Midlife at the Bodyshop, Week 4

September 4, 1999

Being on the road for business for two weeks was just too much to handle: had to come back a day early, just to see the ol' Midlife!  Went to the bodyshop with camera and splash shields for the front wheels, and was greeted with: "I hope you didn't bring any parts".  Huh?  Seems business was a little slow, so they worked on Midlife more than expected.  Rear splash shields for both front wheels and new driver's window regulator and scissors were ordered by the bodyshop from Virginia Classic Mustang, even though I had already ordered a full set of splash shields from CJ Pony Parts.  Uh oh!  Turns out he made the better choice, as the rubber shields were already attached to VC's parts, whereas CJ's required extra labor for attachment.  Thankfully, CJ's accepted the parts back on return.

So, I was escorted to the back of the shop to see what's what, and I was somewhat shocked: Midlife looked like the old Midlife at a distance: same color paint, all chrome back on, everything done!  In fact, my first reaction was that this must be a dream: they didn't even repaint!  Once I got up close, I was pleasantly surprised: a very nice coat of base coat/clear coat, a nice shiny finish, but some swirl marks and dust.  Turns out they need to do one more set of buffing and waxing, and its ready to go!  

Talking with the mechanic/technician, I found out some more goodies.  The driver's rocker was replaced, as he noticed spot welds where there shouldn't be any.  Hmm.  I guess that side got hit previously, explaining the difference in primer colors of the two door's interior.  I'm willing to bet the left door was a replacement.  And why was the driver's door so rusted along the bottom?  No drainage holes!  Can you believe it?  So when water ran down the windows, it just pooled in the bottom of the door, and eventually made its own holes!  They patched up the rust holes and repainted the door.  While the interior doesn't have that dimpled texture, I said not to worry prior to rebuilding.  It looks pretty damn good now, even without the dimpling!  I also had the speaker wire outlets on the door jamb and door moved over so they don't get crushed every time the door closes.  

As I figured, since the car had significantly less damage than estimated and with the guaranteed price, the shop did some extra things that was not part of the estimate.  They painted the entire underside, and detailed the engine compartment!  While not a perfect job of detailing, it's way better than I could have done.  I like their approach to their work.  They spent two days masking the interior out so they could apply base/clear coats continuously from the body through the door jambs and sills, so there is no sign of any break in the paint layers.  Quality stuff.  I'm impressed.

What's left?  The car goes to the alignment shop where specialists who set up cars for racing know how to handle camber and my negative set-back (i.e. longer wheelbase) on the driver's side.  They said most folks don't like to adjust camber, as removing the upper arms for shims puts the whole suspension "cattywhampus", and it is difficult to put back together.  They know how to do it, and won't charge an arm and a leg ($50 if no need for shims; $125 if they need to do that adjustment).  The Bodyshop will take it there and pick it up.  Finally, the bodyman said the windows may need to be adjusted to eliminate wind noise, so please bring it back after testing at higher speeds (hmm....I wonder how high?).  

All in all, I'm very pleased so far, and still haven't shelled out a nickel!  Just wait.  My only disappointment so far is that the color is quite not as dark as expected...after all, I really wanted the Ivy Moss Green or the Infinity metallic green shade.  Oh well.  With a T-code color from the factory, I guess I gotta stick with stock!

Here are some pictures.  Click on any one of them to see enlarged.  Largest size is only 130k.  Pictures taken on Sept. 3.

The full Monty! New chrome,
weatherstripping, paint, etc.  

This will be the only side the
Camaro's, Firebirds, and RiceBoy's
will see!  Hehehe.

New fender paint for engine
detailing.  If you look closely,
you can see my bracket to hold
the coolant recovery system
without drilling any holes!  Bummer,
though: my new water pump wasn't
painted, so now it looks yellow due
to rust (can't see it in the picture -
you think I wanna show bad stuff?)

The new antenna, and previous holes
fixed.  The windshield chrome was
pulled from a junk yard for $10 and fits
better than the previous repro junk.  
Thank God for stainless! Oh, both front
and rear windows already checked for
leaks and there are none!

New door sills.  The paint job on
the sill is simply extraordinary with
several clear coats.  Mirror finish!
Door sills are repro.

Backward view of door sill area.

New tailight bezels and bumper.

US Gov't says you have to have both
right and left side lights.

They did a fine job of the trunk, including new weatherstripping and alignment.
No more leaks.  They also clearcoated the underside of the trunk and hood.