1971 Camaro Bodywork - Back To The Street, Part 7

We Prepare The Body Of Our '71 Camaro Project For Paint With Some Grinding, Blocking, Sanding, And Priming On The National Parts Depot Sheetmetal.

Mike Ficacci Aug 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0908_03_z 1971_camaro_bodywork Hardware 1/23

Most of the metal and other body parts on the former drag Camaro were subpar, including the 'glass L88-style hood, doors, fenders, nose, and valance. National Parts Depot supplied all the sheetmetal we needed, as well as bumpers, and hardware. All body pieces will need some massaging out of the box, but the NPD pieces were correct in the places they needed to be and that was the edges, which will ultimately determine the gap lines between fender and nose, fender and door, and fender and hood. We were impressed.

The downslope of the mountain is becoming clearer as we have ripped off every piece of '71 metal off the Back To The Street Camaro and have begun to slowly replace the old with the new. Last we left off, we repaired the floors and had the Camaro completely stripped naked. The front and rear suspension hit the paint booth and were over at Mike Cramer's Automotive Service class getting the final assembly before installation.

At this point, we are ready to dive into bodywork and molding this 'Maro into a streamlined butterfly. National Parts Depot stepped up in a big way and dug us out of a huge hole we buried ourselves in with deadlines approaching. It supplied everything we needed to complete the exterior sheetmetal work from the fenders, nose, valance, hardware, and everything in between. We added a steel stock-style hood while we were at it, and transformed the plain grille/one-piece bumper to an RS-style grille. Having the help of 15 students eager to learn was a huge advantage as we were never short of hands when it came to grinding and smoothing.

Countless man-hours have been spent on our Camaro and we could not have asked for more out of teacher Bob Gonier, the entire Votech staff, and the students. At the end of the day, we had both fenders ready for Dupont primer, a shell primed, blocked and ready for the first coat, a hood being massaged on, and all eyes ready to check out that beautiful deep blue paint we had sitting in jugs, armed for the first coat.

Our beastly ZZ454 stirred up some excellent controversy in the power department and proved our little Camaro was making waves on the pages. In a few weeks, the Back To The Street Camaro will be on all fours and powered by the ever-rugged foot power until the delivery of our dyno-proven ZZ454 GM Performance Parts crate engine. We are making a point to get the motor over to the Sypek Center before the kids head out for the summer simply because I had no less than five students ask me, "where is the motor and when can we see it?" They have put some serious man-hours in this car and I am making a point to get the motor over there before the final bell rings on June 16th. Follow along as the puzzle pieces have been laid out and we start the resurrection process.

The shell of the Back To The Street Camaro is where we performed most of our work. First and foremost, we taped up the doors, and front and rear glass. Paul Heston of 3M works closely with the Mercer County Vocational School to ensure that the students have the proper supplies while learning the trade and is constantly bringing in painters tape.

On the pieces we were reusing, including the shell, quarter panels, tail, and trunk lid, we sanded down until we had penetrated the clearcoat and were down to paint. The new pieces from National Parts Depot were sanded down to bare metal using hand grinders and then sanded smooth. This is a tedious process, but as usual, the students were happy to jump in and get some hands-on experience. This is how you learn.

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