Darryl's 1966 Porsche 912
PAINT PROJECT JOURNAL ENTRIES (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
Entry: 6/1/07 - Nick Stack, the owner of Aldercrest Auto Rebuild, Inc. where my 912 will be painted later this month, wanted me to run down to Wesco Autobody Supply in Lake City with a part off the car having the best preserved example of the original paint I could find and have a guy there named Tim perform the "EYE" color computer analysis on it. I asked why couldn't he just use the formula for Porsche paint code #6605 "Bahama Yellow" that PPG still listed and he gave me that patient, knowing smile he gives blissfully ignorant hobbyist autobody guys like me and said, "Just trust me." I found the paint on the fog light opening covers looked fantastic, especially since the car had fog lights on it and the covers had been stored for decades.
Using PPG "Global Base" as the paint type, a tinting formula for a gallon of paint was generated from the readings taken on the fog light opening cover and labels printed out from the computer. What you see below is the tinting formula the painter will use as a starting point to mix up some experimental paint from which test strips will be sprayed and compared with the original pieces under various lighting conditions. Based on the color matching work I've had done on other cars by Nick's crew in the past, I have complete faith they won't quit until the paint color is a perfect match in all light and as usual I'm humbled when rubbing elbows with the guys who do this stuff for a living. Interestingly, a Google search on the term "giallo positano" returns a yellow color used on '60s vintage Italian Alfa-Romero, Lancia and Fiat sports cars and Vespa motorscooters. With a little Italian to English translation on the BabelFish site, I also learned that "giallo" is Italian for yellow so what do you know, my Porsche is a traditional Italian race car color!
Entry: 7/3/07 - Well, today it was time to move the 912 out of the shop and into the light of day! I wanted to move it across the street to the "showroom" for storage until I get the call from the bodyshop to tow it in. My last discussion with the painter was he's in a holding pattern until late July because of his and my vacation plans not overlapping... that's just fine, August is the perfect time of year to paint a car. My plan is to let the paint cure and harden in the summer sun and start assembly work in September. We will start painting the engine lid and doors just to test compatilibity of the materials and how long it takes for the surfacer / high-build primer to set-up and block sand out. So today it was time to use the 110-volt Warn winch to move the car back down the driveway, using the Go-Jak showroom dollies to swing it downhill.
Once all the cable was paid-out, the car was exposed in its full glory in the light of day. All the panels looked perfect, no waves or shadows.
I parked it next to its "stable mates" in the "showroom" and it will sit there until the call from the bodyshop comes, at which point I'll remove the doors, bumpers, trunk lid and engine lid. After I got the 912 all put to bed, it was time to get the WWII jeep out of the back and get it ready for its annual 4th of July parade duties!
Entry: 2/26/08 - Today I got a call from Nick at Aldercrest Auto Rebuild asking if I have a truck. He informed me that the paint on the removable pieces of the car; hood, door, bumpers, etc. was done and ready to be picked-up, hence the need for a truck. I got them home and they are flawless, especially the doors and hood where I did the extensive metal replacement. I'll be delivering the "roller" (the stripped body on wheels) to the body shop by the end of the week. I have also arranged to have the headliner, seat upholstery, dash pad, carpet and interior panels redone by my good buddy Steve Shepp and will be dropping those pieces off on Friday of this week as well. The project will be starting back up and going full-steam by spring at this rate! I've enjoyed taking a bit of a break from it since the summer and will be motivated to do my best work again instead of fighting the effects of burn-out. My goal is to make this car one of the best reincarnations of an early 912 anybody has ever seen!
Entry: 2/29/08 - The "roller" was finally towed up to the body shop today, using my buddy Roger's tow dolly behind my faithful F250 pickup truck. The painter and his helpers were really impressed with how clean everything was when they looked the body over, which spells much less prep work for them. I was given the impression that 3 weeks or so is when I should expect to see the car finished by. Now I have a little extra room in my "showroom" storage area so I can move the recently finished '63 VW convertible Bug back into the 912's spot and start to prepare the shop for the reassembly of the 912 upon its return. I'll be dropping all the interior pieces off to Steve Shepp on this coming Monday so that thread of the project will be progressing in parallel.
Entry: 3/11/08 - I got a call from Ken, the painter at Aldercrest Auto Rebuild yesterday telling me that the "roller" is all ready for paint and I should stop by and give it a once-over to see if there's anything he missed. Today I visited the body shop and as usual with these guys, my expectations are exceeded and the panels all look fantastic. Nick the owner said the car should be painted well within a week so I had better let my buddy Roger know I'll be needing to borrow his car dolly again. I brought my camera with me and captured a photo with Ken the painter (in the blue shirt) with his assistant Russell, standing next to the car. The reward of a flawless paint job after the years of labor I have into this car is almost at hand! The total cost of this paint job, with all the additional hours of labor to have the professionals do the filler primer and block sanding is going to be about $6K so my "sweat equity" in the job figures at about $6K in savings for a paint job that would retail at about $12K had I not been involved.
Entry: 3/17/08 - Ken and Russell went to work on painting the "roller" and Ken recorded these photographs of the entire refinishing process. The "roller" was moved into the paint booth and Russell gave Ken the "thumbs-up" signal with the sealer loaded paint gun in hand. At this point the the body had been wiped-down with solvent and then wiped with tack rags to remove any sanding residue and lint once the solvent had dried thoroughly.
Here's how the body looked once the white sealer coat had been sprayed. Sealer creates a protective layer that keeps the solvent in the new paint from dissolving the old paint and causing it to lift. The underlying original factory paint makes the perfect substrata for the new paint to bond to but it must be sealed as an insurance policy against a botched paint job.
Since the PPG paint we are using is a two-stage type paint, the next layer was the Bahama Yellow color coat, notice that it is dull like a primer to increase the physical binding properties to the top coat..
The final layer, top coat was the clear which is where the shine added to the surface. A good thick coat of clear allows plenty of material for block sanding any defects out of the paint and polishing. If necessary more clear coat can be added later if the sanding extends through the clear and into the color layer during the cut-and-polish phase done long after the paint has cured.
Entry: 3/18/08 - Today was the day to retrieve my painted 912 "roller" from the body shop. I was able to borrow Roger's tow dolly and call on my faithful F250 pickup to drag the painted body shell on wheels back home. The total bill for painting the car was right at $6K with all the additional prep work I chose to turn over to the professionals and I'm glad I did, the surfaces are like glass with no visible flaws. I got another photo of the painter, Ken (on the left) with his assistant Russell standing by the car, all ready for towing home.
Once home, I just happened to catch my neighbor Andy who helped me roll it off the tow dolly and into my "showroom" garage. I can't stop gushing about how nice it turned out. My work is not flawless but overall I am feeling very good about the overall quality compared to factory-build standards and think this will present well at the local car shows.
Here's a close-up shot of the Karmann paint code badge showing the care taken in masking off the details...
The fuel filler area with black satin interior and new seal, just waiting for that new gas cap and protective flap. The care taken in the masking is evident under the fenders and inside the compartments, excellent attention to details.
Entry: 8/24/10 - The 912 is back in the bodyshop getting the "showcar treatment" with a complete cut-and-polish and repainting any defects that can't be polished out. I missed sealing a pinhole on a weld seam next to the left headlight and a bubble formed so that needed to be repaired. The clearcoat sagged all the way down the recess on the hood for the air intake grill and it was more expedient (thus cheaper in labor cost) to just sand it out and repaint instead of trying to block sand and polish without going through the clearcoat. Good thing we had mixed a gallon of the Bahama Yellow well over 2 years ago when we originally painted the car and it is still good. Ken, my painter at Aldercrest Auto Rebuild in Lynnwood doesn't seem to mind the 140° F heat in the paintbooth used to cure the sealer/primer, meanwhile on the other side of the camera, I'm about ready to faint! The entire car has been polished and all the sanding marks and orangepeel are gone, it looks stunning! Too bad I need to start over with adjusting that damn hood, I had just gotten it perfect again after it had settled from the original adjustment! I can't wait to see the completed work in a couple days!
Entry: 8/28/10 - The final cut-and-polish of the 912's paint is done and I've dodged the raindrops to get the car is safely back into my garage. I can't say enough good things about the work that Nick Stack's shop does and the attention to detail that Ken (the painter) paid to my paint. I'm always amazed at how great I'm treated there and the great relationship we've built over the years, it makes me excited to get the 356C into their hands in a couple years when I get it ready for paint. Now I just need to readjust the front hood to how it was before we removed it (knowing it can be perfect is reassuring), install the emblems and wipers and do the final Wurth wax body cavity sealer application now that I'm not worried about contaminating the painting surfaces. I've also got to think about getting my Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio repaired and getting a set of wheels rechromed so the accessories match the bill of sale configuration. The end of this project is definitely within sight now!
Entry: 9/28/12 - Here's one of those "educational opportunities" I've encountered in the course of restoring my own cars. You can do your very best work and still some things come back to bite you. This was the original left fender that came on the car from the factory and I made heroic efforts to save it by fabricating a new flange where the old one was rusted out and fabricating many difficult patches for rusted areas. When it came time to fit the fender to the hood, there was a bit of a variance with the gap at the bottom of the hood so I cut a strip in the fender surface, hammered it to fit exactly 3 mm gap and welded it back up, thinking it was done. A rust bubble appeared soon after painting and it was addressed in the last posting above. Well, now 2 years later it's back again in the same spot!
The back side of the weld wasn't sealed so I've gone back and cleaned it up, applied NAPA "Rust Converter" and will seal it with seam sealing caulk and undercoating. If there is a pinhole, this should stop any further bubbling.
Yet, I can't believe it's a pinhole in the weld and after showing it to more knowledgeable Porsche body restoration experts, the consensus is that I welded too close to factory body solder and by melting it, I reactivated the acid flux which now leaches through the new paint! In fact I was told, removal of all the old factory body solder is now standard practice at 356 Porsche restoration shops for exactly this reason. I try and remember that it's only bodywork and my painter Ken still has the leftover paint in his possession so come dry weather next spring, I will be tenting off the rest of the car and media blasting this entire area back to bare metal and starting over. The thing I keep telling myself is that if there were other areas of the car having this problem it would be showing up by now and this is a "bolt on" piece of the car which can be replaced completely with a brand new one if I really want to admit defeat and spend that kind of money someday.