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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Neither the hood or trunk fit correctly. The tops of the quarters actually had to be raised a bit to match the curve of the trunk. Many panel edges were simply cut off and re-welded on to make the gaps as perfect as possible. The body/frame bushings were checked and tightened properly.
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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
I had dynamatted the floor pan when the initial work was done but the body shop dynamatted the inner and outer skin of the doors. All the mechanics inside were padded or covered so nothing rattles. The doors sound and feel like a Lexus when they shut now.
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You did such a wonderful job.. I applaud you, thats over the top on being tastefully done.. I'm more of an oem guy myself with my 66 Gto post and used to be a hard-core NCRS mid year Vette guy so I know how your friend is, (beyond hope) Regardless, It's your car to enjoy and I'm sure you will. Congrats!!..

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
I'll not bore you with a lot more pictures. You know the drill. Primer, check for highs/lows and paint.
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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
One last picture of body work to demonstrate I did not tuck the bumpers. The reason was cost. About $4000..............per bumper. I know what you're thinking but really, it was just too much. Plus, good chromers.....and I mean GOOD ones.... have a 6 month backlog so I was probably looking at buying a second set of aftermarket bumpers to put on the car for the summer (remember, this was pre-virus) and then bringing it back in to have them installed in the fall. And what if I damaged one? Nope. Wasn't doing it.

I feel there was no rhyme or reason to how Pontiac decided to paint the GTO insignias so I painted them to match the maroon elsewhere in the car. Then the day I was supposed to pick the car up my engine builder saw a picture and noticed the car was black, the wheels were black and the brake calipers were black. "bad news dude. Too much black," he says. SOB! He was right. So I had the calipers removed, sent to a local powder coater who mixed a powder to match the maroon. He had another guy make the custom Wilwood logos that are baked on in the process. The calipers were back on the car in less than 2 weeks. I never regretted the decision.

Trivia: The front wheel rim passes about one thickness of a business card away from the caliper. It never touches.

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Thank you, Old man Taylor. Glad you enjoy the pictures.

Last subject: Trim.
If you are into making your ride really stand out you want to pay attention because this is something on which I am an expert. I'll demonstrate why but first the story.

There are about 30 pieces of stainless on this trim level. Like most cars it was scratched, dented and pitted. From a distance it looked ok but up close frankly it looked awful. I did what I could with cleaners but the improvement was marginal.

In January we sent it all out to a chromer in PA who polishes as well. $9300 to polish 28 pcs of stainless to the leveI wanted. I left the worst there and had about half returned, reasoning I would do my best on those myself. Then the virus hit. I didn't think about it because the body shop remained open. They were considered essential services by the state. It wasn't really a body shop. No one takes their daily driver to this place. Nevertheless they fell into the loophole and didn't have to close.

As the time grew near to needing the trim I couldn't get them on the phone. They had closed. I was panicked. I tracked down the owner through public records. He didn't answer his phone so I called his neighbor. "Oh sure, I know him. I'll have him call you". And a day later, he did. I convinced him to open his shop and ship back all the trim. Call me Dick Tracy but a week later I had all the trim in my garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
I should clarify that $9300 did NOT include the bumpers! They were fine anyway. Probably aftermarket during the restoration 10 years earlier. The guys at the shop gave me some pointers on polishing stainless. Using some elbow grease, their buffing wheel and polishing sticks I tried their techniques but nothing I did worked as well as I wanted. However I did succeed in flinging chrome across the room a few times when it caught the wheel.

Over the next couple of weeks I experimented and perfected a process. Here's how you do it but first here are a couple pictures that demonstrate this process works:

This was my first piece using my perfected process. After on the left. before on the right. I got pretty good at taking out dents as well. There is a dent in this one I almost completely eliminated after the picture. This piece took about 4 hours.
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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
This is a more dramatic picture because the piece is much larger. Before and after. This one piece took about 15 hours.

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
This is the most dramatic picture. Prior to starting, aside from all the scratches there was a massive ding right in the center of (the picture). I hit it perfectly on the reverse side with a punch. One LIGHT tap. That's all it took. my son held the piece by the opposite end, perfectly flat on an anvil. In person you almost cannot tell it apart from a mirror.

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Windshield trim. This took about 2-3 hours. Door rocker molding above about 5+ hours. They were really pitted.



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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Wheel opening molding is incredibly hard to polish because it has compound curves. You have to press fairly hard in the last polishing process and there is no way to hold it or keep from bending it. Catch it with the wheel and you're screwed. Solution: I cut pieces of pvc blocks that fit the curves. Each one was a different height and bevel on the top. I screwed them to a piece of plywood then "snapped the molding on to it. It held solid and made polishing far easier. 3-4 hours per piece, I think. Much of this I started at 8pm and finished at 2 or 3 am.



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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
THE PROCESS:
You start at 400 grit wet sandpaper, BY HAND. You sand the whole piece until it is all uniform scratched that more sanding WILL NOT CHANGE. That tells you all the scratched are now at a specific size. DO NOT CHEAT. I'll show you later what happens when you cheat.

START WITH 400. REPEAT WITH 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 AND 3000. Don't be fooled by the disks below. I got them from the shop but I used them BY HAND. Keep the paper wet. Use water or glass cleaner. CHANGE THE PAPER OFTEN. Stainless dulls a piece in a few minutes. I spent a few hundred dollars on sand paper. So what!



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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
At each grit you sand until further sanding doesn't change the surface finish. If you end up getting a piece of dirt in your paper and creating a scratch larger or deeper than that grit you are using, YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO A GRIT SIZE THAT WILL ELIMINATE THE SCRATCH, THEN MOVE ONE FINER GRIT LEVEL AT A TIME BACK TO WHERE YOU WERE. SO BE CAREFUL. CLEAN THE PIECE WELL BEFORE YOU START SO YOU DO NOT CONTAMINATE THE SANDING SURFACE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
If you take your time at 2000 grit the piece will start to show a dull shine. It will shine even more at 3000 grit. After 3000 you will use McGuire's Ultimate Polish and a buffer. IT TAKES ABOUT 10 APPLICATIONS PER SECTION. YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT ABOUT 10, give or take a few.

I tried a body shop buffer but found my hand orbital sander with a wool pad worked best. I also used my 3/8 drill with a similar pad. The drill worked best on thin pieces like the wheel opening molding. Keep the pads clean. Buy a few and rotate them, cleaning them in the sink in between. Everything turns black fast. Use microfibers to clean the black residue frequently. Then watch the magic.

The piece below is the windshield molding half done and a close up half done, and then finished. Note as well the curved surface I made to support it. You MUST support this piece 100% of its length or it will bend. The towel keeps it from slipping and absorbs excess water and polish.

By the time you are done with above the piece will reflect like a mirror.


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