It’s been a little while since I sprayed down the first layer of primer, but this week I finally got around to the second (and last) layer! To get all the excuses for this delay out of the way: I had school, I had work, I went on a two-week holiday, I had to touch up the first layer here and there, and I wasn’t very motivated.
“Full disclosure: The first time mixing paint I made a dumb mistake.”
My experience with painting is very limited. I spray painted my bicycle once as a teenager and a handful of car parts since then, but that’s it. I still figured it’d be a wise idea to paint the Fiat myself. My father in law bought a small compressor and starter kit when we did a welding course a while back. This starter kit included a paint gun, like the ones on tv, but then more low budget looking.
1970 Fiat 500 – Painting the car
The process of removing a large dent in the rocker panel started a long while back. I bought a sliding hammer and welded loops of wire onto the panel, which didn’t work. Then I bought large washers that I welded onto the panel and that did work. As this was my first time doing any sort of body work, it still didn’t look great. The surface was much less smooth as I had hoped it would turn out and it was definitely not unnoticeable.
“Golfball of the one and a pea of the other, mix it up and apply generously.”
The only reason why this surprise is a little surprise is because the Fiat 500 is that small. I’d say it is a pretty large surprise if you’d look at the amount of sheet metal that needed replacement. It all started with my friend pointing out a rusty corner in the back of the engine bay, we’re still friends though. Turns out the rusty corner was part of a rusty edge, which was part of a rusty panel.
“It all started with my friend pointing out a rusty corner in
the back of the engine bay, we’re still friends though.”
It has been a little while since the last time I worked on my 500. I’d like to blame that on my graduation internship that needed my full attention, but the non-stop sanding took away some of the excitement as well. My graduation internship period has ended and it was therefore time to continue working on the little Fiat.
“That only took this soon-to-be engineer half an hour to discover.”
Ten days ago it finally happened, the little Fiat got her replacement panel welded in! I trial fitted the panel many times with and without the nose, and was finally sure that everything was ready.
1970 Fiat 500 – Battery tray panel patch panel
Before I brought home the Fiat 500, I had already forgotten about the dent in the rocker panel on the passenger’s side. It looks like someone drove up against a curb or something and it runs almost the entire length of the panel. In their defence, the rocker panel is very short so almost every dent would run the entire length of it.
1970 Fiat 500 – Rocker panel dent removal
After cutting the front end off of the little Fiat, I started on preparing the remaining panels. I got the two replacement panels in and started on cutting the battery tray panel out of the car. It’s my first time doing such a project and every cut was measured four times.
“The inner fenders are convex when looking at them from inside the luggage compartment, the replacement panel was shaped concave on those two corners. “
The garage that I’d been waiting for finally became available last week and I immediately moved in the little Fiat. I am now renting my father in law’s old garage while he moved to a larger one on the same premises. This means that apart from still being stuck with some of his stuff (as we haven’t properly moved into the new one yet), I also have all his tools laying about in my garage.
“The little Fiat however didn’t fit, it was too narrow.”
Near the end of december of 2012 I found the perfect car. Perfect in my eyes that is. The Volkswagen Beetle had many shades of yellow, quite a bit of rust and a gearbox only happy when going forward.
1972 Volkswagen Beetle – Maasvlakte beach