Primer.

I think we’re about ready for some primer. But first: more bog.

There are a whole bunch of little dents on the inside, as expected in a 50 year old car with lots of exposed metal. When the car was stripped back they looked fairly minor, but now it’s all the same colour they’re pretty noticeable- and will only look worse when it’s shiny. Sin’s going to fill the worst offenders (crossmember, companion pockets, and dashboard) before priming the whole shell.

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Finally it’s time for primer. We’re going for a dark grey on most of the shell, and white on the roof- the theory being that stone chips will be less obvious.

First, the white:

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Then the grey:

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It’s starting to look like a real car already! And, while primer is notoriously flattering, the panels actually look pretty straight.

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Epoxy primer and filler.

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Choosing a painter is trickier than we thought. We contacted a number of painters; Half of them never called back, so that was easy. Some of the remainder were reluctant to take on a full restoration respray from bare metal, as it wasn’t as profitable as insurance work. In the end, we had 4 painters who came to visit, and all of them seemed enthusiastic and knowledgeable- except for one who either had social anxiety, or had inhaled too much thinner. One of the painters was *too* knowledgable and a Mini enthusiast, and seemed a little disparaging of some of the non-standard features we’ve incorporated. So it came down to two painters, and they were both smart, enthusiastic, and came well recommended- but Sin from Benge Spraypainting and Restoration won us over when he said “So, how much of the work do you want to do yourself?” (The answer is: “whatever makes it cheaper without compromising the final result”)

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Over at the paint shop we had to scrub the bare steel with Glasurit 360-4 metal cleaner to make it properly clean. It took 3 days, 20 metres of 3M scrubbing pad, a giant sack of clean rags, 2 litres of metal cleaner, and a couple of expensive but excellent respirators. An amazing amount of black gunk came out of the steel, and left it pale and glowing like pewter. Gorgeous! Now let’s hide it with black epoxy primer:

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Apparently, the modern way of restoring a car is to use spray-on polyester filler, then sand it all back until the panels are smooth. We let the primer bake for a few days before scuffing it, masking, and applying the polyester filler.

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Masked up and ready to spray…

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Chanel, sweetie. Now I just have to sand it all back off again. Shouldn’t be too hard…

Close encounters of the finnish kind

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a Super Minifin Brake drum that’s been sandblasted and painted in 3M calliper paint?

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Yeah, it’s the third thing. The previous owner went to a lot of trouble to collect all the mad parts they could find, and I love it! Finned alloy drums with built-in spacer blocks and cast iron liners. (Without the spacer blocks the wide Cooper wheel rims won’t fit).

Little bits.

There are so many small parts that need to be cleaned up that building a blasting cabinet was the only sensible solution. Honest.

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With a quick and easy way to clean up parts and ensure paint would stick to them, we made lots of progress.

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Even the brake callipers had the treatment. Since we’re fitting new stainless pistons and seals, the old ones can stay in place to protect the machined surfaced from garnet.  A coat of 3M brake caliper paint and a bake in the oven should keep them looking good.

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