Restore and Repaint

img_1153.jpg The restoration done at Bodystyle on Brocaw in San Jose is now done thanks to the attention of the owners Cecil and Carrol Beach and the foreman, Mick. They repaired the rust damage in the rocker panel, door jam and the rain drip lip on the cowl that keeps water out of the trunk and fixed an old repair that had been done with pop rivets on the nose.

This is one of the last of the local shops that does really high quality body and paint work that also really knows Porsche. They know how these cars were originally manufactured and they repair them the same way. In calling around, I got their name from several sources including Del Sessions, who did my front body pan. It is a rather large shop that has half dozen Porsches in various stages of completion from a full restoration '58 356 (est $25K in work for the original owner) to insurance covered collision damage on some of the latest models.

I was able to take progress pictures so I can post them here.

The cost was much more than from people I don't trust. But this shop talks the talk - the others don't come close. The repair were done to the highest standards. A complete inspection was done. All rust damage from the passenger compartment forward has been repaired. Any damage found was removed, either by cutting out the metal or sand blasting small areas. MIG welding was used to add metal to small perforation areas and then ground flat again. There was no plastic filler. There may have been a bit of lead used in the area of the passenger door just like the original factory. Spot welds were used where the factory spot welded.

My budget was not enough to include repainting the hood, front fenders or passenger door. That will have to wait for another time.

My car was being eaten alive by rust in a couple of places. That is no longer true at least from the doors forward. 2 years after purchase the area under the passenger door striker plate showed problems as well as the door sill over the jack point as it crawls toward the front of the car. Similarly the cowl rain drain area had perforations and I only noticed that one last winter. A cancer that grows. I truly hate the rust. An insidious car killer, hard to contain, really difficult to repair properly. Get it wrong and it returns because unprotected inner weld areas are particularly prone to starting again if not treated properly.

I often toy with the idea of learning how to do this kind of work - particularly the prep and painting, but in the end I don't want a project, I want a driver. In addition, I really don't know how to do this work to Porsche standards. Repairs like these need to last another 20-30 years, not be hidden enough to call the car 'rust free' and not presented to an unsuspecting audience.

We will see in this story how difficult it is to discover whether a car is rust free. For example, you certainly do not know until the fenders have been removed.

There are so many pictures that I've divided the project in to sections:

The Damaged Areas

The scary part of the repair efforts is that one really does not know how much damage is hidden behind the visible areas and will not know until the areas are opened up.

Here are pictures of some paint damage that was not repaired because of budget constraints:
020504-1059 The passenger door once had a car back into it according to the previous owner. The door had been re-skinned. One day some of the paint came off. I attribute this problem to a poor quality paint job.
020504-1062 There is also an area of lifting paint on the hood. The hood was repainted with lacquer which often will check or craze when in the sun light. You can see characteristic the crows feet of this checking in the picture. The lacquer has also yellowed with age. Lacquer is a bad choice for paint if you are interested in long term stability. It may work for a display car, but not real life in the sun.

At the Shop

We dropped the car off at the shop on Monday morning. I happened to be there when the project started. The first step was an inventory of working systems including lights. We joked about my backup lights not working as I claimed they were (not).

The goal on working on the front of the car is to solve all rust problems from the windsheild forward. This requires pulling the fenders.
020604-1176 Mick removing the bolts for the hood.
020604-1182 Next steps are to remove the spare, windshield washers and wipers, and shock struts. The carpeting is already gone. These parts all go into plastic bags in an area devoted to customer material.
020605-1184 Lights, turn signals and horn grill have to come off. The connector for the head lamps has to be taken off so the wires will slip through the grommet in the head lamp bucket.
020605-1185 The parts need to be collected in plastic bags so they won't get lost. Each bag represents a different disassembly.
020606-1187 The right fender and door have been removed in order to inspect for problems that can not be seen with the parts still on the car.
020606-1188 A shot of the door post and the bulk-head behind the wheel.
020711-1303 Now the inner fender wells and nose have been cleaned up and some small rust holes have been patched. A new piece has been welded on the nose panel that replaces the one which was pop riveted on.
020711-1308 A wash off primer has been sprayed on the bare metal to protect the surface until it goes to the paint shop.

Nose Pannel

020621-1256 View of the left fender seam.
020625-1280 This is the new nose panel and is a OEM part from Porsche.

Fender Hood Seal

There is the start of rust under the hood seal along the fenders.
020708-1296 After sanding, you can see one area of perforation that is quite small and some additional rust of varying penetration along the rail. This area will be media blasted to remove all evidence of the rust.

Tools and Materials

020610-1199 New wrenches available from Sears. The body men at the shop showed me these.
020625-1286 This is a small air driven tool with a fiber cut off wheel.
020625-1287A A small reciprocating saw.
020625-1287B Small sander for tight places and small areas.
020628-1291 Zinc Weld-Thru Primer.
020711-1307 Mick called this a 'Wash off primer'. This SEM primer is put on to bare metal and adheres to steel and aluminum for overall refinishing of spot repairs. It provides protection of the bare metal surfaces until the car goes to the paint shop and the first primer is sprayed on.
Last modified: Tue, 04 Jun 2002


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