1971 Chevy Corvette Stingray Project Car - First Impressions

This Month, We Make Our C3 Project Car A Little More Presentable

Dave Young Oct 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0910_09_z 1971_chevy_corvette_stingray_project_car Buffing_pad 2/31

After towel drying the car, the paint will look dull and scratched from the sanding. Make sure the car is in the shade or the shop, and use a buffing pad and compound to remove the scratches left by the 2,000-grit paper.

Speaking of paint, our project car will be treated to a stunning paintjob in future issues, as it goes through the transformation from a used driver to a high-performance showpiece. But for now, our goal is to make the car look as good as possible without a complete refurbishment. Although we're not experts in the area of paint restoration, we figure that with a few pointers from our friends at JD's Paint and Body Shop, we'll give it a try. First, we'll wet-sand the oxidation and overspray from our older black paintjob, then buff the paint in an attempt to restore some luster. The wheels will be sanded and repainted, and we'll look for a couple of decent Rally center caps to match the two that came with the car. Inside, we'll have our hands full making the best of what we have to work with. Though just a temporary fix until we completely refurbish the cockpit, we'll dye the seats black to match the rest of the interior, and give the rest of the cockpit a thorough cleaning. We'll also repaint or redye some of the easily removed panels, and get the radio working while we're at it.

Vemp_0910_10_z 1971_chevy_corvette_stingray_project_car Compound 3/31

We used Meguiar's Ultimate Compound to remove the 2,000-grit scratches, then buffed the car again with less-abrasive Meguiar's Deep Crystal polish. The technique is to use progressively less-harsh abrasives to make the scratches less noticeable.

We're aware that many of the cosmetic improvements we'll make are merely superficial, and we do plan to completely restore and modify the body and interior in future issues. That being the case, you may be asking, "Why do all this work now?" Truthfully, now that the car is running pretty well, our Stingray is so much fun to drive that we're compelled to take it out every chance we get. Always wanting to put our best foot forward, and knowing that people often judge you by the car you drive, we want the Vette to look as good as it possibly can. And since we'll be performing several modifications and testing the car before we get around to painting it, making it look its best will also help out from a photographic standpoint.

So follow along as we give our Stingray a quick makeover. We think you'll be surprised at the results, and you may learn a technique or two that will help make your own Vette look a little better. When you're done, be sure to log onto www.vetteweb.com to see videos of our baseline braking and acceleration tests.




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