During the cut and buff, the idea is to gradually bring the rough texture of the finish gradually flatter. One thing you are definitely not doing during cutting is surface leveling-that should've been accomplished long before this step. Skipping, or rushing grit stages will result in grooves or scratches that cannot be eliminated in subsequent stages. At odds with this is the finite amount of material built-up during the basecoat (for single stage) or clearcoat (dual-stage) application. If care isn't taken, it's easy to burn through these layers, especially at corners, points, or convex areas. The idea is to smooth the material with your media just enough to remove the fine scratches from the previous media grit.

As with block sanding large, flat areas at the primer stage, the cutting stage is done similarly, with flexible rubber blocks, or cawls. This is accomplished with water (wet sanding) during the cutting stage. This provides waste material a way out, preventing the media from loading up, and burning the finish.

Finishing Touches
This was the fun part. After hours of banging on panels, sanding filler, priming, sanding, priming again, painting, cutting, and buffing, we finally got to assemble the car. So much of what we've been doing has been in the body shop and covered with dust that the finished product was hard to imagine. Now that it was time to get it back together, we were finally getting the gratification.

Before the front and rear glass went back in to make the car look complete, the headliner needed to be installed first, since the headliner tucks under the glass. We had a brand-new headliner in the box of parts we got from the previous owner, but a new one goes for about $20 through NPD. Getting the headliner in isn't too difficult, but we had some help with that. We'll explain further in a later story when we dive into our interior overhaul.

Bodywork isn't easy, and there are many difficult steps to take. Problems come up and surprises are to be expected. It's one of the only modifications to a car you can do that doesn't come with a part number or guarantee. A combination of time, effort, hard work, and quality materials are responsible for the final product. And as we've shown, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get great results from Summit's paint system.

Media Blasting
If you can reuse the original sheetmetal without spending a ridiculous amount of time and money to save them, you should. It's no secret that reproductions often don't fit the same way the factory panels do. We took every panel that unbolted from the car and sent them to Pacific Coast Powder Coating in Palmdale, California, to have the paint stripped from the front and back of each piece. Along with surface rust, the media blasting took off the many repairs made over the years. We also got to see exactly how much damage there was. The media blasting gave us a fresh start with bare metal so that there would be no mysteries, and we could do the repairs right. If the car wasn't already fitted with new front and rear suspension as well as drivetrain, we would've had the entire shell stripped as well. Pacific Coast charged $550 to blast the panels, and if we had taken the entire shell with the panels, we'd be looking at around $1,000. If you've got the car stripped, we would recommend doing the whole thing.

Rust Repair
No old car project is complete without some rust repair. We were pretty lucky that there was no structural damage, just some small window frame and driprail rot. The correct way to repair a rusty area is to completely remove it. Just like cancer (as it's also called) it spreads, and if it's not completely removed it will show up again.