A major turning point during any custom build or restoration project entails making the decision to tear the car down to its most basic and organic form: that of a stripped-out shell. It’s a big step and not one for those easily intimidated, but to get down to the very core of the rebuild, there’s nothing quite like it. With Project Orange Krate having been torn down to its absolute essentials throughout the build-up, it made sense to take it the extra mile and bring it down to its bare bones. To accomplish this, Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, was prepared to walk us down that final path. As with any major project undertaking, it’s a solid idea to document everything being dismantled. This can be accomplished easily by bagging and tagging all removed hardware while also using an inexpensive digital camera to visually document the process. That said, Newell started the final teardown by removing both front and rear Detroit Speed Inc. suspension components, front subframe, Baer brakes, and Ford 9-inch axle assembly. With all the major components out of the way, he focused on the firewall and cowl area by removing everything including the wiper motor assembly, brake power booster, fresh air plenum actuator, and door assembly, and every nut, bolt, and grommet left. From there the windshield and doors were removed leaving him the balance of the interior to concentrate on. Nothing leaves a lasting impression like pulling a dash and seeing all of the wiring and ventilation components that remain. Methodically moving forward, Newell carefully removed the heater and heater core, steering column, and wiring, leaving just the interior and a dingy old shell.
The body was then loaded into the trailer and trucked over to Don Madden at D&T Powder Coating in Pembroke, Massachusetts, to evaluate for media blasting. After giving it a thorough once-over, Madden had team members Matt Goulston and Derek Tolchinsky get busy by taking heat guns to the interior and underside to remove all remaining undercoating, carpet glue, and jute fabric so as not to contaminate the media once the job got started. There are various types of media available to handle the process, with each one being specific to a particular need. For our purposes, Madden advised that Black Beauty (which is a mining byproduct) would be used as it would easily cut through the surface paint and any remaining surprises yet to be found. He told us the product is ideal for steel and that it would nicely etch the surface to provide plenty of bite for primer once completed. Other forms of media include glass bead (for aluminum parts), aluminum oxide (available in various grits, perfect for blasting cabinet work), and walnut shell (ideal for fiberglass). Madden informed us blasting generates a lot of heat, which is crucial to control so as to avoid potential warping of steel panels. He explained that dry air moving through the blasting system is an absolute must and that his set-up typically moves air through an air-drying system at 150 psi. This all bridges into a network, which incorporates two 25hp compressors processing power through a 200 gallon air holding tank piped to a blasting pot capable of holding 600 pounds of media. Incorporating a regulator bypass on the blasting pot allows adjustable psi at the hose nozzle output to enable the blaster full control for various surfaces both inside and outside of the body. On average, a bare body shell takes up to 15 hours to fully strip.
D&T also offers full powder and ceramic coating capabilities with one of the largest ovens we have ever encountered at 8x8x16 feet in size.
Tune into an upcomming issue, as we’ll have a follow-up article that will reveal everything the team at D&T uncovered.