Wayne Cook
October 1, 2005
Photos By: Kevin Tetz

Sometimes we're envious of folks who acquire their vintage Ford cars in perfect condition. If you're not one of those lucky people then it's a good bet you'll eventually want a fresh paint job on your project car. You are also one of the lucky few if your car has faded original paint and needs only minor bodywork. If that's your situation then there's the possibility of a shortcut. You may be able to sand, prime, and repaint your daily driver and achieve a good result without having to strip the car completely. However, with most of our project cars over 35 years of age, chances are your subject vehicle has several layers of old paint on the body. These multiple layers of paint are hiding the sins of decades of use and abuse. Beside the rust and damage you can see, there are bound to be other problem areas hidden beneath the old paint on your car that you can't see. The old paint should come off.

To see what you might encounter during the preparation of your vintage Ford paint job, let's look at one '66 Mustang hardtop that has several different common body and paint problems. Some of the things needed by this car are basic repairs requiring mostly elbow grease and the few simple tools we'll show you. Some of the jobs, such as dent removal, using filler and sanding are things that can be done at home in your driveway or garage. Other aspects of our paint and body project, such as a leaky cowl repair, are more demanding. These will require more space, equipment, and experience than we're likely to have on hand at home. Painting with modern materials takes specialized knowledge, skills, and equipment. Environmental concerns about paint fumes and overspray limit what can be done outside the confines of a professional shop. Let's look at these paint and body issues as we go through the process of fixing up this Mustang coupe. A better understanding of the process, and what you might come up against is one key to a good result. A large project like a paint and body job has a much better chance of success if your expectations, money, and resources are all planned out ahead of time.

Do-It-Yourself Tips To Remember
* Stay within a system of materials. Be brand specific, these materials were designed to work together; mixing up systems is asking for disaster.

* Cleanliness is King. Keep your work environment, project vehicle, and tools as clean as possible. A clean work environment yields professional results and fewer accidents in the shop.

* Respect the chemicals that you are working with. Pay attention to safety warnings, they're there for a reason. Restoration and bodywork can be fun and rewarding, but not from a hospital bed.

* Utilize the resources at hand. Check magazine articles, Internet web sites, instructional videos, and reference books. All of these things add up to a shorter learning curve, and it's knowledge that gets the job done.

* Got a rainy afternoon and a working VCR or DVD player? Then you should check out the Paintucation instructional videos. These videos cover several subjects, including metal repair, body basics, painting your own car, and more. Maybe get your club to chip in and buy them for the club library.

* If you plan to work with a paint shop use the same materials they do. The last thing you want do is strip off the entire Brand A primer you applied because they use Brand B paint.

* Purchase a dented fender or buy an inexpensive damaged door from a salvage yard and use it for practice.

* sign up for paint and body courses at your local Vo-tech school. Not only will you learn a great deal of information, you might just be able to work on your project during class time.