Thursday, 25 October 2012

911T Project - Cosmetics

One big advantage of having a car with lousy paintwork. Its very difficult to make anything worse. So I was quite prepared to come back from Halfords with an armful of various products and get stuck in.

The paint on the car varied from dull/shiny to rough and unfinished - mostly around the panel shuts and the glass fibre bumpers.

I started with a bit of clay. It produced a lot of contaminants and smoothed the best of the paint, but it didn't do much to improve the shine. Next stage was a paint cutter. I tried an Autoglym product, but it was too gentle. The traditional 'T-Cut' worked better, and after a follow-up polish, I started to see an improvement - at least on the roof, wings and doors. 

The same approach wasn't enough on the worse rough paint, I needed to cut through the rough oxidisation. After some hesitation I tried a bit of fine wet & dry. It was what I needed. Over a week or so I attacked the area around the engine lid, under the headlights, and the door shuts. The paint there was contaminated and I found myself with base coat showing in some areas, but at least I now had a car that was more or less glossy - and from 10 yards it even looked pretty good.

The single door mirror was a matt-black square job. But I noticed that where it had been scratched a chrome finish was revealed under the black paint. After several hours careful chipping away with the blade of a craft knife I ended up with a chrome mirror. Another good result.

A further trip to Halfords resulted in the acquisition of a fibreglass repair kit and some filler. Using this I was able to repair the cracked front spoiler, and replace the 50p sized chunk missing from the lip.  Much energetic cutting and polishing later and the paint even returned something close to a decent finish. I used the same approach to fill the line of holes across the engine lid. That went ok, but my attempt to apply some paint (a Fiat yellow looked a good match) wasn't so successful. More DIY paint was needed on the sills when, with the aid of a heat gun, I gently removed the self-adhesive rubber strips the previous owner had stuck on, only to reveal a line of holes on one side. 

Earlier, I'd ordered some stickers from Highgate, a RS-style black coach line for the bumpers, and a reversed out S/T inspired decal for the rear. The combined effect was to  break up the yellow, and visually lower the car. 

Finally I replaced the reflective numbers plates with the pre-73 silver and black type that are correct for my car*.

I even felt brave enough to take the car up to a DDK event, and hesitatingly parked in a line up of other 911s, their perfect deep paint gleaming in the sunshine.

It was a start, but the deep scratches on the bonnet the blotchy result of my attempt to paint the engine cover still worried me.

Then at the Goodwood Festival of speed I found myself standing next to a white 911 hotrod.......

* The local DVLA office insisted that Tuthill register the car as a 1972 even when faced with an official Porsche document showing a July 1973 build date. It meant 'historic' tax-free status and I wasn't going to argue with them! 

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