We’re all about recycling here at Camaro Performers. Our beer cans go in the blue bin and the bottles get redeemed for cash so we can buy more beer. It’s just our way of showing we care. This urge to avoid wasting applies to our cars as well. After all, if you can save a few bucks by refurbishing a used part, why pay more for a new one.
It was this mindset that led us to snatch up a fourth-gen SS hood we found stuffed behind the shop at Don Lee Auto. It came off a wrecked Camaro, and Tim Lee didn’t think it was worth saving. Besides, he hates working with fiberglass. So we dragged it over to our friends at Best of Show Coach Works in Escondido, California, to see if it could be saved and put to good use. Fortunately, they accepted the challenge and agreed to show us that working with fiberglass isn’t nearly as complicated as it appears.
01 The good news was that this GM SS hood was free. The bad news was that it was pretty messed up. Still, with real SS hoods going for big bucks and being somewhat hard to find, we decided to try rehabbing it.
02 Best of Show’s Jon Lindstrom started out by relief-cutting all the major cracks in the composite material. By doing this, the stress was relived at these points, and the hood could regain its correct shape.
03 Lindstom then used a 3M Roloc grinding disc to remove the damaged material.
04 The grinding was done across the entire front of the hood, even in areas without cracks. This way there would be room to build up the new material.
05 For a resin, we went with West System 105 Epoxy and the corresponding 205 Hardener mixed in a ratio of one part hardener to five parts resin. You’re better to do this in small batches since the work time is fairly short, especially on hot days.
06 After pre-cutting pieces of fiberglass mat, Lindstrom covered the entire area with a heavy coating of the resin mixture.
07 The squares of material were then laid over the cracks and saturated with resin using a cheap, disposable paint brush. The key here is to get as much of the air as possible out and thoroughly saturate the material.
08 Once done, it was left to cure overnight.
09 The next day Lindstrom started smoothing out the surface with a 3M Roloc disc grinder.
10 To get the curve right and make sure we put the slight peak back into the middle of the hood, we borrowed Black Betty to test fit the hood.
11 With the hood approximately shaped right, Lindstrom then mixed up the Everglass short strand fiberglass body filler. It was over 90 degrees out so he only had about 5 minutes to work the material until it “flashed,” or set up. Again, smaller batches work better.
12 The mixed material was then spread over the repaired area of the hood.
13 When fully cured, this stuff is pretty hard to sand off. For this reason, Lindstom cheated a bit by starting to sand with 40-grit paper before the filler was fully cured (after around 10 minutes).
14 Once the fiberglass filler was sanded, Lindstrom moved onto the Evercoat Quantum 1 body filler. Since it was hot out he mixed it at a ratio of 10:1 using their High Temp Catalyst.
15 Just like the fiberglass filler, Lindstom covered the entire area with the Quantum 1 material. Again, the work time was about 10 minutes.
16 After letting it set up for 15 minutes, he started working over the panel with some 40-grit sandpaper. He then moved to 80-grit and later 150-grit paper.
17 And here’s our repaired hood ready for primer and paint. We also had to repair the bottom of the hood, but it was done in pretty much the same manner. In fact, the hood came out so nice we decided to keep it as a spare for Black Betty. Given this, we covered it in a coat of DuPont Cromax Pro GM Onyx Black waterborne paint.