In a profession packed with perks, one of our favorites is kickin’ it at various shops and oogling over the fruits of other people’s money and labor. Whether we’re playing stowaway at a chassis shop, a machine shop, or a restoration shop, instead of throwing us overboard for loitering, we’re often welcomed with open arms just because we’re members of the media. They even tolerate our incessant questioning because they know we’ll pass that knowledge onto our loyal readers. This month’s assignment was simple: Spend a day at a high-end muscle car restoration shop and report back with a list of tips and tricks on how to achieve show-quality paint and bodywork.
The shop in question is Dooley & Sons Rods & Customs (www.dooleyandsons.com) in Magnolia, Texas. Since 1961, the shop has been cranking out superclean and functional muscle cars and street rods, and in recent years, it has fully embraced the Pro Touring creed with a complete line of custom chassis and suspension components. From metalwork to custom interiors to paint to final assembly, Dooley’s does it all in house at its 20,000-square-foot facility.
Once inside the complex, we were welcomed by a full lineup of Tri-Fives, Corvettes, Impalas, and Camaros, all in different stages of restoration. This provided an excellent opportunity to compile some general paint and body tips that will either save you big bucks or big headaches. For instance, did you know that you can destroy a quarter-panel just by attaching trim pieces incorrectly? Likewise, if you don’t jig a car up right, you’ll never get the body panels straight. Additionally, Jeff Cameron and the crew and Dooley’s provided insight on how to quiet down the cabin of your street machine as much as possible, and how to reuse what may seem to be junk body panels to save a few bucks. To find out more, you’ll have to keep reading.