Cars are dismantled, in some cases to a bare shell, depending on the extent
of the restoration. However all glass, trim, lights, mouldings, etc. are
The body shell is completely paint stripped. It is not sandblasted as
this leaves far too much grit residue in every nook, cranny and hole that
cannot be removed. There is also a very great risk of distorting body
panels, in some cases beyond repair. Smaller parts can be carefully sandblasted
or soaked in an acid wash.
The reason for paint stripping the car is to be absolutely certain that
no corrosion is even starting on what appears to be a corrosion free panel.
It also sometimes uncovers a multitude of sins!
The bare steel is scrubbed with a mild acid to remove all traces of surface
oxidisation. We then brush primer the bodywork in a red oxide based primer
to protect the good steel while the rest of the panel work and derusting
is being carried out.
As sections of the car body are restored they are acid washed and primered.
The reason is that full restorations usually take some time and if parts
of the car were not treated as they were done, by the time we got around
to where we started from, the bare steel would have begun to rust again.
Individual items such as doors or bonnets can be spray primered using
the full system as soon as they are restored.
Welding ] [ Painting ]
[ Other bits ] [ Top
Corroded aluminium should be removed. The aluminium oxide is very hard,
much harder than steel oxides and is much harder to sand or blast off,
(sand papers/grinding discs actually have aluminium oxide particles bonded
to them to make them abrasive) and if it is not removed from the bodywork
it is much quicker to reappear and continue corroding the panel.
A lot of the problems are caused when aluminium bodywork is wrapped around
or over steel frames or chassis and no priming of the steel and aluminium
has been carried out before hand.
It is very important to treat, prime and seal the two metals of the joint
to form a barrier to avoid any future corrosion problems.
We have the facilities and skills to make complete panels for cars in
either steel or aluminium.
In some cases replacement panels are available, however, sometimes they
may require some modifications to make them fit correctly. In these cases
it may be more cost effective to make the panels the correct shape to
start with. In a lot of cases, only certain areas of a panel requires
repairing, so a section is made up to the correct shape, however small,
and welded in.
Pieces are never just 'patched on' over holes or rust as this does not
remove the problem, it just covers it up to reappear sooner or later.
] [ Painting ] [ Other bits
] [ Top ]
Steel panel work welding is carried out using an Oxy/Acetylene torch,
and is butt welded and planished to shape.
Structural welding, where a floor would join to a chassis or sill section
(for example a lap joint), is first spot welded and then backed up by
TIG welding the joint (to be certain).
We use TIG welding for aluminium work, in particular for repair sections
on the car instead of gas which requires the use of a flux to help clean
the joint. It is very important to remove all traces of the flux as it
will cause adhesion problems at the painting stage. For large accessible
sections or fabricated panels it is OK to use gas in the traditional way
as you can be more certain of cleaning the weld afterwards.
We can also weld Cast Iron, Alloy Castings, and Stainless Steel, etc.
PROTECTION and PAINTING
The restored metalwork is either etch primered or brush painted in an
anti rust primer such as a red oxide paint, depending on whether it is
to be painted or undersealed.
Joints and seams are then seam sealed with a Marine quality polyurethane
Bodywork is then undersealed and prepared for painting.
PRIMING and PAINTING SYSTEM [
Bodywork ] [ Welding ]
[ Other bits ] [ Top
Bare metal must be 'etch' primered first. There are basically two types
Chemical etch priming, using an etch wash or high build etch primer, has
a chemical solution in the primer that eats into the surface of the metal
forming a bond between the paint and body.
This should not be used for Zinc plated or Galvanised sections or on top
of any Zinc based primers as the acid content in the primer causes an
adverse affect with any Zinc coating, resulting in poor adhesion at best.
Mechanical etching, using an Epoxy Resin based primer that sticks like
glue. This primer must be used on Galvanised steel.
In both cases the metal must be thoroughly cleaned or sanded to give the
primer as much help in bonding as possible.
Epoxy primers are far more stable and solvent resistant than 'Etch' primers
and have a higher level of bonding, or sticking. However the Epoxy primer
requires a different and longer period of preparation and application
and takes a bit longer to cure.
The etched bodywork really should be over-primed in a surface primer,
which will offer protection to the etch primer and provide a sound base,
which can be guide coated, flatted and prepared for topcoat painting.
The preferred choice to painting the bodywork is to paint it in a number
There are basically two types of paint. The modern 'Two Pack' paints that
use a 'catalyst' to cure the paint, and the older style Cellulose and
Acrylic, which are predominantly solvent based, that have to air dry.
Solvent based paints are not as stable as modern Two pack paints, they
require a different and longer level of preparation and application and
require a greater degree of 'effort' on the owners part to maintain the
finish to a high standard. Both types have a limit to the build of paint
before it goes out of specification and becomes unstable.
In order to get the high level of depth to the finish, we Lacquer (clear
coat) even solid colours.
This involves painting the bodywork in the colour, drying it, rubbing
it down, repainting in a Clear Lacquer and then polishing it.
This allows us to achieve the preferred level of build, depth and gloss
while retaining stability and durability.
] [ Welding
] [ Painting
A very detailed photo record can be made of the progress of the work,
not just `before and after` shots, but all the bits in the middle as well.
There is no charge for this service. We use the photos to support the
time sheets and invoices.
At the end of the restoration we can make up a 'Photo album' using some
selected photos, have them encapsulated and put in an album, which we
can make up as a special if required.
We carry out repairs and restorations to any part or parts of a car, however
small, to the same high standards.
Once the car is finished and running we carry out regular checks and maintenance
and preparations for Club Rallies and Events, etc.