Body prep and painting any automobile is challenging even for the most seasoned body professional, and they all have their own unique approaches to getting the perfect paintjob. Bodywork and paint is expensive when you hire it out for a reason. It is labor intensive and time consuming.
Prepping and painting a steel body is one thing. Prepping and painting a classic Corvette is another story entirely. Fiberglass isn’t as forgiving as steel, requiring boatloads of patience and tenacity. Preparation is 95 percent of a paintjob. Without methodical prep and due diligence, you’re going to wind up with a 50 footer when what you want is a finish people will want to touch and admire. It has to be that good.
If you’ve never performed paint prep before, expect a lengthy learning curve because this is something you learn through experience. You develop a fingertip feel for irregularities or you will never learn at all. You can farm it all out to a trusted professional and spend the money or you can allow yourself time to learn it if you have the luxury of time. Paint preparation is an element where you can do foundation work yourself, then allow a professional to do final prep and paint. That will save you some money.
We’re at Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix, which has done everything under the sun ranging from street rods to classic muscle cars and obscure collectibles to Corvettes. Hot Rods by Dean will tell you there is a difference between preparing steel and preparing fiberglass. Steel is easier to prep than fiberglass, which can be very temperamental. Fiberglass and plastic by their very nature have a lot of irregularities requiring a lot of time to achieve a perfect surface. This is why Corvette body prep can get darned expensive.
Aside from patience and tenacity, you’re going to need the right tools and materials, which are available from Summit Racing Equipment. Summit has everything you’re going to need to prep and paint any Corvette.
Summit Racing offers three groupings of materials that will get you going from the very beginning to the finished bodywork. Let’s take a look at what’s available and see if we can get you going on your first body and paintwork project?
The Summit Racing Basic Body- & Paintwork Starter Combos
Summit Racing Paint Prep Tools Combo (SUM-CSUMSRPP001). This combo includes basic body prep tools like an Ingersoll Rand D/A sander and body filler spreaders. You also get a top-quality DeVilbiss HVLP paint gun and a Summit Racing Paint Starter Kit with paint pails, stirring sticks, paint strainers and tack cloths so you’ll be ready to spray when the body prep is finished. Summit includes an SAS safety respirator mask and coveralls to protect you from sanding dust and paint fumes. (It should be noted that Summit includes a size large mask and coveralls; but other sizes are available.)
Here’s what comes in your starter paint prep tool combo: Ingersoll Rand D/A sander, Titan filler spreaders, DeVilbiss FinishLine HVLP paint gun, paint starter kit, SAS Safety Gen-Nex large painters coveralls and safety large air respirator.
Summit Racing Paint Prep Bodywork and Sanding Combo (SUM-CSUMSRPP002). Nobody likes spending hours sanding and fixing small imperfections, but it’s gotta be done. Summit offers combos that will get you started in the right direction and also save you time and money and add to the overall final outcome. This combo includes Summit Racing sanding discs and paper in various grits, two Dura-Block sanding blocks, and U.S. Chemical Kromate body filler and glazing putty to smooth out any remaining dings and dents.
Here’s what comes in your paint bodywork combos from Summit: 6 in. 40, 80, 150 and 320-grit sanding discs, 80, 180, and 220-grit sandpaper rolls, Dura-Block short and long sanding blocks, U.S. Chemical light Kromate body filler and body finish putty.
Summit Racing Paint Prep Cleaning and Masking Combo (SUM-CSUMSRPP003). This combo includes Summit Racing Surface Wash and Grease/Wax Remover; a roll of Summit Racing masking paper; an Astro Pneumatic masking paper station and wheel covers; 3M masking tape and Gerson tack cloths.
Here’s what comes in your cleaning and masking combo from Summit: Summit Racing surface cleaner, wax and grease remover, masking paper, Astro Pneumatic masking paper station, Astro Pneumatic wheel covers, 3M 3/4-inch-wide masking tape, 3M 1 1/2-inch-wide masking tape and Gerson tack cloths.
|Here is an individual parts listing by part numbers:|
|Summit ING-311A||Dual Action Quiet Sander|
|SummitTTN-15089||Plastic Spreader Kit|
|Summit DVR-803558||Finish Line Solvent-Based Gun|
|Summit SUM-UPPSKIT||Paint Starter Kit|
|Summit SSC-6853||GEN-NAX Painters Coveralls|
|Summit SSC-8661-93||Bandit N95 Respirator|
|Summit SUM-AB514C6TP40||40 Grit Sanding Discs|
|Summit SUM-AB5514C6TP80||80 Grit Sanding Discs|
|Summit SUM-AB514C6TP150||150 Grit Sanding Discs|
|Summit SUM-AB514C6TP320||320 Grit Sanding Discs|
|Summit SUM-514C3SRP80||Sheet Roll 20 Yards 80 Grit|
|Summit SUM-514C3SRP18||Sheet Roll 25 Yards 180 Grit|
|Summit SUM-514C3SRP22||Sheet Roll 25 Yards 220 Grit|
|Summit DUK-TAI-AF4403||Sanding Block|
|Summit DUK-TAI-AF4401||Sanding Block|
|Summit SUM-UPP18||Masking Paper 18-inches|
|Summit APT-ASMS-2||Max Masking Paper Station|
|Summit APT-9004||Wheel Masks (Covers)|
|Summit TES-26334||18mm x 55mm bulk tape|
|Summit TES-26338||Scotch Performance Mask|
|Summit LMG-020003G||Tack Rags|
You might not go out and open your own body and paint shop, but with some practice you, too, can handle your own body- and paintwork to a degree where you will be very proud of your efforts. This is one of those projects that takes time and lots of patience and throw in plenty of practice but the average at-home hot rodder can handle it and the satisfaction is tremendous from a job well done. Vette
Photography by Brian Brennan