Rebuilding the body


Whilst the engine was having a heart transplant, the bodywork was undergoing an extreme form of plastic surgery. If I never see another tub of filler or roll of sandpaper it will be too soon. It seems the aim is to find the slightest imperfection in the body (and to be fair after 75 years that’s not difficult) then to apply filler as if its going out of fashion across the whole area, then remove practically all of the filler so as to get a perfect finish. Nigel has decided that this car will have the best paint finish (at least when it leaves the workshop) and he will see his body reflected in the shine. There is a range of problems with this, not least the reflection, but also from a medical view, the amount of filler dust, repetitive strain injury and general mind boggling boredom there is in achieving this end. Now don’t think I am moaning, because as with many difficult experiences in life, once it’s over it feels really good!

So, with the pure use of human mechanical effort we have filled, sanded, filled sanded, filled, sanded and sprayed the body with at least 4 coats of high build filler. And it does look good.

We have the excellent help of Staddons Garage in Budleigh Salterton and especially their body specialist ……… training and keeping morale up . Every Sunday he turns up, smiles, walks around the car, inspects our work and we wait like contestants in Masterchef to get his opinion. I have to say his words of wisdom, encouragement and great kindness helped get the job done. Luckily I have to work elsewhere during the day and often am away during the week, so as much as I am looking for sympathy, it was Nigel and Adam who really did the hard grind…….

With the body rubbed to within an inch of its life, Nigel wisely decided to take it to Staddons to their paint shop.

Ever since we bought the car we discussed the colour, and had sort of decided that dove grey was good. A two tone gangster type colour scheme was favoured by Nigel and we sprayed a test panel. It was not good, looked more like a Desert Staff car. We eventually found a can of old steam engine red as used by Country Life on their Burrell steam engines. This was surprisingly like some of the old Ford reds and so after spending a large amount of money the car was painted and she looked gorgeous. I thought that was the end of it, but no, we have to sand and polish what looks to me to be a better finish than most modern cars. What did I do wrong in a previous life to warrant all this? More importantly, what is going to happen when the first rock, Mongolian Yak, or Peking lorry drives into us……?

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