Bodywork - not for the faint-hearted!

I chose an early 2002 sedan because I prefer the round tail lights and the metal grills. So the hunt was on for a pre-73 with a solid body as these cars do suffer from serious rust issues!

I found a car that looked like it fit the bill, although it had a rather nasty turbo conversion which had involved hacking some engine bay panels. Like all these things it's a compromise and I didn't want a supposedly sorted car because I wanted to take it back to bare bones.

The hidden horrors

Anyone who has every stripped the paint from a car will have the same nightmare: how much bog, rust and dodgy repairs lay beneath? The Baron was no exception. I already knew there was rust in the lower front nose, lower door skins (usual spots on the 02) and some driver's-side repairs from a previous accident, but what else was hiding?

Before the body was sent to the soda blaster and the panels went off to be chemically stripped, I actually split the trunk lid and the doors first as I needed to repair them later.  I also straightened up the front end which had clearly had an argument with something solid. A few bottle jacks and some 4-by-2 came in handy.

The main areas to address were the previous repairs on the driver's side. The door was pretty bad and the rear quarter had been poorly repaired, so the inner wheel arch was rusted through, along with some roof damage that had a lot of bog instead of a proper repair. The engine bay needed repairs from the turbo hack and the lower nose had rusted through inside and out. I also needed to repair the spare-wheel well, passenger lower quarter and front floors (minor). The truck, door and wing on the passenger side needed repairs, the driver's door and wing I replaced for new. The bonnet needed work and I had to plug a hole where an aerial had been drilled through (don't ask!).

I re-leaded all the places where the factory would lead wipe to prevent any 40+year old lead causing paint issues. Once the car metalwork was complete and I had aligned the panels, I led the Baron to the paint booth for a complete de-oxidise and epoxy primer to seal that bare metal.

The white primer showed up how much work was still to do so the next few weeks I  spent filling, blocking, priming , blocking, more priming - and did I mention blocking?! until the she was as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Talking of bottoms, I used a good-quality German under-seal to coat the underneath, trunk and wheel wells. These areas I then sprayed with 2K Verona red, along with the engine bay.

The outside was painted in base coat / clear coat. I opted for De Beer  Berobase series 500 and HS420 Supreme clear coat spectrum, which we matched from the Verona red 2K. 

Now she's doing her name "Red Baron" justice!


John Ward

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