Stud Welder & Slide Hammer
Dents are usually concave, meaning they need to be brought up to flatten the panel. Often they can be fixed with a hammer and dolly, but sometimes only the top surface of the metal is exposed. In the example, there were dents along the top corner of the roof that were just over the roof brace structure. There was no room to use the hammer and dolly so we turned to the stud welder and slide hammer to pull the dents out.

Hammer & Dolly
If you can easily access both sides of the panel, a hammer and dolly can be used to bring up lows and push down highs. Using these tools is more of an art than a science, and those who have the feel for it make effortless work out of it. Inexperienced body men can pretty easily make things worse. There are two basic ways to use these tools. The first is to hit the hammer on the metal with the dolly directly behind it. This is called hammering "on dolly." This effectively stretches the sheetmetal because the force of the hammer onto the metal with the dolly backing makes the metal slightly thinner. When the metal stretches, it has no place to go but up. The second way to use these tools is to hammer "off dolly." You hold the dolly under a low spot, and hammer just to the side of it on the surrounding high spots. The rebound action of the dolly after the hammer strikes brings up the low spot while the hammer brings down the high spot. Having the right shaped dolly can strongly improve your results because the closer the dolly matches the panel's contours, the less work it will take to get a good product. A starter set by Performance Tool can be found at SummitRacing.com for under $20. Ron Covell is an extremely experienced body man, and has made a living creating tools, videos, and books to share his talent. If you're interested in becoming more fluent in the art of metal shaping, he's the guy to watch.

Smoothing
If you're doing a complete repaint like we are, now is the time to make any body changes you desire. We wanted to clean up the look of this car because decorative trim isn't consistent with our Street Fighter theme. Street Fighter to us says nothing too fancy, nothing unnecessary, and a little something racy. This leaves no room for the fancy bright work meant to attract a different crowd.

Block Sanding
Block sanding will make or break your paintjob. If the panel isn't sanded correctly it will be visibly wavy and uneven. After we smoothed out the metal, we applied a skim coat of filler for the final tune. It's next to impossible to make the panel perfect without the use of this stuff. There are many times through the body and paint preparation process that we use block sanding, even in the final sanding of the clearcoat. The Dura Block set from Summit Racing has seven different shaped blocks to cover all of the contours on your car. When used correctly, they ensure a smooth, flat surface through the bodywork and paint prep stages. To go with these blocks, Summit Racing also carries sandpaper in rolls with a sticky back to adhere to the blocks. Another thing that comes in quite handy is a dual-action (DA) sander. Summit offers a sander Value Pack that includes the pneumatic DA sander and four 3M sanding paper rolls that include 80-, 180-, 320-, and 400-grit (PN CMB-17-0032) for $189.95.

Trim Painting
Mustangs have a whole lot of bright trim on them, but the shiny look wasn't going to match the sleek and tough look we're going for with Project Street Fighter. The trim that we didn't remove we painted satin black to help it blend in with the car. Before we could paint, we had to clean and sand the trim. As you can see, the trim had overspray from the last three paintjobs. We used a razor to scrape it off. Once the parts were clean, we hit them with 160-grit sandpaper to give the surface bite for the paint to adhere to. We used Dupli-Color's Trim Black for all the exterior trim and also for the inside of the doors, fenders, and taillight buckets shown here.