Modified Mustangs & Fords
Project Generation Gap 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback Front End Body Prep - Painted Pony, Part 1
Project Generation Gap Readies for Final Body Prep and Paint
Project Generation Gap Paint And Body Prep Being in the classic car hobby means you're constantly learning. Whether you bought your project in milk crates or as a completely built and running car ready for cruising, you'll eventually have to get your hands dirty. For many of us, there are segments of car repair we're strong in, and others that we need a helping hand with. If we had to guess, we'd say the majority of our readers are pretty handy with the basic tool chest full of sockets. They can tackle a brake system rebuild/upgrade, handle a five-speed swap, or even reupholster their classic Ford's seats and make the interior look like new with a few well-chosen parts and a can of spray paint. It's the bigger or more technical projects that sometimes get us sweating and looking for help-things like engine rebuilds or just about any type of wiring, replacing headliners, and other such "fun" projects. Usually, there's some trepidation, but help can often be found in a neighbor, club member, magazine, or car forum to get you through the rough patches. But there's one area in particular that most people dread, and that's paint and bodywork.
There are a multitude of reasons why paint and bodywork are loathed by most enthusiasts. Most likely at the top of that list are the tools and space required, experience, and a little thing called patience. Sure, a drum-to-disc brake conversion can be manhandled in a weekend or less, but it takes weeks to get a body straight enough to spray color on it. Just take those top few reasons we mentioned as a starting point. A quality paint gun can be upwards of a thousand dollars. Yeah, I've seen the $89 paint guns at the flea market, but I don't want to paint my car with one of those any more than you do. Of course, the paint gun is just the (near) final step. There are all sorts of sanding tools, sandpaper, masking paper, tape, and so forth that go into a quality paintjob. These consumables add up fast.
Besides the tools, we also mentioned space to do the proper paintjob in. Sure, you might have had an uncle who painted his truck under the old elm tree out back, but the majority of us living in suburbia don't have a "back 40" to do the work in. I've seen a two-car garage destroyed by a neighbor trying to paint his own car (red paint dust on everything). You need a dedicated area where you can sand and prepare the body surface and a super-clean area to lay the paint, not to mention stands to hold loose items like the hood, trunk, and small body parts.
Lastly there's the experience required. It doesn't take much trial and error to do a carb and intake swap, and frankly, if you mess it up, you're out a $20 set of intake gaskets and another hour or two in labor. Getting your paintjob right is a lot harder. Today's paint technology changes constantly and you have to be up on the products and how they work. You don't want to waste a gallon of paint, which can cost you hundreds of dollars, by applying it improperly. Not to mention, what the paintjob will look like in a few months as it flakes off or cracks.