Goodmark Chevelle Project Car - Part 12

A Quick Look at Flame Tech

Jason Walker Jun 26, 2002 0 Comment(s)

Back when ideas for the Project Chevelle were swarming around the offices of Goodmark Industries, someone had the bright idea of adding to the body one of the most recognizable hot rod statements ever. After all, painted flames in some form or another have been around just about as long as our hot rodding hobby. With the Chevelle's body receiving a beautiful black finish, just about any color combination of flames would work, but after some heavy discussion on the matter, the decision was unanimous that there is just something about the traditional yellow, orange, and red licks that bring out the bad-a%# attitude in any car.

Goodmark's own Barbara Hillick spent many weekends at local car shows talking with car owners and admiring many different types of flamed cars until she connected the name of Mike Lewis of Gary's Auto Body in Decatur, Georgia, with her favorites. Like Barbara, the decision to add flames, scallops, or graphics to your car should be one that involves finding a painter that matches your taste, as there are more than a few styles to choose from.

In many cases, flames and other types of graphics are used to hide blemishes or slight imperfections, and do a good job at it. Obviously, with the body of the Project Chevelle almost entirely new and blocked to perfection, the idea was to add the traditional-type flames to only the front half of the car to achieve the desired attitude, without covering the flawless bodywork.

So without further babble, let's take a look at what 22 years of custom paint experience did for the Goodmark Chevelle, and very easily could do for your pride and joy.

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Flames can be laid out to cover the entire body, engulf just the front end, or just about any other way your creativity can come up with. Whichever way, when they're done right, they're right.

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Before the Chevelle was taken to Gary's Auto Body for the flame job, Craig and Aaron delicately color-sanded the entire front end and trunk lid to save Mike some prep time.

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The paint used for the flames should be from the same manufacturer so that nothing nasty will happen when it is sprayed over the fresh black body. Here we see the PPG products used for the flames.

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With the surface of the body properly prepped for paint, the first step for Mike was to mask and back-tape all openings, such as doorjambs. Once the jambs were protected from over-spray, Mike went to work laying out, by hand, a few different types of flames for Barbara to choose from.

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Once the style of flame was decided on, Mike laid out one side of the car, then following his drawn lines, Mike used 1/4-inch masking tape to get a better idea of how the flames flowed. Shaping the flames with 1/4-inch tape is something that takes some patience and experience. This tape will be the actual edge of the flames, so every inch of tape must be perfectly adhered to the body.

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Here is the trick to making the flames identical on both sides of the car: Using a pencil, Mike traced the 1/4-inch tape-line felt under the paper.

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Tracing the pencil lines with a perforation tool left tiny holes in the paper, resulting in a perfect stencil.

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The stencil was then carefully taped to the opposite side of the car and blotted with special chalk and a clean rag.

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Here is the result of the chalk's passing through the perforated holes, leaving a perfect mirror image to the already laid-out side.

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After the chalked side was outlined with the 1/4-inch tape, Mike followed with 3/4-inch masking tape to help the edge of the 1/4-inch tape stay down, and it also helped fill in the negative areas in between the licks.

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Mike used large sheets of masking material to cover the remaining areas. Very, very carefully, he used an Exacto knife to cut out the areas to be painted.

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In the places where the body separates, the masking paper and tape were cut and folded in to make a clean line inside the jamb. If the jambs are not properly masked, the paint will flow under the tape barrier and end up feathering out into the jamb.

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After Mike was sure every inch of the tape edges were tight to the body, the first coat of color was applied. The base of the entire flame area was sprayed with silver after a thin coat of blue was sprayed just on the flame's outer edge. Once the paint was properly flashed (dry to the touch), Mike followed the flame outline with another line of 1/4-inch tape, butting it up to the original edge. This left a clean 1/4-inch outline of blue to contrast the black and the colors in the flames, just like pinstriping.

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All other body pieces were sprayed at the same time to achieve a perfect match with the body.

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Changing to a touch-up spray gun made work easier when it came to fogging the other colors onto the flame tips and edges.

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Here is a good look at how the blue makes a perfect contrasting edge. After the masking tape was carefully pulled off, Mike delicately wet-sanded the new clear coat smooth.

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Before Mike sprayed the new clear coat, the masking tape was removed from the flames only, then the clear was sprayed over the entire front end, locking the flames and black paint together and resulting in no sharp edges along the outside of the flames.

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During the paint process, Mike used many stencils and paint to create the Goodmark logos on the front fenders and trunk. This is impressive work to say the least!

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