is another round of hand sanding, this time with 2,000 grit sandpaper on the block. As you might guess, this sandpaper is much finer than the 1,000 grit and the abrasives are so fine that you feel nothing at all other than the typical feel of paper. This step further refines the surface of the paint and it also removes most of the sanding marks left by the first sanding step.
The third and final wet sanding step is performed with 3,000 girt sandpaper on a DA (Dual Action) power sander. This step further removes any sanding marks left by the blocking steps and randomizes the sanding marks so that the polisher quickly removes the marks leaving behind beautiful depth and gloss. As you can imagine, sanding paint is going to dull the finish, no matter how fine the sandpaper, and you would be right. But the 3,000 grit sandpaper is so fine that it actually begins to return some shine to the paint.
The first three photos show the paint after the first blocking with the 1,000 grit sandpaper. This is as bad as this paint will look and will only improve from here. What this dullness is hiding, however, is a gloss that has to be seen to be believed.
In picture four Chris has completed the wet sanding and is now beginning the polishing process. Polishing does the same thing that the sanding process does, it removes imperfections from the paint, imperfections introduced by the sanding process. The imperfections left by the sanding process are much, much finer than those removed during sanding, but they scatter the light more effectively leaving the paint looking dull and lifeless. The car will be machine polished three times, each time with a finer abrasive until dullness is removed and you are left with paint that has a glass like smoothness.
We only had time today to complete the first of the three polishes. This first step uses a polish that, while much finer than even the 3,000 grit sandpaper, is still quite aggressive. This first step removes the dullness left by the wet sanding. After the first polish the car will have it’s shine restored, but the paint will be full of the dreaded swirl marks.
The last three photos, five, six and seven, show the car after the first polish is complete. The car actually has more gloss than it appears to in these photos because the car still has the polishing compound on the paint. If we were to wipe the car clean it would appear to be done in the photos because at this distance the camera can’t resolve the swirl marks. Even the human eye would have trouble seeing the swirls, except when the light plays across the surface.
Step two of the polishing will be with a finer polish yet and it will remove the swirls from the paint and leave a mirror like gloss behind. The third and final polish will further smooth the paint surface so that the paint has the maximum gloss. But those two steps are for tomorrow.
Wet sanding is tiring, boring, messy work, but it has to be done if you want the best the paint can provide. I kept telling Chris today that it was like a day at the beach with all the sand and water. I’m not certain he was buying into the idea though.
Black … it never goes out of style
After hours and hours of sanding, this Chevelle is finally ready to paint. All that sweat and dust has led up to this moment, the moment when all the hard work pays off.
In the first two photos Chris and Chase are masking off the car. Though masking is a tedious job it is not nearly as tedious as getting over-spray off the car, so time spent here, doing the job right, is time well spent.
The next three photos, numbers three, four and five, show the car after the sealer has been applied. The urethane sealer covers and protects the surface underneath and provides a smooth surface for the paint to bind to.
The sealer comes in seven shades of gray … from nearly white to almost black. Each color has a particular shade of sealer associated with it … generally the darker the color the darker the sealer. Because this car is as black as black can be we are using darkest sealer available.
After the sealer dries, Chase “tacks” the car to remove any dust that may have settled on the car. You can see him wiping the car down with a tack cloth in picture six. The car will be tacked between each coat of the base coat to ensure as perfect a finish as possible.
A tack cloth is a lint free cloth treated with a chemical that gives the cloth a tackiness similar to that of a post-it note, hence the term tack cloth. As the cloth passes over the car any dust or debris on the car adheres to the cloth and is removed from the car.
In pictures seven and eight Chase begins laying down the first of several base coats. JMC AutoworX, like most body shops, use a two-stage paint system. The first stage, the base coat, is the color. Several layers of the base coat are applied in thin coats. The multiple coats ensures complete coverage while at the same time preventing runs. For our High Performance Finish we will typically apply three or four coats of base coat.
Pictures nine and ten show the car after the the final application of the base coat. It looks slightly shiny in these photos because the paint is still slightly wet, the car is black, and the surface is simply that smooth. Base coat normally dries to a near flat finish, and this black will as well, but it will never look as flat as a lighter color simply because it is black.
On our About Us page I state that I perform or inspect ever step of the restoration process. In picture number eleven you can see me looking over Chases work. I didn’t realize that I look like Napoleon inspecting the troops when I do that, but it is important to me that every job that comes out of the JMC AutoworX shop is as good as we can make it. Since I am generally more picky about how something looks than most of our customers, I feel that if I am happy with the results, the customer will be too. I am very happy with this car, which is typical of Chase’s work.
The last two photos, numbers 12 and 13, show the car after the application of the second of the two-stage paint system, the clear coat.
The base coat provides the color and little else, it is the clear coat that is the magic in the two-stage paint system. Where the base coat is applied in thin coats, the clear coat is applied in two or three thick coats. The clear coat provides a tough and durable layer of protection for the more delicate base coat underneath, but it also provides the pow! and zing! to the finish by giving it the depth and luster expected from automotive finishes.
For a normal finish this is were we would stop. As you can see in the last two photos the paint looks great, every bit equal, or superior, to most any new car finish. But this isn’t receiving a normal finish, this car is receiving a High Performance Finish and that means as good as it looks now, we are going to kick it up another notch by sanding the car again, not once, not twice, but three more times to ensure the ultimate in depth and clarity.
Basic black … it looks good and never goes out of style.
Just call ’em the dusty twins
Chase and Chris spent most of the day blocking on the Chevelle, the final blocking before paint. You can see Chase, block in hand, working on the car in the first photo.
Blocking is a technique where a length of sandpaper is wrapped around a semi-flexible plastic block. The block causes the sandpaper to really dig into high areas while skimming lightly over low areas until the entire car is smooth and even.
This is second blocking of this car … the first being after the application of the high solids primer used to fill any smooth and slight deformations in the sheet metal. This blocking is done with a finer grit of sandpaper after the urethane primer is applied, used to fill and smooth the sanding marks left by the high builds blocking, and further smooth the surface so the paint can be laid down absolutely smooth.
The second photo shows the car in the blocking process. It is a dusty process and by the time the guys were done they were so covered in sanding dust they looked like they had been ridding a 100 miles on horseback in the desert.
The last three photos shows the car, fully blocked and mostly cleaned up, in the booth. The car will be thoroughly cleaned then masked to protect it from over-spray. But for all practicable purposes, the car is ready to paint.
The we can start blocking on it again.