Jan 17th 2007
My wife gave me a pro-paint job for the car for Christmas! This paint is not something Don could have done. It requires a professional booth and a positive air flow ventilation system to not kill the painter.
The Chevelle is now at a local body shop where the finish welding and painting will be done. They will be aligning each panel to factory specifications and applying 4 coats of base and 3 coats of clear paint in the same color we have been using.
They have taken the front fenders off to access the cowling area.
Body man in the trunk welding the floor in. The floor is integral to the side rear fenders so the whole thing needs to be done as a unit. This was the primary reason we considered the paint and body shop. Don was concerned about getting everything aligned here.
Thursday Jan 25th, 2006
The body shop has informed us that the right rear tail light assembly is bent and we are searching for a replacement. The body work is moving quickly but this will stop us.
Don went over to the body shop today to help resolve a problem with the fit of the doors and fenders. He got Ausley's on the phone and they explained to the body shop how to hang them.
This shot was taken while they were working on fit up of the front fenders to the doors. The fender you see here is a spare we have that was too rusted to use. The replacement fenders do not match the door profiles and will need to be modified to work.
Fender to Door Alignment - Modifying the fender to match the curve of the front edge of the door when from the belt line up is fine but starting at the belt line and below the fender needs to go inward more.
1: Stock Fender
2: Notched cut into inner reinforcement metal but not through to the skin to allow the fender to be more easily bent inward.
3: Fender bent more inward but notice the bottom lip where the lower fender bolts attach it to the bottom side of the cowl is now angled upward.
4: Another notch is cut on the very bottom of the fender again only cutting through the inner metal and not the skin to allow the bottom lip of the fender to be angled back to a horizontal position.
5: Amount of change comparing the original bend and the modified fender after bending and welding together the cuts in the reinforcement metal.
By doing this modification with cutting of the inner support steel I feel I had more control and less chance of damaging the fender instead of using brute force to bend it into the correct position. The whole purpose of doing this is that most fenders were bolted on and then somewhat pried on to allow the insertion of shims to get the back edge of the fender to be level with the front edge of the door. By having the curvature of the fender match the door no prying should be required AND it should be easier to remove and replace the fender and spend less time aligning it.
This is from http://hometown.aol.com/krystaldesigns/pageA34.html showing the restoration of a 1974 Chevrolet Spirit Of America Nova Restoration. The body shop is doing this now. This the one for fit matching.
As you can see they are making excellent progress.
January 26th, 2007
Don got this tail light assembly off eBay and will be bead blasting it and taking it to the body shop for installation.
Feb 6th, 2007
Don went over to inspect the car this morning. They have finished the metal work and put two coats of epoxy primer on the car. Then they shot it with a red base coat to use as a guide coat for sanding. The body man was blocking it out by hand when Don arrived this morning.
The trunk is looking great now. All the new metal is welded in and the base for the gray paint is in. They trunk was originally done in a spatter coated gray and we will be doing that. I will install a loose mat to protect it from normal wear when I go to get groceries :-)
Feb 14th 2007 -Valentines day
Work continues on the body. In a few days Don will pull the car back to his place and pull the engine. The body shop has convinced us that it is the right thing to do. Don will put the engine on his stand and possibly install the new heads. The heads got lost in shipping and got within 20 miles of my house before they were turned around and sent back to Don's I assume they will get there this week. Once the car is back in the body shop they will finish painting it!
Here are some photos pf the rear end and. This all is like new.
Feburary 16th, 2007
Don brought the car back to his shop at home to pull the motor. The painter wanted it out when he put the final paint on it. The next time it comes back to Don's it will have the final exterior paint on it.
While Don has the motor he is installing the new heads, exhaust headers and a new high performance torque converter. The torque converter will let the car idle reasonably rather than trying to stall all the time. The car is still designed to be a driver.
Anyway here is the car now back at Don's. The front fender and front grill are at the body shop. Don has the radiator in his parts room. He is pulling the engine as I type this.
Feb 25th, 2007
Travis from B&B body and paint stopped at Don's today and told him they will start painting the car next Friday! They are going to prime the car again with the fenders and hood on. Then they will take fenders, hood, trunk, doors back off and paint it in pieces all at once. While this is happening Don will bring the car back to his place and fit the engine. Then the car goes back to the body shop and they will fit the body back on and cut and buff it.
Once that whole circle of events is complete I will fly to South Carolina to help Don finish the car. That consists of installing the interior and the trim, new wheels, tires and anything else I am forgetting.
March 1st, 2007
Here is Rick at the body shop fixing the fit between the doors and fenders. While the doors and fenders are brand new they do not match factory specs.
This shot shows the poor fit between the new door and new fender. In the shot a few back you can see Rick correcting this on the other side.
March 26th, 2007
I will be here in South Carolina working with Don on the car until the 20th of April.
The following pictures are of the car as we got it back to Don's shop on the 20th of March.
As you can see the paint is awesome. We have been installing trim on the car for a few days. It can only be described as a bugger of a job. All of the trim is aftermarket parts and NONE of it fits. I have spent three hours on a single wheel well trim piece. The trim is flimsy and has to be shaped, fit and drilled. The emblem posts were short and the speed nuts didn't reach them. This necessitated grinding down the speed nut heads to get them on.
We put the gas tank in on the 23rd or so. It was difficult and a real two man job. I wedged myself under the car on the creeper and held it in place while Don pulled the new straps in place.