Before and after shots of the wheels. They took many hours to restore. I sandblasted them in the cabinet, and painted the beads with Rust-Oleum. I used the same Mar-Hyde fill primer that I had used on the body. I carefully sanded each one. From some cheap Harbor Freight casters I made a little carousel to paint them on. I used the touch up gun, then cleared them with DuPont ChromaClear. I was very careful, so there were no runs, and luckily no bugs, no problems to sand and buff out.
I bought new Cooper Sentra whitewall radial tires. I chose these over the whiteletter tires because this is a fully option loaded Supreme, not the sportier 442, or an S, and this car will look original. I polished each of the 25 aluminum trim pieces for the wheels before I re-installed them. I have reproduction trim rings and caps which I will install later. The wheels look too pretty right now, and I don't have the heart to scratch them up with the trim rings at the moment.
One of the first non-shiny parts I installed was the door latch mechanisms, so the freshly painted doors don't bang into the jambs and screw stuff up. It was immensely satisfying to hear the latch of the closing door for the first time in a couple of years. Next came the reproduction rubber door weatherstrips from Metro. They fit very well and installed pretty easily, with the plastic tabs and a little 3M weatherstrip adhesive. The doors closing sounds even better now. I also installed the power lock actuators, and this nifty repro GM door jamb sticker.
Next in was the glass and power window mechanisms, glass and wiring. I won't be able to finalize the installation of the glass until I can line it all up with the top mechanism, which at this stage is still in 1000 pieces. I used this photo I took before disassembly, as reference on how to route all the wiring. I'm thinking the masking tape wire looms were not OEM GM....
I'm such a big kid, I can't wait. I needed to see some chrome, so I went ahead and installed the rear bumper and brackets, taillight assemblies, license plate frame, etc, even though the rest of the car is not even close. I also put on the thin strip of trim across the back of the trunk as well as the O-L-D-S-M-O-B-I-L-E letters that I had drilled the holes for earlier. I feel this crazy enthusiasm and energy at this stage, and I would put the whole thing back together in one day if I could.
Using the Ryobi grinder with a buffing pad, and some 3M Imperial Microfinishing compound, I shined up the top of the trunk lid. When I did this years ago, I buffed a few lacquer cars, but this ChromaClear stuff is much, much different. It's much harder. The shine is harder, deeper, and should last alot longer. Some of the lacquer cars I did way back when were kept outside, and they would start to dull in less than 2 years. No matter though, as this car will be kept indoors as long as I own it.
I'm really digging the color. It looks different in every kind of light. It's just a normal color, no pearl, nothing trick going on with it. So far the repaired quarterpanel looks good, and all the other bugs have sanded away. Don't look at it with a microscope at noon though.....
The second photo shows the driver side all buffed out. I can't wait to get the front clip on, it's a super pain in the butt to move the car around this way, all tied together with wires, and plenty that can go wrong. Somehow, I managed to not get the radiator core support finished until now. I wanted to get the body done first while I still had good weather.
I did most of it with the rubber block. Amazingly, I even managed to remove the large pterodactyl from the front edge of the hood, without damaging the paint or going through the clearcoat.
Ron showed me how to fold the paper and hold it on the block without cutting or tearing the sheets up and having to install them under the rubber flaps on the block. This both saved alot of time, and allowed me to use the side edge of the block as kind of a squeegee to mop the water away so I could stop frequently to see if I had sanded enough of the orange peel, dirt and bugs away. This is an excellent technique that I will use from now on.
I also masked and sprayed the dash frame and some other parts for the interior. I paid more than $100 for two quarts of interior color, (sienna reddish brown). It sucked alot, because the two quarts did not match each other, did not shine at all. I honestly believe I could have gotten similar or better results from aerosol cans.
I definitely don't want to keep the Jurassic Park look for my car. The insects must go. I wetsanded everything out with 1000, 1200 and 1500 grit. All the bugs and dirt are pretty much gone, but I cannot avoid repainting the passenger quarterpanel.
My 30 year body shop vet, hereafter referred to as Ron, made me sand the huge bug area down with a block and 600 paper. I sanded throught the paint down to the primer, and was mortified, but I was following Ron's directions now. I taped off the quarter, and had to spray a small area of fill primer over this area I had sanded, and some of my fresh paint. I dried it with a hot light, blocked the whole area with 600 again to smooth the freshly sprayed primer. Ron came over, and blended the paint by lightly spraying the color over the repair. When it was hidden relatively well, the whole area still appeared to be a different color, but Ron wasn't finished yet. He then started at the bottom of the panel behind the rear wheel, and color coated right over the back 2/3 of the whole panel. Later the same day, I sprayed the whole panel with another 2 coats of clear.
I was afraid that clearing over this blended repair would give it a funny irridescent look where the new paint was blended over the older clear. I haven't seen it in bright sunlight yet, but the blend appears perfect under fluorescent lighting.
More sanding. Now I get to sand the whole car with 1500 so I can buff it.