It has been about two months since my cousin Ed Gilbert passed away in Oregon. Ed was in the process of restoring the paint or repainting my ‘57 Ford two-door Ranch Wagon Restomod. I brought the car back to Arizona where I am now trying to do what Ed was going to do. I have painted several vehicles over the last 10 years, but had never tried to do an auction-quality paint job. Usually, it was just some simple prep and paint to get the car all one color and looking decent. Ed was an expert at body and paint preparation and then painting, I am not!! The reality for a great professional custom paint job, with premium quality paint and clearcoat, can be up to $25,000 or more. And, professional painters won’t do lower quality paint jobs because their reputations are built on doing superior quality work. There is no way l could afford that kind of money. Ed was doing it for me at a fraction of those prices.
A ‘57 Ford station wagon is a BIG car and the job of prepping it for painting can be daunting, especially when you don’t have great confidence in your abilities. Luckily the Ford was already pretty straight and Ed had shown me how to do most of the preparation to get it REALLY STRAIGHT. Along with Ed’s teaching and watching lots of Youtube videos, in mid-January l felt the car was ready to paint. In Ed’s honor, I kept reminding myself to not cut corners and spend the time doing my absolute best work. On Friday Jan. 20th l thought it was 100% ready to spray the high bright white paint, but, as l was literally doing the final degreasing process, l discovered 3-4 small areas where l could clearly see sanding scratches. My first thought was that l just want to get this car painted and they’re small and low on the car and probably no one will even notice them. Again, in honor of Ed (and my own learning process) who would never let even small flaws like that go unrepaired, l got my sandpapers and spent another 2-3 hours making sure all of those areas were ready for painting.
I’m happy to report that several coats of white basecoat and several coats of clear coat were sprayed on without one run. My arms were screaming during each application on the Ford’s huge roof, but again it went smoothly and the car looks great to my untrained eye. The Ford would probably look better in a two-tone paint scheme, but I simply didn’t have the confidence to attempt it on this very unique car. I still have many hours of wet sanding and buffing to finish this paint job. After that, dozens of pieces of stainless side trim and interior pieces have to be installed, along with several other misc. jobs. My goal is to have the car 100% ready in time for the Mecum Collector Car Auction in March at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.