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Posted by Warren
This is a replica (kit car) of the original Shelby Ford Cobra, a show car. It belongs to a friend of mine and I did the body work and painted it for him.
That means that you get the unfinished body, with some parts for the exterior, sent to you and you provide everything else including all the labor involved in the process. It took the owner twelve years to complete only working on it as time allowed.
I finished the rough body, removed and repaired the imperfections and fitted the doors, bonnet and boot lid. I also prepped and painted the car.
More pictures and commentary below the fold.
I don't have pictures of the entire process. I had no interest in documenting it at the time but I do have pictures taken at the end of the painting process.
The top photo shows the doors and boot cover (trunk lid), the bottom is the bonnet (hood).
The fit of the original doors was terrible and new doors were required which still required modification for an exact fit. We also acquired a different boot cover because of imperfections in the fiberglass (there were large areas of delamination). The air scoop on the bonnet was malformed and had to have reinforcement added to the inside and material added on the outside for esthetic reasons.
The upper photo is a picture of the front of the painted body. The lower picture is the completed car for comparison.
Rear of the painted body.
The racing stripes were laid out with the use of a laser transit before painting the mid-coat. The stripes are actually 3/8" narrower at the front and back of the car than at the dashboard because of an optical illusion that would make them appear wider if they weren't. That is, that the stripes would appear wider at the rear and front than at the middle of the car.
What does it take to get a paint job like this?
First you select the color you want. This is a variant of Candy Apple Red, it's known in the trade as a tri-color paint job.
The owner had me paint several different test panels involving different base coats and mid-coats in several different colors. Originally I suggested Candy Apple Red with a Brickyard Red base-coat. He had me try about six different mid coats and opted to use Argent Silver as a base-coat. (The base-coat contains the metallic element.)
Next the primer, I opted for a light gray urethane primer/surfacer, two coats. Next, hand wet sanding to remove tiny imperfections in the body and insure an even paint flow without mottling of the metallic base-coat. Wait a day, wash the body, make sure no water remains and you're ready for your base-coat.
Two full coats of Argent Silver base-coat. Wait for it to dry and in this case, laying out the racing stripes and covering them.
Next, four coats of evenly sprayed Sunset Red tinted clear urethane mid-coat. wait between coats for drying time or the paint will run or look cloudy and never have that yards deep shine or highlights of the metallic base coat. If the racing strips would have been a different color than the base-coat
Four coats of clear urethane top coat, waiting between coats again. Wait 24 hours and the polishing process begins.
Hand wet sand again to remove any orange-peel and prepare the surface for machine buffing. Then buff using finer grades of buffing compound and finally use a super fine buffing compound called machine glaze with a foam pad on the buffer. The whole time care must be taken not to buff through your top-coat. This could ruin your whole paint job. All edges and the areas around body openings must be hand buffed and glazed because a buffer can eat right through the paint on an edge.
Careful assembly of the body and one final hand glazing.
One Cobra kit car is done. If you look you can see the reflection of my friend when he took the picture.
Questions or comments?