Such are many experiences in life, painting can be a frustrating task the moment when things start to go wrong; however, when the stars align just right, it can be the most rewarding and calming experience to those that have the patience and self-restraint.
Along with the complexities of the materials and shapes involved in bodywork, to the refinisher who deals directly with his clients, each job bears a reflection of the customers own personality and captures a quick snapshot of their lives at the time of the repair. Needless to say, people rarely spend money to have perfectly finished panels re-painted, and therefore are usually involved in some sort of accident or dilemma, conflict or otherwise. Enter the bodyman.
Over the years, I have met some very interesting people with even more interesting stories. And though I would never divulge any customer’s personal information, I will share some pictures along with a few words regarding the repairs that were needed.
New F-150 fender. Right front corner damage took its tole on the headlight and bumper as well. Being that the truck was an ’89 year model, it had steel bumpers and only required a bracket adjustment to re-align the gap between the front bumper and filler panel.
Ninja 250 Color change (from factory green) and minor damage repair, as well as the addition of customer’s choice of graphic to tank.
A Wilson intake manifold and Ford Injectors. Manifold finished in black with matte clear.
While the SVO Green Tops…
…became Red Tops. I hope they still flow like green tops.
Minor damaged Civic
Though the bumper cover was repairable, the customer requested an O.E.M. replacement. I remember how adamant the customer was to having only O.E.M. panels, which is a breath of fresh air to us panel beaters. It’s one of those things that makes the job that much nicer.
Hammer/Dolly work on the original fender, paint blended over an intercoat and cleared.
And back together
The owner of this Corolla is a personal friend of ours. She had an encounter that damaged the entire side of the vehicle. Needless to say, lots of metal work was done. With impact supports blocking access to the damaged areas, the stud welder was used to restore the surface level of the panels, and there was so much damage the side of the car looked like a porcupine!
Minimal filler as usual
2 Part urethane primer
And the finished repair. Like most work, there was an urgency in the repair, and this one was done over a weekend. The friend of our lived over two hours away and we had just enough time to have her back on the road that Sunday to return home for work the next day. I can remember visiting her a couple weeks later to put the matching pin-stripe on, as she was on the fence about keeping it on the other side. Good friends, helping good friends.
This next vehicle was a complete project. A Z28 Camaro in need of a new lease.It was a East Coast car that had lived a rather rough life.
The body was in poor condition, with unpainted plastic panels and much damage to the rear quarters.
Along with the body, the 5.7L had a rod hung through the block…
Needles to say, it would need some attention..
Oh, look. A panel I didn’t have to fix
But who’s counting.
There’s no fixing that
Previous repairs that failed the test of time…
Same side, different dent
In addition to the body work, a new 346cid and 4L60e were built, along with a new rear end, fuel system, braking and suspension components. Also, C4 Corvette wheels and SS conversion panels were gathered for the rebuild. It was a lot of work in a short period, but the paint was laid down and the parts installed.
The color was kept Navy Blue Metallic and this is the result.
It emerged as a very nice looking and quick car.
Before and After of a GTO. Unfortunately these are the only pictures I can find of this repair, because the bumper cover had some serious ninja style blends that came out seamlessly which were done to avoid respraying the entire panel.
Once again, parking lot damage, this time on a Nissan Frontier.
This type of hit is very common…
… which takes its toll on the right front fender…
…and always gets into the bumper cover too.
But a well placed hammer and a steady block hand can make it appear as if it never happened.
Over the years, pictures have been misplaced, computers and phone’s have been damaged, taking their photographic histories with them to their graves (sometimes for the better), but I can still remember the details of the jobs and the stories of the individuals behind them.
At times, I can’t think of any good reason to go through the very laborious process of repairing and refinishing automotive panels. But when I think back to the moments when I’ve reunited a vehicle or a part with its owner, in its newly refinished state, and witness the look of satisfaction on their faces, I know exactly why I enjoy this type of work.