When we left off with the Danchuk '56 Chevy, it had just been stripped down and was residing at Huntington Beach Bodyworks in Huntington Beach, California. The crew there had already sent the entire car out to be walnut-blasted, and had begun work on the rusted-out frame.
Once back from the blasters, like so many other cars, the '56 wasn't what Danchuk and HBB thought it was. What was thought to be a rust-free California car with no major body damage wasn't exactly the case. Regardless of how bad the car was, however, Art and Dan stayed true to the plan, and insisted on metal-finishing the car. For those of you not familiar with metal-finishing, it is exactly what it sounds like. When bodywork is carried out, filler is often used to correct the imperfections in the body. Back in the day, bodymen used lead. By heating up the soft metal and spreading it with a wooden paddle, users were able to file, grind, and work the malleable metal to create a straight body. Although some bodymen still use lead, most have now switched over to a plastic-filler, known as Bondo. When metal-finishing a car, no filler is used. Instead bodymen bang, pull, and shape the metal using hammers, dollies (metal blocks held behind the sheetmetal while hammering), body files, and sometimes heat. Although it is a painstaking task, Art and Dan wanted the car to be 100 percent metal-a true symbol of art and craftsmanship.
Rich Evans, owner of HBB, was brought in to metal-finish the '56. Because metal-finishing does take some time, the Danchuks had Evans' mentor, Willie Newman, a 35-year metalworking veteran, flown in all the way from New Zealand to aid and speed up the process. The duo worked countless hours massaging the body to as close to perfection as possible. In cases where the body was rusted, Evans and Newman cut out the rust and patched the areas. If the sheetmetal pieces weren't worth salvaging, or couldn't be found, they used NOS parts (when available) or just picked up the Danchuk catalog and ordered new sheetmetal; there really isn't a part you can't order from Danchuk. Once the body was repeatedly worked over, it was sprayed in primer and blocked to perfection. With the flawless body, Evans is then going to spray the car with PPG basecoat/clearcoat urethane in Tropical Turquoise and India Ivory. The paint for the project was supplied and mixed by Auto Color in Westminster, California. From the factory, the underside of the '56 Chevy was either the body color or red oxide; the Danchuks decided to go with Turquoise. As for the frame, it was powdercoated semi-gloss black, and put back together using a judging handbook to ensure everything was color-coded correctly.