Paint Part Deux

My apologies for taking so long to update this build. Much has been going on this summer and I've been busy... in and out of the garage. Anyway.. the Polara was painted in my car port on a pretty hot (95*) day. Although here in Texas that's a cool summer day. I used the same Eastwood acrylic urethane "Bright White" single stage paint that I used on the roof. It laid down fairly well considering the temperature and humidity. Here are a couple before color sanding pictures.

I let the car sit for three days and then started the color sanding process. It was a tedious job considering the paint had more orange peel than the roof did due to the higher painting temperature, but it smoothed out nicely. From this point I started reinstalling all the chrome and stainless trim. Here is the front windshield trim and the side glass and roof trim.

Some of the rear windshield trim had to be replaced due to the tree damage but I managed to pick up what I needed on E-bay a few years ago so I had the pieces ready to go.

The Polara had two trim pieces on the trunk as well. I had also picked up replacements for these on E-bay since the originals were beyond repair.

When it comes to the headlight trim, well that's another story. The "Eye Brows" or "C" trim if you want to call it that are usually pretty well damaged. They're made out of aluminum and dent/deform easily. Mine were no exception.

Replacements for these can be had but be prepared to hand over a couple hundred bucks each if you want to buy them. I decided to try my hand at fixing the ones I had. It wasn't easy and it took quite a lot of time but here are the results. They're not "show" quality but they are better than "driver" quality.... and I saved myself $400.

My grill was fine and just needed cleaning. I decided not to polish it for reasons I'll get to later.

I also reinstalled the tail lights. If you remember from an early update I had eliminated the backup lights and converted them to tail lights so I now have three lights on each side.

One other part I reinstalled was the air dam above the radiator. Many people will either forget this piece or just leave it out but it does help to direct air through the radiator rather than letting it go over the radiator support and this helps cooling. While I was under the hood I replaced one of the AC lines because I forget to add a valve in it and I swapped out the 750 Holley for a "tweaked" Holley 600. That might seem a little small but this engine will never see more than 5 grand so 600 CFM is more than enough. Eventually I want to go to EFI but that will have to wait till I can find a system I can afford.

Now the bumpers. My front bumper was in "OK" condition but needed to be re-chromed. The rear bumper had damage due to a trailer hitch and someone who backed the car into the trailer tung a little too hard. Having both bumpers repaired and re-chromed was going to be WAY over my budget buy at least $2000. So painting them seemed to be the thing to do. Besides, if I had fiberglass bumpers I'd have to paint them so no harm no foul.

There are many ways to paint chrome and all most all of them aren't right. To successfully paint chrome you have to be willing to give up the chrome. By this I mean you have to be willing to ruin the chrome in order for the paint and/or filler to stick. Just using a scotch-bright pad isn't good enough. I started with 24 grit on a grinder and from there went to 80 grit. Here's a picture of the front bumper after the 80 grit passes.

You can see that the chrome is pretty much toast. It's the only way to give the filler and primer something to grab onto. From here all dents were hammered out and then a coat of etching primer was added for protection. Here's the front bumper after the etching primer.

Next filler was added where necessary and once the body work was done a coat of filler/primer was sprayed. Here's the rear bumper after the filler primer.

I painted the bumpers with Summit's single stage Bright Silver Metallic. It was a little darker than I would have wanted but it worked out well.

Here are the bumpers installed.

The task that has taken perhaps more time than I had anticipated was installing the side trim. Being 56 years old the trim was in pretty good shape however the hangers were pretty much shot. You can get replacements but for the wide center trim hangers are plastic and new ones go for almost $200 a set. WAY more than I'm willing to pay. So I did some experimenting and found an inexpensive solution. I'm using Door Trim Panel Fasteners for the wide trim and Square Head Moulding Clips for the narrow trim. Now neither of these is a simple installation and they require a little modification but they work very well and total cost was under $50.

For the narrow trim depending on the brand you use the square moulding clips may need to be narrowed just a bit to fit in the trim channels. Mine needed to be narrowed. This was done in a vice and then they were slid into the back of the moulding. Mine were a tight fit and I made a tool so I could carefully tap them into place with a rubber mallet. Once that was done the moulding just snaps in place. Here are a couple pics of these square moulding clips and how they fit on the moulding and on the car.

The large side moulding required sheet metal plates and the door panel hangers also needed a slight bit of modification to fit well. This was pretty simple and all that was required was to use a vice to tighten the back of the wire hanger to give more clearance. Here are a few pics of how these were used. The first shows a test piece and you can see how the back of the wire clip has been flattened to provide clearance. The second shows how the sheet metal plates were installed on the trim. The last pic shows a single metal plate with two clips in place. This is for the very front of the rear quarter trim and keeps it from lifting if any wind gets behind it.

By doing the trim in this manor I didn't have to tear the door panels and rear side panels of the interior off to install the exterior trim. And... it was a lot cheaper. Here's the finished trim installed. It's not quite done yet because the center of the wide trim will be red to match the interior when finished. I just haven't decided whether to paint it or use a vinyl stripping material.

This pretty much gets things up to date. Next I need to find some white seat belts and appropriate floor mats for the interior. Mechanically I'll be modifying the clutch "Z" bar to accommodate the difference in travel due to the type of pressure plate I'm using. We are getting close to the finish line with this build and it should be on the road later this fall.

Check back often for more updates...

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