Welcome back to the third of six total installments chronicling the transformation of our humble "carny" Corvette into the ultimate Timber Wolf C2 street fighter. Last month, the crew at Corvette Restoration AZ was working feverishly on the poorly repaired body panels, necessitating the replacement of the front clip and the rear fenders. In this issue, we will finish the bodywork and panel installations, prime and paint the car, and then install the A/C and all-new wiring harnesses. Before we continue with the build, here are the remaining basic elements of this project:
* 393 Stroker Maxi Mouse engine build, Engine, Transmission, and Radiator Install
* Chassis, Suspension, Brakes, and Rearend Install
* Interior and Stereo Install, Wrap-Up, and Vehicle Drive Experience
We left off last month with the top surround test fitted. Now after a couple of test fits, we trimmed the excess fiberglass as needed, making sure all seams were flat and all gaps were even. We always ensure the hood is flush and the gaps are even, and then-and only then-we will bond the surround. The front fender fit and alignment is very critical. On this job, we are bonding above the stock signal-lamp mounting area so we can retain the stock signal lamp. Doing the job this way gets a little busy in this area, with several curves and angles converging in one square-foot, but the final look is well worth all the effort. We continued to test fit and trim as necessary until we had a good fit. Then we set a few locator pins in place to ensure the same placement when we bond.
When mixing the bonding compound, we are careful to give ourselves enough time so we can find our locators and ensure proper placement. You can't move the panel at all once the bond starts to set. It is safe to say this part of the build process is not a job for rookies.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice very few holes have been drilled for locating pins. How did we do that? The actual process is a trade secret that has been perfected over 30 years and thousands of Corvette restorations. Let's just say we know how to do it right the first time. Note the series of clamps along the bottom edge of the fender in the photos. You must be careful when clamping though, otherwise you can squeeze all the glue out. After cutting around the rear bumper mounting area, we final fitted the rear fender, making sure it was flush. Especially important is the gap from the quarter to the door.
After fitting, trimming, and prepping the underside surfaces to perfection, the rear quarters were bonded in place. Again the panel is bonded in place with only a few locating holes drilled. Of course, all the locating fasteners must be removed and properly filled once the bond has cured. After the proper cure time, the front fenders and the rear quarters were ready to be completely ground down and beveled properly in preparation for the fiberglass work.
Next up, Troy sanded the gaps on the front fender. After a complete and proper grinding, all the seams on all the fenders were glassed, and then ground down again in preparation for the final body plastic skim coating. When grinding and working with fiberglass, always wear the proper protective clothing and safety gear.
A common custom feature back in the "old days" was to add a third taillight to each side. This car previously had a third taillight hole that had been poorly repaired. We didn't want to chance using any of the previous work that was improperly done, so we cut new back-up bonding surfaces, and then reglassed these areas for a permanent repair.
We had other areas of concern on the rear of this car. The number one problem area was the antenna hole. It looks like "Earl" fixed it years ago using his teeth as a grinder and then mixing floor dust with Elmer's Glue for an adhesive. Unbelievable! We had to fix this problem correctly or the car would never look right. Secondly, the old vent holes behind the doors had been poorly filled in, so we did a proper grind and fiberglass application on these areas. We now felt confident about the foundation for this body makeover.
On every Corvette that comes through Corvette Restoration AZ for repair, we always skim coat over all the seams and all the glass work for better holdout (when materials cure, sometimes they will shrink). We always use high-quality body filler. We then hard-block the final application and work through the appropriate sandpapers to the desired grit. After the repair areas are block-sanded, we give the car a complete sanding of all edges, corners, vents, and any hard-to-get areas that are not prepped. At one point, we had five guys prepping all the edges. Any primer that is sprayed on has to be sprayed over prepped areas only. Good adhesion of the applied materials is always critical, and no shiny or unsanded areas are ever allowed.
Then the car was meticulously taped, edged, and thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the initial primer. Care needs to be taken not to get overspray on any of the undercarriage work that is already completed. Note the paper masking clear to the floor, completely sealing off the bottom of the car.
With the body now masked off, we mixed the primer exactly to the mix instructions on the data sheets, and applied the primer in successive coats as per the recommended dry times until we reached the recommended film thickness. We always have a trained certified applicator spray all our substrates and paints. There is no guess work here, and everything is done strictly "by the book." After the recommended drying time (usually at least overnight), the body men blocked the vehicle working through the sandpapers to the desired grit. In case of any sand-throughs, we just reprime and resand that area again, working to a very-fine grit until it is suitable for paint.
Now for the color. we know that color "makes" the car, so we decided to investigate red-painted vehicles rather than a lot of paint chips. To view a lot of red cars in one place, we attended the Ferrari Show and Shine at Tempe Diablo Stadium, which happened to be the kick-off of the '07 Arizona Copperstate 1000. The stadium was full of red Ferraris, which were all over the field and readily available to get up close and personal. The proper color for this car was first noticed on a mid-'60s Ferrari that was brighter than most of the reds around it. We discussed this car color in depth and noted that the color had some similarities to the Corvette Torch Red cars.
When the time came to finalize the paint code for the Timber Wolf C2, we met with Rod at Scottsdale Paint. Rod pulled up the Torch Red paint formula and a sample of the color, and we realized this specific formula has a lot of dark toners that dilute the color. We wanted a cleaner color for this car, so we checked several alternate paint formulas that were very close to the Torch Red. We finally decided on a cleaner red formula with almost no dark toners. We compared the color chosen in the shade and in the sun, and it looked excellent in both light environments. On the car, this red looks very pure and deep in the shade, and really lights up with a clean, clear look in direct sunlight. To have a little fun, we decided to name the color "Arrest Me Red."
With the vehicle now properly prepped, cleaned to perfection, wiped down, blown off, and masked, we were ready to seal and spray the car. We then applied two coats of sealer, four basecoats, and four clearcoats. Our primary paint supplier-Scottsdale Paint & Supply-is a PPG Platinum distributor, and they graciously supplied all the basecoat and clearcoat for this project. Troy and Elio then prepped and sprayed the doorjambs. The jambs were sealed and sprayed as per the paint company recommendations, and then the car was pulled out of the spray booth to cure.
After a several-day cure, the vehicle was then wet-sanded with extremely fine sandpapers. We methodically work through the various sandpapers and ended up with a 2000-grit sandpaper finish. This removes all surface imperfections and any "orange peel" present. We then buffed the car with compound and worked through the polishing process until a high luster was achieved. Then we cleaned up, unmasked the car, and moved it over to our installation area.
Hidden under the top surround between the headlight buckets are the headlight motor mechanisms. Corvette Restoration AZ supplied the rebuilt headlight motors and M&H Electric Fabricators graciously provided new wiring harnesses for the entire car.
Keeping things cool is our new Be Cool radiator fan assembly. In front of the radiator you will notice the new Vintage Air A/C condenser. The Vintage Air heat/cool combo takes the place of the original heater box and snuggles into the righthand dash area, right behind the glovebox. This kit is purpose-built just for this application and fits into the Corvette beautifully, so much so the finished install looks like art! All the lines are right where they should be and are prebent around all components. Also, our expansive heat barrier kit-provided by Penn-Ohio Corvette Specialties-covers the entire floor of the C2 and was installed quickly and easily. The barrier kit will render huge paybacks when the car is driven on those hot summer nights. At this point of the build, all of our M & H wiring harnesses were now plugged in and ready for some power.
With the bodywork now done and the car painted, next month we will cover the engine build and the Tremec five-speed install. We will also get into a little more detail on the engine accessories including our new pulley system and the radiator and fan combo. Until next time, we hope to see you out there in the "Taillight Zone."
YOU COULD WIN THIS CAR, or one of five other classics at the Timber Wolf Speed Shop. Go to www.TWSPEEDSHOP.com for details.
No Purchase Necessary to enter or win in the Timber Wolf Speed Shop Promotion. For Official Rules and info on how to obtain a free code, visit www.TWSPEEDSHOP.com. Starts 12:01 a.m. CT 5/15/07 and ends 11:59 p.m. CT 11/1/07, or while supplies last. Open to legal residents of the contiguous 48 U.S. & D.C. (excluding VA & MA), 21-or-older, tobacco users, and for those with a valid U.S. driver's license. Void in VA, MA, and where prohibited.
Sponsor: Pinkerton Tobacco Co. LP.
Al Knoch Interiors - Interior
ATI Performance Products - Engine Balancer
Automotive Racing Products (ARP) - Main Bearing & Cylinder Head Bolts
Be Cool - Radiator & Fan System
Billet Fabrication - Billet Valve Covers
BOYD Coddington wheels - Custom Aluminum Wheels
BTM Cheetah Continuation Cars - Wide Body Panel Fabrication
Champ Pans - Oil pan & Pickup
Classic Motorsports Group - TKO Tremec Transmission Elite Kit
Coffman Corvette - Radiator Core Support
Comp Cams - Camshaft kit, Pushrods, Timing Chain & Cover, Plugs, Rocker Arms
Corvette Central - Sidepipes, Exterior Lights, Battery Tray, Window Seals
Corvette Clocks by Roger - Gauge Cluster and Clock
Corvette Image - Corvette Front End Assembly & Hood
Corvette Restoration AZ - Paint, Bodywork & Assembly
Corvette Rubber - Weatherstripping and Window Seals
Custom Autosound - Stereo & Speaker System
Denny's Driveshafts - Rear Axle Halfshafts
Detroit Speed & Engineering - Power Steering Pump
Diamond Racing Products - Pistons
Eagle Specialty Products - Crankshaft & Connecting Rods
Eaton - Differential (Posi Unit)
Flaming River Industries - S/S Tilt Column, Steering Wheel & Adapter, Steering Box, Alternator Kill Switch
Goodyear tire & rubber - Tires
Hedman Hedders - Headers
Holley Performance Products - Carburetor, Intake Manifold & Water Pump (Weiand)
JD Machine - Engine Block, Assembly & Dyno
Keen Parts - Bumper Brackets, Braces & Rocker Moldings
Lonestar Caliper - Proportioning Valve & Rearend Spindle Flanges
Mahle Clevite - Main & Rod Bearings
M & H Electric Fabricators - Wiring Harnesses
Melling Select Performance - Oil Pump & Intermediate Shaft
Mid America Motorworks - HD Side Yokes & Seals
Motive Gear - Ring-and-Pinion, Install Kit
MSD Ignition - Distributor, Starter, Coil, Plug Wires, MSD6AL Box
Muskegon Brake - HD Rearend Cover, Install Kit, Bolt Kit, Locks
Paragon Reproductions - Emblems, Underbody Components, Bumber Bracing, Trim & Fasteners
Penn-Ohio Corvette Specialties - Heat Barrier Kit
Phoenix Graphix -'67 Stinger Hood Stencil Kit
Pure Choice Motorsports - S/S Fuel Lines
Quanta Products - Gas tank & sender
Racing Head Service - Cylinder Head Assemblies
Right Stuff Detailing - Main Fuel Line and Clip Set
Scottsdale Paint & Supply - PPG Platinum basecoat/clearcoat paint
Trim Parts - Glovebox Door & Fuel Filler Door Assys.
Vette Brakes and Products - Brakes & Suspension Components
Vintage Air - A/C & Frontrunner Pulley System
Willy's Carburetor & Dyno Shop - Holley Carburetor (build)