Over the past few months the gang at Woody's Hot Rodz have been busy getting the '09 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour car ready for its rapidly approaching summer travel schedule. The subject of our attention this year is a '52 Chevy and while it's an extremely solid starting point, bringing any car up to Woody's standards requires some work. To find out exactly what that would require meant the hardtop had to be stripped to a bare shell.

The Plan
Since our Chevy wasn't destined to undergo major architectural alterations, modifications were limited to nosing and decking, removing the gas filler door and stock side trim, and making the sheetmetal straight as a string before the two-tone paint is applied. A unique addition is a Corvette-like trim on each side of the car.

Body Preparation
With some of the preliminary bodywork done, the Chevy was sent to Ken Engle Powder Coating Specialty to be sandblasted. A great way to get down to bare metal, it can also do as much harm as good if not done correctly. Valuable bodies have been reduced to warped and work-hardened scrap metal by heavy-handed blasting. According to Ken the secrets to success are to adjust the air pressure, the distance from the discharge nozzle to the surface, and the speed of travel to the thickness of the metal being blasted--something he's learned from years of experience.

Another important factor when blasting a body is the media used--in this case Ken used what's called "black beauty" which is made from the coal ash that comes from power plants. On thinner metal soda is generally used.

MetalWork And Prepping For Paint
Once the Chevy was back from blasting everyone was relieved to find the body was as good as had been thought. However, there was some rust under the rear fender gravel shields that would require repair but Chevs of the 40s supplied perfectly-shaped patch panels to cure that. The other area that would require some attention was the left rear corner. Over the years the driver-side fender had been whacked a time or two and the repairs were less than perfect. Not surprisingly there was an assortment of small dents and dings to iron out, and then there were lots and lots of holes to fill.

The Latest In Paint
For some street rodders the mention of waterborne paint is a reminder of the first OEM attempts at using water-based materials and what a disaster it was. But today's waterborne paint uses totally different and vastly improved technology to reduce the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) while offering unmatched gloss and service life.

Actually waterborne paint isn't new. PPG has been producing it for some time and today the technology is used in about 70 percent of OEM colors. Their Aquabase Plus and Envirobase High Performance finishes are low-VOC finishes that use high-tech latex resin pigments in a special acrylic waterborne latex resin. Interestingly one of the advantages to waterborne paint is the way the pigment stays in suspension--mixing machines and mechanical paint shakers are no longer necessary just shake the containers by hand and combine the required materials.