After a rainy start, carnival, and other distractions, we begin to progress on the finishing and assembly. I brought the polished belt trim and am dividing my time between the body shop, my house, and the machine shop, depending on which project I can do at the time.
My aluminum headlight bezels were dull grey. I started to polish them and found they were anodized and very difficult to polish through the anodization. I had started with my preferred method of fine steel wool, then progressed to the electric polisher, but neither was very effective.
Searching the internet I found that a bath in drain cleaner would take off that chemical treatment, so I soaked them in the local equivalent to “Drano”, sanded them with 600 grit paper - using a plastic ice cream spoon to push the sandpaper through the creases, polished the outside with a stationery polisher/grinder and the inside with a polishing wheel on my drill and another small one on my mini-grinder.
To keep them from tarnishing I coated them with an acrylic thermoplastic transparent paint.
I also took some dents out of the stainless headlight rims and galvanized bulb housings, cleaned them up and polished them eliminating a lot of rust, corrosion and minerals.
The headlight housings had holes that had to be filled in and new mounting bolts welded in.. Then I painted them with antirust primer and a final coat of black.
The door sills had a lot of corrosion on both the lower steel supports and the polished aluminum. One support was missing, but I was able to get one in the U.S.
I sand blasted the steel support pieces and painted them with an anti-rust paint.
The aluminum required a bath in drain cleaner, a lot of sanding, both with an orbital sander and by hand, and finally a lot of polishing. With the exception of 220 grit paper on the worst, all sanding was first with 360 grit and then 500 grit. Most of the polishing was with the drill as the sills are hard to control in the polisher.
Then they all received a coating of the clear thermoplastic acrylic paint to protect them against future corrosion. Here they are along with their steel underlayments after sandblasting, priming and painting.
The stainless trim for the roof drip rails and windows also had many dents, scratches and weathering. I don’t know how you can put so many scratches and dents in windshield and roof trim. I used a piece of leather under the trim while hammering out the dents with wood I shaped periodically on the grinder.
I fine tuned my polishing technique to aggressive hand sanding with 220 grit paper, followed by 360 paper, then 500, and finally 1000 grit paper to give it a final finish before polishing with the stick compound on the bench grinder/polisher. This was faster and avoided the caking of the polishing pastes since there was very little material to polish with the compound. 150 grit left scratches that were too deep, while starting out directly with 360 took too long, as it did not remove enough. In these two pictures you can see the reflections of my belt buckle and the Corvair script in the polished surface.
Note how polishing without sanding leaves polished scratches.
I’ve been looking and asking about the “Chevrolet” emblem for the rear of the hood since I got the car. One was once offered from Chile, but never worked out. I finally found one in poor condition (and soldered together from 2 pieces) at the Corvair ranch which shown on month 12. So I found a place that molds aluminum cemetery plaques and got them to make a mold with these pieces. Then I began the process of grinding and polishing to make the final piece for the car.
Here you can see the place that melted aluminum cans, wire, park benches and who knows what into molten aluminum and poured it into the two piece mold that was made in wet clay, then heated to avoid cooling of the metal before it reached into the last of it’s crevices. Some of the letters ended up completely filled and required correcting by hand with my mini-grinder.
I now have a donation of an original one (last picture), so this will probably end up as a spare.