There's just something totally intoxicating when you take apart a project build for the last time to tend to the final details as it moves closer to the paint booth. In the blink of an eye, Project Orange Krate, our '71 Camaro, went from full roller to fully disassembled and was laid out creating the visual of a vintage scale model kit like we used to build at the kitchen table on a Saturday afternoon. For Peter Newell and his team at Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, it's now time to wrap up any concluding revisions to the sheetmetal. As with any teardown, you'll thank yourself later if you properly bag and tag every grouping of hardware in plastic bags noting from where it was removed.
When reviewing the undercarriage components of the car, in order to maintain the semi-gloss black vibe of the Detroit Speed Inc. front subframe, the rear suspension components needed to get painted to match, as well as have the rearend powdercoated for long-term durability. A call was placed to our good friend Don Madden at D&T Powder Coating in Pembroke, Massachusetts, who readily hooked us up with a matching rock-solid finish.
It was now time to focus on ironing out the bottom half of the car, as it will be completely finish-painted to match the topside of the body. Just because a car is going to be tearing it up on all types of racetracks doesn't mean it can't look bitchin underneath as well. With numerous areas being prepared for final welding and finessing it was time for Peter to roll out one last custom sheetmetal update to complete the look. Not being a fan of front fender side marker lights, it was an easy call to prepare them for being filled and smoothed out. The one final upgrade made all the difference when you gaze at the fender from any angle to appreciate the undisturbed flowing lines, as the designers had originally intended.
Stay tuned, as we'll be back with what it takes to bring the bottom of your ride and firewall to a new level of perfection before it gets dipped in a vat of gloss.
Now that's cooking on a rotisserie!
01. The final disassembly in preparing Orange Krate for paint got underway with Peter Newell of Competition Specialties first removing all of the front end sheetmetal followed by the loaded DSE front subframe.
02. Out back, teardown was a snap in removing the Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension, rearend, and Ricks Tanks stainless steel fuel tank.
03. A major turning point for Project Orange Krate. Here you can see the car blown apart for the final time as it moves forward in preparation for all of the final finish work. Just an amazing array of performance, technology, and hard work to get to this point!
04. With the car stripped to bare bones, Pete and his team secured it to the rotisserie, making sure all body mount locations were exact.
05. As with any build, once you get to the disassembly stage you are left with piles of hardware which needs to be categorized for the final assembly stage. Bag and tag ... words to live by to keep all of your hardware ready to go when called for. It's simple: plastic bags and a black marker. You'll thank us later, I promise.
06. The disassembled rearend was brought to D&T Powder Coating in Pembroke, Massachusetts. The end tube mounting surfaces were first cleaned with acetone then covered with duct tape to protect them.
07. To prepare the housing for powdercoating, it was first positioned in the blasting cabinet. Its surface was then blasted with aluminum oxide to remove any surface contamination including rust, oils, and fingerprints.
08. Since the Detroit Speed Inc. rear housing was a brand-new unit, it cleaned up readily and looked factory fresh in minutes.
09. Once out of the cabinet, the duct tape was removed and replaced with red polyester high-temp tape, which can withstand the high temps of the baking oven.
10. With the housing secured to a rolling rack, team member Danny Johnson began the process of applying the 70 percent gloss black powder using a Nordson Versa-Spray gun.
11. Here's how the rearend looked once properly coated in powder waiting to head to the oven.
12. Fresh from the oven after only 25 minutes at 430 degrees, the rearend was complete. Note that the gloss will diminish once the unit has cooled to room temperature.
13. In order to begin the finish work on the bottom of the car, it was turned on the rotisserie to its side.
14. It was awesome to work alongside two generations when Pete's dad, Eddie, stopped by to lend a hand spot-grinding.
15. Areas requiring attention were a couple of puncture holes in the floorpan. These were hammered flat first to prepare them for welding.
16. Pete fired up his Lincoln Electric Power MIG 216 MIG welder and filled the holes. Then, using an air-driven grinder capped with a 36-grit disc, the welds were ground smooth. Safety glasses are a must during this step.
17. There are a number of areas to the bottom of the car that require seam sealant. Pete ran a line of ¾-inch masking tape alongside the transmission tunnel to prepare it for sealing.
18. The 3M seam sealer was then carefully applied, making sure to gradually proceed in the application area to avoid any excessive buildup.
19. To add a neat custom touch to the front end sheetmetal of Orange Krate, Pete decided to fill the fender side marker lights. Here you can see the inner fender marker light stamping on the new fender we got from YearOne.
20. A 36-grit disc was used on a handheld grinder to work down the inner stamping to create a smooth surface.
21. Once the inner area was ground smooth, a small filler patch was created using similar sheetmetal stock.
22. With a black marker, the new sheetmetal was marked for trimming to create the perfect filler section.
23. Here you can see the actual piece as it was being trimmed to fit using a pair of tin snips.
24. A large magnet securely held the filler piece in place while it was MIG-tacked in place. Final welding followed.
25. With the welding finished, a 36-grit disc and grinder cleaned up all the welds to perfection.
26. The filled side marker light will accentuate the fender's flowing lines, giving the car even more visual speed.