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100% restorations/17

To: "W. R. Gibbons" <>
Subject: 100% restorations/17
From: Jarl/Carol <>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 09:42:04 -0800
W. R. Gibbons wrote:

> I have read about cars that needed
> major surgery being restored "without the use of lead or filler."

> My question:  when I see these perfect 100 point cars with mirror surfaced
> body panels done by professional restorers, how is that achieved? Is the
> metal worked until it is that flat?  Is filler used?  Or do they avoid
> filler by spraying on 1/8 inch of high build primer, and flat that?

Ray, Good point! your latter surmise is correct: they are worked very
close, but then have a very thin layer (hopefully less than a 16th -
.063") of Fiberfill or equivalent which is then block sanded until
"flat". Coats of alternating colors primer are used for an indicator of
high spots. I HATE show restorations, and would not do them. By my
reckoning our cars are not museum pieces but tools - for pleasure and
utility and not for static display. To me, a show car is "off the road"
just as surely as if you had wrapped it around a tree in an accident.
I'm NOT talking about a super-nice "street" restoration here, but about
the "rub out the underside of the fenders, body putty the pits in the
frame, and then give the frame 12 hand rubbed coats" kind of job. The
first time you really DRIVE it you do enough damage to lose about half
of your restoration cost. I remember a TC at a western GOF in the 70s
that had 22,000 spent on it - roughly three times the value of the car.
There was a concours as well as a popular vote competition, and the
judges asked him to start the engine. He couldn't - the engine had been
assembled WITHOUT GASKETS in order to not crack the gorgeous paint on
it. He got a third in the concours anyway, but not a smell in the
popular ballot!

Originality is often also destroyed. We all hear about the value of the
35 Ferrari GTO coupes from the 60-62 era - 3 to 10 million. I believe
just about every one of those cars has been rebodied by now. They were
built in haste, hammered out by hand, and originally looked like a sack
of potatoes. It was MUCH too much work, and too valuable to not be
perfect, so new bodies were made on a wheeling machine without the
lumps. When your end product can sell for over a million, 125,000 for a
new body is "cheap" - compared to 2000 hours for an imperfect end
result... When you replace a body for cosmetic reasons, I think you have
a replicar. On many high value sports cars, the term is to "jack up the
ID plate and put a new car under it"

Sorry to be so long winded, but you hit a nerve.     Jarl

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