n. pl. in·ti·ma·cies
1. The condition of being intimate.
2. An instance of being intimate.
Seems like a strange title for a post about a car eh? This is definitely not a post regarding relationship counseling with another human being, that is certain but the parallels with that are clear.
This post is about getting to know something. About becoming fast friends and then deeply involved. The ins and outs, finding quirks and accepting them, or in other words becoming "intimate"
The 337 was intended to be cheap transportation from something that I have just wanted to drive daily. That was the plan of course. The first red flag should have been the drool trickling out of the corners of my mouth (or better described as "foaming" when I first got it) and the voracity I attcked it with once it was in my hands. I never saw a clapped out hoopty in this car and I could not (can not) leave it alone.
I have become very intimate with this car. I have been deeply involved under the hood (nether regions) and now have done some tidying up on the exterior. Well, some may be an understatement, let's not allow me to fool myself here haha. This post delves into the prep I had to do to help the wrap be successful in being cosmetically fit.
Let's start with the easy stuff. The vinyl is thin, like paint, so the surface underneath will show any surface imperfections pretty clearly and just like paint, different colors will highlight that pretty clearly. The first night I brought the car to Josh at Art City Signs He pretty much looked it over and said "do you really want me to wrap over this? You will see every ridge/bump/etc!" What I had done was went around the car and sanded surface rust and imperfections in the surface and then treated it with a rust convertor.
Every spot I had put the convertor on had of course had a rough area where it wasn't smooth. No good. The plan that night was to just get a jump on it before the weekend when he planned on attacking the car as a whole. I still needed to address the driver door and now, flat sand all of everything in an attempt to get the body smooth enough to not make Josh's end of it look bad in the end as just like in paint, prep is everything. The end result will only look as good as the preparation.
So we got the driver fender and roof installed that night and I took it home with plans to meet up Sunday and hit it hard. This is where the "intimate" part of this post comes in. I have been well into the engine at this point, know the needs mechanically of this car in and out, It was time to get down and dirty with the exterior. With a list of stuff to take care of from Josh that ended with "and anything else you see" (the list was not short) I took it home and through Friday and Saturday night really got aggressive with the car. Friday night I sanded the snot out of that thing thinking the door would be a quick easy just pop the old one off, and the new one on. Right.
In a nutshell, the entire car looked alot like this when I showed up with it sunday. It was a true odyssey getting it to this point. The sanding alone which included flat sanding the hood, the wheel arches, a better chunk of the hatch and bits and spots on the door kept me active in the garage until somewhere in the realm of 3am friday night. I then proceeded to go to work from 8am to 5pm on saturday and that night I went after the driver door.
|Remember this door? See that fold articulated into the front of the door? Yeah, that had to go.|
So I had the spare door from my bits and pieces post almost ready to go, I just had to take out all the mechanical components of the door as they were junk, remove it all from mine and reinstall them in the new door. In a terrific epiphany, I remembered far to late that I had forgotten to grab the stubby triple square sockets from my tech at work which I needed to efficiently remove the door from the hinges.
My friend Jason came by to assist me with this task as even with the guts removed, these doors are no light. After assesing the situation we decided the best course of action was to remove the fender and attack the hinges that way.
After alot of screwing around with it we got the old door off. I need to add that no matter how much of a pain in the ass something is, it sure is gratifying and pretty exciting to see something coming together. The biggest sense or relief, or self induced gratification was having this sitting on the ground and getting the new one on!
|Clearly this damage would not be covered or hidden by the vinyl.....|
With the replacement door on and some tweeking done, the results were satisfactory to my needs
Cosmetically, this one action was probably the greatest in my mind. It drove me absolutely crazy everytime I saw that door peeled back.
After another 3 am night, I was comfortable turning off the lights and calling it a night. Whew.
One last thing I shouldn't forget here is the wheels as they are a very noticeable part of the car and can easily make or break the appearance of a car no matter what the rest of it looks like.
These are the OEM (factory equipped) wheels for this car, one of the things that caught my eye so many years ago and I saw no need to change them. I have a friend named Kris who is very active in many many things. One of his hobbies is powder coating. How neat, instead of getting real crazy with these, I had them sandblasted and Kris then powder coated them with just clear. No color. I wanted to try and keep with the matte silver theme and I'm not into flashy anyway. Kris did an excellent job with these! These are as important to the prep as anything else on the car, and I'm about to post a photo of the car with them on it so an explanation was in order.....
|It's hard to believe this is the same car, even for me and I had my hands on it the whole time.|
That is how the car looks now. Next go round here will be the actual process of wrapping the car.