Paint Part One

It's been a while since my last update and I apologize for that. This is a low budget build and because our 50th anniversary is coming up next year we decided to redirect some of our extra cash into a piggy bank so we can celebrate that occasion with a little gusto. Because of this my car budget has been almost non existent since the beginning of the year. I have however, been able to scrape together enough cash to purchase the paint I need for the body and bumpers. Yes, I will be painting the bumpers to simulate original aluminum units. I also spent a lot of time building a model of the car to ensure the color scheme and overall concept will present itself the way I imagined. Here is the result of that effort.

The '64 Dodge Polara hardtop model hasn't been manufactured in a few decades so finding one was a bit of a task. However I did manage to find a hardtop body and a sedan model on e-bay after some searching. Between these two I was able to "kit bash" a hardtop with the correct hood, engine and wheels. I haven't built one of these in many years so it took a while but I'm satisfied with the results. With the model finished and enough cash scraped up for the paint it was time to start on the finish sanding. I decided long ago to paint the car in two sessions. The first would be the roof and the rest of the body would be done later. The reason for this is that I HATE standing on a ladder to paint and constantly worrying about the hose contacting a freshly painted surface. By painting the roof first I eliminate that problem. Also there is a conveniently placed chrome strip that acts as a perfect separation point between the "C" pillar and the body. If I was to remove that little chrome strip I would need to rip out part of the headliner and that was NOT going to happen... so I left it in place and painted the roof. Below are a couple pictures of the roof taken during the color sanding had been started. No buffing has been done at this point.

I also took this opportunity to paint the underside of the hood scoop. There will be some custom graphics going there so this seemed like a good time to paint that section.

Speaking of color sanding... this is a long process. I wet sand by hand using 1000 grit to remove any runs, sags, or other imperfections and then move to my AirVantage sander (air powered finish sander) using 1000 grit wet. After that I move on the 1500 wet. Since this is not going to be a "show" car from this point I'll move on to the wool buffing pad and then to foam pads to finish the buffing process. If I was doing a "show" paint job I would continue the sanding process with 2000 grit and then on to 3000 grit or finer depending on the surface and type of paint. The whole idea of all of this is to flatten out the paint or remove the "orange peel" that is inherent to spray painting just about anything. This makes the surface appear like glass and allows the gloss of the paint to reflect light much better.

Here you can see the difference once the polishing has been done. The first picture was taken after the color sanding process was finish but before any buffing. The second was taken after buffing was complete.

Big difference to be sure. It's a little labor intensive but well worth the effort. Is it perfect? No. Is it better than factory? Yes, on a quantum level.

Now for another comparison. When I purchased this car it had been sitting in the original owner's driveway for a few years and a passing storm had broken a tree limb that did some damage to the passenger's front fender and the rear driver's side of the roof. Here is the "before" picture followed by the "after" picture.

And here is a final picture of the finished roof.

Finally, in the last update I said I was going to remove the mechanical fuel pump and install a new more powerful electric pump. After thinking about it for quite a while I decided not to make those changes. Instead I installed an electric choke on the Holley and that went a long way to solving the starting problems. I still use the electric pump to prime the carb before cranking but the choke helps the engine pull fuel through the idle circuits and it does make it easier to start after sitting for a while. I also did change out the cam and lifters just in case. The cam I removed looked perfect so I'm saving that for a future project. The cam I installed is a Comp Cams copy of the original "Purple Cam" that was available through Mopar's Direct Connection parts department back in the day.

That's pretty much it for this update. Next I'll be finish sanding the body and getting it ready for paint.

Check back often for more updates...

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