The bumpers and other miscellaneous goodies were stashed inside the car. Judging by the ru
Long before one Road Tour ends the car for the next year is under construction. The 2013 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour car will be based on a '51 Ford Tudor sedan. Starting with this most basic of shoebox Fords, the team at Honest Charley Garage will transform the car into a sleek hot rod that rides on an all-new Fatman Fabrications chassis.
The body arrived at the Honest Charley Garage resting on the aforementioned Fatman Fabrications chassis. Even at a quick glance it was obvious the old shoebox was suffering from the ravages of time. Rust had totally consumed the inner and outer rocker panels, almost the entire floor, the rear pan, lower fenders, and lower quarter-panels. Like most 62-year-old cars, this one was keeping some secrets. Under that time-flattened black paint rust was not so slowly consuming the '51 and the rust damage would be greater than expected. To repair this rust would require stripping the car down to good clean metal to facilitate good welding when the Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts repair panels were ready to be installed. After removing all the parts from the car, such as doors, decklid, dashboard, and front fenders, the body was cross-braced with angle iron to be sure it would not distort during its travels.
There are any number of ways to strip a body, including razor blades, sandblasting, media blasting, and chemical stripping. Having plenty of experience in saving structurally challenged cars, headman Greg Cunningham from Honest Charley Garage knew exactly where to take this highly oxidized Ford.
A closer look reveals there are going to be some unpleasant surprises under the old black
It was a short trip, barely five miles to the door of Flintstone Media Blasting, where Richard "Ricky" Holmes was waiting to assess the latest project. The body was lifted off the frame inside the Flintstone Media Blasting shop and it became apparent the body would have to be media blasted top, bottom, inside, and out. Since the floor would be replaced, that metal would not be blasted clean but the mating points, where the rust stopped and good metal could be found, would be cleaned for proper welding.
After many years in the business of stripping hundreds of vintage cars Holmes has found the Opti-Blast Type II Urea plastic media to be the best product for the job. The plastic media is aggressive enough to remove paint, undercoatings, and scaled rust without damaging the good metal. Because this plastic media is applied at a lower pressure, the heat generated is kept under control and prevents warping panels. Many people think it is the pressure of the media that cause warping, but in reality it is the heat generated by the media. Flintstone Media Blasting runs their blasting gun between 50 and 55 psi, considerably lower than other forms of blasting. This is extremely important in case of a long, slab-sided car like the shoebox Ford. Of course the curved panels, such as fenders, are much less likely to suffer any warping, but the Opti-Blast media takes the worry out of the work.
Before the actual media blasting can begin, Holmes methodically removes every piece out of the car and takes a digital photograph of each piece. This method of cataloging each part ensures that all the parts delivered with the car go home with the car. With multiple projects going on it would be easy to get parts mixed up, so special care is taken to catalog all the parts.
With the parts duly recorded, the body is raised off the chassis with a two-post lift and the frame is rolled out from under the body. Now a fully rotating rotisserie is rolled under the body. After the body is bolted to the rotisserie it is wheeled into the blasting booth; a booth not unlike a conventional spray booth but rather than spraying paint we will be spraying plastic media.
To prepare the body for the trip to the media blaster angle iron cross bracing was install
With an outside air source and a professional-quality media-blasting coat, the work begins. It is a slow, time-consuming job to do it right and the body will remain in the blasting booth for almost two days before all of the paint, rust, scale, sound deadener, undercoating, and overall grunge is removed.
The media is returned into a vacuum system inside the booth where it is drawn into a cyclone separator that allows the heavier pieces of blasting media to return to the blasting pot while the dust, rust, and spent media is drawn into the dust pot. New media is added during the process and the mix of old and new media allows the plastic media to flow through the gun better than all-new media.
The smaller pieces are media blasted in a cabinet blaster rather than the big booth, while panels like fenders, inner fender panels, and hoods are hung from trees inside the booth and blasted separately. After the blasting, a simple wipe down of the panels and they are ready for primer. The plastic doesn't pit the substrate and leaves no film so it is very easy to get ready for primer. Flintstone Media Blasting offers a primer coat as a separate process if the customer requests the service.
Five days after the body was dropped off the team from Honest Charley Garage returned with a roll back truck and a body dolly. The body was filled with bare metal parts and then winched up on the roll back. Upon its return to the Honest Charley Garage work will commence on replacing all of the rusted panels on the car, and there are a lot of them! We'll tackle that next month.
Using low pressure (20-55 psi), these hard plastic granules will safely remove paint. Because of the lower pressures very little heat is generated as they strike the panel, which reduces chances of warping a panel.
With the body on the rotisserie the blasting can begin. Our troublesome quarter-panels went from black to pink in a hurry.
When the dust cleared it was apparent there had been some major repair done on quite an amateur level sometime in this old Ford’s past, the worst was yet to come.
Rolling the body over on its side is the easiest way to get to the top of the panels. As you can see we have genuine Ford bare metal on the right with the old paint still intact on the left.
Horses, tables, and hanging trees are used to hold the smaller panels in place. The hood is being blasted here and the angle of the blasting nozzle is critical for efficient paint removal.
Most of the upper panels such as hood, decklid, and fenders were found to be in good condition.
The rocker panels and wheelwells were a different story. Not only had they rusted out, but the repair to the original rust had rusted out too. New lower quarters from Dennis Carpenter Ford Restoration Parts will make a lasting cure.
More signs of amateur rust repair from the past. The old wire and body filler trick was found in the front corner of the headlight. Oddly enough the repair actually held in place.
Most rust comes from the inside out; here the rear quarter-panel is rusted through while the gravel pan is not rusted at all. As fate would have it we won’t need the gravel pan after we tuck the bumpers.
The entire inside of the roof was blasted clean so adhering sound deadening material will be easy. It is amazing how much crud was removed from the inside of the car.
The toeboards and firewall are in good shape on the car and after the plastic media removed all remnants of the old horsehair insulator it really looks good.
One of the best panels of the car is the rear decklid. It needs no repair, but those trim holes will need to be filled.
After several days of work the body is back out of the blasting booth and sitting on the Flintstone Media Blasting lift, we now know what panels are good and which are not.
Media blasting all the small parts can be a time-consuming task, but it makes a world of difference in the finished product.
Flintstone Media Blasting offers a primer coat as a service, but the Honest Charley Garage crew took this one home in bare metal. A little muscle and a lot of winch pulls the body up the ramp.
Secured on the Coker Tire rollback truck our ’51 Ford sedan if headed to the Honest Charley Garage for some serious surgery.
Watch Greg Cunningham of Honest Charley's Garage introduce the 2013 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour Car.
See more videos detailing the build of our 2013 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour Car here.