Dan, my shop landlord and the gentleman helping me build my Sprite, or maybe I should say I am helping him, has a brother named Dick with whom we share shop space. Dick's car is a 1929 Ford Model A Tudor sedan. The car was a beautifully restored show car until it became trapped in a garage fire. The car did not actually burn but was significantly damaged by the extreme heat. It has set in the shop for a few years, partially disassembled, awaiting restoration. Maybe Dick saw the progress we are making on the Sprite or maybe not. Anyway, he decided to take on the restoration. Dan and I will be helping. Here we have the entire body and all its related bits loaded on my trailer to be taken to the media blaster before we start. That's Dan's MGB visible in the third photo.
Well we got it back from the blaster in just a couple of days. It looks like we should have told them to also remove all the filler material. All but the thinnest edges remain and the metal is rusting a little under most of it. We have been D/A sanding all the removable parts for a few days and still have more to do. So far the only significant rust we have found is at the bottom on the cowl. There are structural supports inside that made two panels close enough together to trap debris and moisture. We have panels ordered to replace them. We will see how they fit; internet reviews have not been entirely good so far. In the worst case, I will just patch in the rusty section. The left photo, upside down, shows the cowl as it was returned from the blaster except the rivets have already been removed from the flange on the top (bottom actually). The rust is obvious. The right photo gives a better view of the structural brace that probably caused the rust. The following photos show the brace after it was removed and a couple of views of the resulting rust.
We are using epoxy primer from Southern Polyurethanes. This was recommended by my favorite paint supplier, LM Auto Color, as a supplier who specializes in restoration work more that production body shops. It is late August and early September and we have been hit by 90 plus degrees every day. We need to get the metal in primer as soon as possible so I called the manufacturer this morning to ask about advised maximum temperature and humidity. The answer was "No maximum, 100 degrees and raining is fine." I think I'm liking this company a lot.
Oops, it looks like I just found more major rust. The first photo is of the floor board and platform for the rear seat. Notice the significant rust in the floor section. I understand a bottle of muriatic acid was spilled in that area and this is the result. The second photo shows the same panel from the bottom. Several rust-through pin holes are visible just below the large "dimple" in the center. This is much too thin to weld from the bottom and access from the top for patching would be very difficult. Since this area is under the seat and not visible, I think some PC-7 epoxy is the ideal fix to eliminate any possibility of water intrusion. The third photo shows what we have sanded and ready for primer now. When spread out, or hopefully hung up, that is probably enough to fill our makeshift spray booth so probably time for primer soon now.
Well, we finally got all the pieces except for the main body and doors sanded and ready for primer. This did include some metal straightening and some welding. So here they are, all 20 pieces. Some hanging and some laying. Hanging parts this way is not necessarily ideal but it does allow for access to all sides during one session. The down-side is they want to move when hit by the air from the paint gun and they have a tendency to spin and touch one-another. Also, getting to the lower parts of some pieces, like those huge front fenders, can be quite challenging. All things considered, I would still probably do it the same way next time.
Another thing to really like about Southern Polyurethanes epoxy primer is it allows for up to 7 days to apply top coating before you have to sand and recoat it. We decided to go ahead and paint the back side of all the black parts to avoid having to sand later. There is still some finish body work on their outsides so that could not be painted yet. Here they are.