This project is now coming up on its one year anniversary, even though it has been part time. I’ve been in Tarija either working, working on the car or other activities for about 108 days during this period.
This last month has been dedicated mostly to the floor. The body shop finally got moving, turned the car on its side and began sanding, welding and painting.
This is the first good look at the underside of the car since it has been sitting on old tires.
We turned it up on its right side on some tires and now we can see the progress on the floor where panels have been cut out and new ones welded in, replacing everything that looked weak and making the supports for the new front seats. We actually started the floor repair back in April, but delayed it while working more on the mechanical parts.
A couple of cracked supports and panels had to be welded where the car apparently took a beating over the years of unpaved roads.
After sanding, the bottom of the floor was painted with an anti-rust primer and two coats of undercoating. Now it is right-side-up and primed. We will now fill in the remaining holes, prime, caulk and put down sound absorbent and waterproofing material that is about 1/8 inch thick.
I decided to replace all of the stainless belt trim. I found reasonable used trim at the Corvair Ranch in Pennsylvania (USA), but needed to take it with me on American Airlines to Bolivia.
To do this I had to make a box that could withstand the luggage compartment of the airline. I wrapped each piece in newspaper and placed them with popcorn Styrofoam in this wooden box, wrapped in carpeting and shipped in a canvas bag.
Once I got to Bolivia I began sanding out the big scratches with 320 sand paper, 500 grit paper and finally polishing everything with stainless polish on the grinder. Here is a picture of one piece with one half polished, and then pictures of the ends of the four door trim pieces - before and after polishing. Now they are packaged back up for the trip to Tarija.
I decided to buy the gas tank guard considering how careless the attendants are in Bolivia. That took a lot of sanding to get rid of the dents and scratches.
I finally located a “Chevrolet” emblem for the hood, although it had a lot of corrosion. I cleaned it up, filled in the pitting with plastic aluminum putty and used it for a mold to make a new one from cast aluminum.