So it has been a little while since the last update and I blame the winter for that. I often hear and read of projects being winter projects so that they’re done when the weather is nice enough to actually drive them. Don’t do that. Winter is terrible. Last time I did some work (in december), the heater couldn’t get the temperature above 10°C. It was very cold and I was sanding the whole time I was there. So now that temperatures have hit the double digits it is time to continue my project.
“Just seeing that awful matte white primer made me want to give up and be one of those people who try to sell their unfinished projects online saying there just isn’t enough time to finish it.”
I knew I absolutely hated sanding before starting on that little, red car of mine. I haven’t had much experience with it and was very happy about that. Then I figured a little car like the Fiat 500 should be doable without absolutely losing my mind. Boy was I wrong.
1970 Fiat 500 – Straightening out the door
It happened, it finally happened! The new nose is permanently attached to the little Fiat and she’s looking real good! There’s still a fair bit of work left before actually hitting the road though. Welding on the new front panel, however, is a major step in this project and also for me personally. She looks like a car again when I squint real hard.
“I am really not sure why this all happened, so it’ll probably happen again next time.”
Today was the day, finally. I had this day planned a couple of weeks back, but then the daily broke down. Gotta love dailying classic cars. Apparently glueing back a windshield in a Volvo 145 is complicated and takes forever during the summer holiday. No worries, Dutch public transport is pretty good. So today I finally got around to laying down the first bit of red on my Fiat 500.
1970 Fiat 500 – Sanding for the top coats
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