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Chevy Nova Trunk Restoration - Rust Never Sleeps

A Little Repair, Some Sanding, And A Squirt Of Paint Are All It Takes To Make A Trunk Look New

Jason Walker Jul 1, 2001

One of the most dreaded problems for anyone restoring a classic car, no matter what year or make, is rust. And one of the most common places the metal cancer strikes is in your car's trunk. If you're lucky, the rust demons haven't gained full possession of your car's trunk floor. We were lucky when we decided to tackle the job of cleaning up and restoring this little deuce's hind qarters.

After close inspection of the nova's trunk, no cancerous holes were discovered, which helped make this a quick and relatively easy job. Had there been some cancer, the whole resto project would have been a much more time-consuming affair.

It's always a good idea to scrape or sand any flaky paint or loose rust to help find holes that may not be visible. Your inspection should start with your applying pressure to all rusted areas using a screwdriver or other blunt object. If the screwdriver can be pushed through with minimal effort, then you've got a rusted area that needs to be repaired. Do not lose hope, however, as we will be exploring the correct ways of dealing with this type of rust in a future issue.


Scraping off loose paint and rust is going to be not only the first step in this project but also very important one in finding weak or cancerous metal.

To help with our restoration we received a trunk floor restoration kit from one of the most Trusted names in automotive chemicals, Por 15. This kit comes packed with everything you'll need to prep, neutralize, and cover all types of rusty sheetmetal. Por 15 even includes a material called fabric steel, which upon closer inspection, looks very much like fiberglass sheeting. Nonetheless, if your trunk has a small amount of rust, you could patch the holes with the fabric steel supplied in the Por 15 kit. The material works similarly to fiberglass, in that there is a resin agent to harden the layers of cloth. While patching small holes with the cloth will do the job, the best way to tackle the more gaping holes is with a replacement panel and a trusty welder.

After we were finished with all of the scraping and sanding, we had to decide what type of Finish-and color-to coat our beautiful, rustfree trunk floor with. Our choice was Plasti-kote's gray speckled trunk spatter paint, because it closely resembles the factory finish and makes the not-so-perfect areas of the trunk look clean and uniform. Even if you decide to completely cover your trunk with upholstery, it's a good idea to coat the floor and sides with some kind of trunk paint to insure a strong, rust-resistant barrier. In our example, we decided to stick with the spatter-paint look and a reproduction rubber mat from Chevy 2 only. Sometimes having a stock appearance is the only way to go.


Lucky for us, the worst spot of rust was only on the surface. Using a buffing wheel from Standard Abrasives, we were able to easily clean the area, as well as sufficiently prep the sheetmetal for the rustpreventive paint. Most rust-preventive paints require a small amount of rust to be left on the surface to cause the chemical reaction needed for it to bond.

A wire wheel will take care of any hard-toreach places that should not be overlooked.

Here is the kit straight out of the box.Por15 even furnishes paint brushes,Which might save a last-minute run to The hardware store.


Since we only have small areas of rust, we decided to brush the rust-preventive paint onInstead of spraying. This method is quicker and easier than masking the entire car just to Spray the trunk. The paint is very thick and will cover the trunk's sheetmetal nicely with Only one or two coats.

Even though we covered almost the entire trunk floor, it seemed better to be safe thanSorry at this point. It took less time to brush on the paint than it took to prep the entireArea. Notice that all areas, including scratches and chips in the original coating, wereCovered with a liberal amount of the rust-preventive paint.

Any pieces that can be unbolted should receive the same treatment as the trunk floor.However, the inspection plates shown in the photos needed only to be wire-wheeled and Painted.

To achieve an even pattern of paint, you will need to hold the spray can-or gun-at least A foot away from what you are spraying. This causes an overspray cloud that will float Around and attach itself to anything in close proximity. Make sure to mask the area Completely to prevent this from happening to areas that you don't want painted.

Once everything is masked, it's time to spray. Don't forget to pull all the rubber plugs Out of the floor before applying the first coat, as well as covering up any wiring you Don't want painted.

With our project being a convertible, we needed to mask the underside of the top Boot, where the package tray normally resides in a hardtop version.


Earlier we mentioned holding the spray Can far enough away to lay down a nice,Even pattern of paint. This is sometimes Called fogging. It is a necessary practice When spraying any paint with a metallic Or patterned type of finish.

After the paint has fully hardened, it's Time for final assembly. Por 15 includes Two bars of epoxy putty to replace the Factory goop that sealed the trunk's Inspection plates. The putty has two parts That can easily be kneaded together to Produce a factory-like seal.

After the epoxy putty becomes pliable,Twist two quarter-inch round strips to lay Between the trunk and the inspection

You will notice the epoxy compressing to Form a water-tight seal when the Inspection plate is finally bolted down Tight.

Here is another look at the trunk before And after. These results were not only easyBut only took one day to complete.

This job would not be complete without Returning the original jack and tools to their Intended resting place. Stay tuned as we will Be restoring the tools in an upcoming issue, As well as installing a new trunk seal.


Chevy 2 Only
Mt. Washington, KY 40071
Medina, OH 44256
POR 15 Inc.
Morristown, NJ
Standard Abrasives Inc.
Simi Valley, CA 93063



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