First on the agenda was to see how bad the body really was under thehideous green paint. A
Rust like this must be completely removed and new metal installed. Youcan use plastic fill
With the body work done and the car primed, it was time to block-sandthe body. Remember, t
Another way to ensure a quality finish is to use supplies from reputablecompanies. PPG is
When MCR paints a car, it is done in sections. This gives the painterbetter control of fla
Here it is, fresh from the paint booth. The crew at MCR exceeded ourexpectations. Heck, ju
It's been a long time coming, but after slightly over two years ofmechanical upgrades, our project Valiant is nearing the final stages of completion. We began by replacing the floors in our July 2002 issue, and, apparently, we must have done it correctly because the seats never fell out. After that, we tackled the install of the interior; then we installed a salvage-yard-plucked LA 360 and installed it with a four-speed trans we bought from a friend. Finally, we were able to drive the car and also do several modifications to it on the weekends. It was fun driving a car that was slathered with patina. We could drive it anywhere, park in the front row at the mall, and even thrash on it without worry of outward damage.
After driving the car for a little over a year like that, it was deemed a new coat of paint was in order. Since we were going to cover it with shiny stuff, we realized our limitations and found a reputable shop to handle that part for us. Now we don't consider ourselves dummies, so we decided we could disassemble the car before it went to the body shop. Things like the interior, the driveline, all the plumbing and wiring, and even the glass were removed so the shop's labor would simply be paint and bodywork. Don't get us wrong, the Valiant needed more than a simple sand-and-shoot $400 paint job. But if the shop did not have to do most of the disassembly work, that was a charge we could avoid. The car was given to Muscle Car Restorations and prepped for media blasting. Media blasting is a process where compressed air forces media (usually unrefined baking soda) through a hand-held gun, and is blown against the car to remove any paint and filler. The nice thing about using baking soda instead of sand is that sand is hard and abrasive enough that it can warp the panels.
When the car returned from blasting, the process of determining what work needed to be done could be completed. There were a lot of mall markers (door dings), and, surprisingly, the Valiant body had some rust even though it is only 36 years old. But it was determined when completed, the Valiant would be a nice driver. One thing we learned is choosing the right shop to do the work is a must. the crew at MCR went above and beyond, and delivered what looked like a show car. It just reaffirms John Balow's philosophy--that quality is never forgotten.
Since the paint and body turned out so beyond our expectations, there was now no way we could place the old, bent, twisted, pitted, and rusted pieces of trim and miscellaneous items back on the car.
To handle the trim items, two places were highly recommended: For the stainless trim polishing, Iverson Automotive in Minnetonka, Minnesota, is regarded as the premier trim restoration specialist, and Paul's Plating in Evans City, Pennsylvania, was given the nod for plating the emblems and miscellaneous parts. we were not disappointed with our choices.
Choosing a shop can be a daunting task. We chose Muscle Car Restorations and are glad we did. The body was media blasted and then repaired. Using quality materials, like those from PPG, Eastwood, and 3M, is a necessity when you are doing this type of work. Why buy your painting supplies from a swap meet, only to find the quality is questionable and maybe even downright poor? Wiring, weather-stripping, body plugs and many other unseen pieces were required and obtained from Year One.
Muscle Car Restorations
Chippewa Falls, WI
Replacement bumpers were definitely a requirement. The originals had been used for their intended purpose, and the tweaks, dents, and twists were the evidence. Our Valiant was not going to be a concours-style restoration (let's face it, it's a Valiant), so having a perfectly chromed front and rear bumper was not a necessity. We did, however, want bumpers. we decided to use a pair of fiberglass pieces from AAR Quality Fiberglass. AAR has been making fiberglass components for Mopars since 1997, and their quality is unquestionable. The only problem we encountered was getting bumpers for a Valiant. Turns out, Dart bumpers will work, so we were in business. The bumpers were covered with faux aluminum paint and look great on the car.
AAR Quality Fiberglass
AAR Quality Fiberglass bumpers were chosen for the Valiant. The AAR pieces have generally
Getting a quality bumper that needs minimal prepping for paint means a lot when it comes t
Tops in Trimming
What about the emblems and other chrome pieces? We couldn't leave them as they were because 36 years of use had left the trim in less than stellar condition. Some of the trim was pitted and/or cracked, and the finish was rough. We were referred to Paul's Chrome Plating and were not disappointed with the results. The small details in some of the emblems were a concern when plating. Sometimes plating can be ill applied, and then you lose some of the small details.
Evans City, PA
The taillight bezels have quite possibly never been removed from the car until now. The fi
This quarter emblem shows two different finishes. After the entire emblem is chromed, Paul
The trim around the front and rear windows (we converted to a '68 style) was scavenged from parts yards, and the grill was the original. Since the car was reaching this level of detail, it was necessary to have these polished. After inquiring with several people, we found that Iverson Automotive is one of the best in the field. All of the window trim pieces and grill were given to Iverson's, and all the little dents that could be repaired were addressed. quite honestly, when the polishing was completed, the trim and grill were better looking than when they were new. George begins by first assessing each piece and making sure it can be repaired. Next comes the task of removing any dents. This is a time consuming process, and takes care and patience with a small hammer to completely remove the dent. Next comes the actual polishing. This step is not only time consuming, it's down right messy. Iverson's has developed a ten-step program of repair and polish that results in show winning finishes.
Our Valiant grill before polishing...
...and after polishing. Iverson's Automotive is a hands-on trim restoration specialist tha
We are so close, yet so far from finishing. The car is now home andawaiting final assembly. We can't wait until we are finally able to get in and drive it again. And we are sure we won't get thrown out of any cruise nights, at least not because our car isn't nice enough.