|The '63 Lincoln on the show field at Newport, RI|
|The rust bubble that got the ball rolling|
|The inner frame of the hood shows the voids where water was trapped|
|The hood, removed and stripped of paint|
|Little rusts spots were everywhere, hidden under paint|
|A stud welder in use on a fender (not this Lincoln)|
We drilled into the frame behind the hood and sprayed Waxoyl rust treatment into the cavity. We hope that will slow the process of corrosion from inside. Short of cutting the hood apart and remaking it that is the best anyone can do.
|The studs have been ground off and smoothed|
|The hood, painted and ready to go back on the car|
|The fender tops are painted sans hood so paint flows into the undressed area smoothly|
|The assembled car, curing and ready for final buff and polish|
The repair process you've seen here was used on a Lincoln. The job would be essentially the same on a Chevrolet or even a Fiat. We show a repair of a hood but this same assembly technique was used on quarter panels and other parts of car bodies, and these repair techniques apply there too. Rust-throughs at spot weld seams are more common than many people realize.
Experience with work like this is what distinguishes a restoration shop from a modern collision shop. Shops that fix wrecks are accustomed to doing fixed-price work for insurance companies. Rust is much less of a factor, and replacement parts are generally available. The goal of that sort of work is a quick repair that's "good enough" when seen from outside. Discerning enthusiasts want more, and that's where specialists come in. Look for lots more attention to detail, and more focus on repair than replacement because new parts are often not a viable option on 50-year-old cars.
In a repair shop, the final paint process may be the same on a 1955 car and a 2015 car, but all the steps leading from the car's arrival in our shop to it's rolling out the door will be different. And the paint process itself may be different as some antique cars are painted in "vintage" paint processes like nitrocellulose lacquer. It's surprising how different the skill requirements for restoration and collision repair are. The process of finding and fixing all the incipient rust spots, and then finishing everything we touch to a high standard is time consuming. But if you've got a rare and beautiful car that is what you want.
John Elder Robison is the general manager of J E Robison Service Company, independent restoration and repair specialists in Springfield, Massachusetts. John is a longtime technical consultant to the RROC and other car clubs, and he’s owned and restored many fine vehicles. Find him online at www.robisonservice.com or in the real world at 413-785-1665