How To Get Wicked Paint: Week to Wicked 1966 Mustang
We upgrade and paint a 1966 Mustang hardtop to prep for our huge Week to Wicked buildup
Elsewhere in this issue, you can read about the program we did during the week of July 17, 2017. We took a decent 1966 Mustang, and over the course of a week (as in 5 days and one very long night), turned it into a fire-breathing show car destined for our booth at the 2017 SEMA show and also many road miles after that. As we write this, the car is finished, except for typical build details like a front-end alignment, making sure everything’s tight (we built it in a week, remember), and troubleshooting the small things that always come up.
1. The Mustang sits at our TEN Tech Center prior to leaving for Arizona to get its shiny new coat. Overall, it was a solid car with just a few inconsequential pinholes of rust and shopping-cart dings, but since it’s destined to be ogled under the bright lights of the SEMA show, it needed to be cleaned up with a full repaint.
2. Here, we’re beginning the tear down and inspection process.
3. Superstition pulled all the glass out of the car and began the clean up and rough body sanding to get a better idea of what they were working with.
4. These are the main issues we found with the hardtop’s body—minor rust pinholes in the driver’s side wheel lip and typical cracking at the C-pillars.
5. The driver’s door also needed work. The latch area was completely boogered up and needed enough metalwork that it was easier to replace the whole door with new sheetmetal from National Parts Depot.
6. Mustangs to Fear provided their fiberglass lower valance, upper nose, and hood. The company has a fiberglass bumper, as well, but we kept the stock chrome bumper on this car.
7. Fiberglass body parts, regardless of the manufacturer, need a little bit of effort to make them fit correctly. Factory Ford production tolerances, previous bodywork (crash repair), and a million other factors mean that aftermarket fiberglass is almost never a perfect fit. Superstition spent some time getting it all to fit our Mustang perfectly. In our case, it turned out that the right front fender had been replaced with a reproduction long before we got the car, compounding the problem.
8. The headlight buckets were a tight fit and required a little bit of grinding to fully seat into the fenders.
9. With the fiberglass pieces fitted, Superstition began the process of making it perfect. This headlight bucket was bolted into place, covered with a very thin coat of body filler, and sanded into a perfect match. Before the filler gets too tacky, Superstition used a razorblade to separate the bucket from the fender.
10. The Mustangs to Fear hood fit great and required a minimal amount of time to line up for perfect hood gaps.
11. The hood was sanded and prepped for paint and painted separately (off the car) with the front fenders, doors, and decklid.
12. Before the base color is sprayed, the car was block-sanded for a day. The red overspray you see on the car here is actually a guide coat, used during block sanding to show high and low spots that need to be fixed before the final paint.
13. Once the block sanding is done, a coat of sealer is applied and allowed to “flash,” meaning to let it wait until it’s ready to be covered by the main color. Different paint requires different flash times and mixing procedures. Always follow the instructions that come with the paint.
14. Axalta was one of the sponsors for our Week to Wicked Mustang and supplied all the paint products, from primer to color to clear. Again, mix the products as instructed on the can.
15. The final step was to reassemble the parts that had been painted off the car (doors, hood, and decklid), then color-sand the paint with progressively finer paper, followed by a full machine polish. This is known as the “cut and buff” step of a paintjob and is what really brings out the deep shine in a paintjob.
16. The Mustang waits on our rental trailer, ready for the seven-hour trip back home to California. Stay tuned, because this was a fun project.