When taking on the full build of any car, it's the details that make your final product stand out from the rest. With Orange Krate, our 1971 Chevy Camaro project moving into the final build stage, it was paramount to pay attention to these details as we move ever so close to laying down the final vibe. Peter Newell and his team at Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, have brought Orange Krate from its humble beginnings through a complete metamorphosis, infusing plenty of cutting-edge performance along the way. With the body still on the rotisserie, it afforded us the perfect opportunity to make final evaluations as to which details would make the biggest differences.
Since Newell had replaced both rear quarter-panels during the build, he had options as to how to fill the seam where the upper quarter-panel met the roof skin. One would have been to use modern plastic body filler, while the other would follow the more traditional route using body solder. Since the original factory seam was done in lead, Newell chose to return the area back to its original factory state. Eastwood (eastwood.com) offers both traditional lead as well as lead-free body solder kits in various forms, from Basic to Standard, all the way up to Deluxe kits. Even if you have never tackled soldering panel seams before, all kits include a well-detailed DVD that takes you through all the steps so you can take on the job with confidence. Practice makes perfect once you get the hang of it. Our seams came out bitchin, and look just as good—if not better—than the originals.
Nothing fits like factory hardware, so if you have them, it's always better to clean them up and reuse them. A trip to the blasting cabinet and blowing them clean afterwards has them ready for a fresh coat of paint to give them a clean look. This is another area where Eastwood can help out since they offer myriad OEM-style sprays including such popular shades as Aluma Blast, Spray Gray, Brake Gray, and Detail Gray—all designed to bring your parts back to life. Some parts require additional care such as door lock mechanisms, which need to be soaked in degreaser to clean them up, whereas blasting them could adversely affect their function. For them, once cleaned, can be scuffed, blown clean, and treated to a fresh coat of color.
Rounding the final turn, it was time to make the last pass over the body to get it ready for its gloss. With this being the final attention paid to surface preparation, it's imperative to take your time and correct any issues you find—no matter how minor. The better the surface preparation the better the paintjob–one you'll be proud of for years to come. It's a case in point where time invested equals the quality of the final product.
While still able to rotate Orange Krate on the rotisserie to get to all the tight nooks and crannies, Newell assembled a grouping of 3M sanding products including both wet and dry sandpapers ranging from 40- to 600-grit for working his way across the body surface.