Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
February 22, 2012

Kevin Tetz
Host and producer of Spike's TRUCKS! TV and host of Paintucation DVDS

Kevin's Paintucation videos have been a staple of popular restoration parts catalogs for many years. Having owned his own shop and seeing firsthand how much poor information was out there on DIY paint and body, he decided to show people the best way to tackle the subject with his Paintucation series. The rest is history. Of course, these days, he's super busy as host of Spike's Trucks! TV show (with Ryan Shand) on the PowerBlock, but still tries to fit in a custom project or two of his own, like his '66 Mustang "Project LPGT," which you can read more about on the Paintucation website.

"Having a plan and a solid goal and vision in mind is the most important thing in any project. I always start with a rendering. This can be as expensive as you want it to be, or as inexpensive, even using a coloring book will give you a guide to compare to. Digital artists are quite reasonable now and easy to find on most user group forums. A rendering can give you the freedom of custom designing wheels, body mods, colors, even the degree of window tint you want. Seeing an idea on a rendering and confirming it before you spend hundreds or thousands on the actual car is just plain smart. The rendering also serves as inspiration. I know it has on my '66 coupe. It's a visual reminder that it'll be worth all the time and skinned knuckles once it's finished," stated Kevin.

"Once you've got a clear vision of the car you want to build, and you're to the point of ‘hands-on' work, always start with the stance. Many custom shops literally have the vehicle blocked up at the ride height they want, and then place wheels or tires into the wheel arches to determine ride height, rake, track width, axle dimensions, as well as wheel and tire offset and sizes. This allows you to have the overall ‘vibe' you're looking for engineered into the car and not be an afterthought that ends up in a compromise," Kevin explained. Changing the stance after the car's suspension has been configured and installed can affect steering geometry, ride quality, and especially handling, which is particularly important if you want to play with the Pro Touring crowd.

The rest of the build's design will usually fall into the category (and caliber) of car you're building. "If you plan on auto crossing, eliminating chassis and body flex is a must. If you're hard-core restoration, your time will be spent on date coding components and detailing to period-correctness. Either way, the rendering will be your guide and will let you visualize the ‘spirit' of the project," Kevin elaborated. Every direction has its pitfalls, but choosing a path before you start will help eliminate wasted money and time in wandering along the way.