After the expert metalwork performed by Outlaw Motorsports, the body panel repairs required just a very thin skim of polyester body filler to achieve perfection. Our supply of filler, all ordered with the rest of our paint supplies from Eastwood, consisted of USC Feather-Rite lightweight body filler used for the bulk of the filling, and USC All-Metal and Finishing Putty to spot and glaze the repairs as needed in order to fill minor imperfections. The initial filler was worked starting with a sanding block and 40-grit paper, reapplying filler as needed. Once the repair was satisfactorily leveled and feathered in with the surrounding metal, it was sanded progressively finer with 80- and 220-grit sandpaper in preparation for the primer-surfacer coat. These repair areas can be sealed to prevent corrosion prior to the overall primer-surfacer application with Eastwood’s Self-Etching Primer, available in convenient aerosol cans.

Applying the overall primer-surfacer is a major milestone in any major paint project. All of the heavy metalwork and panel massaging should be behind you, and the surfacer coat will transform the patchwork quilt of bare metal, filler, primer, and putty into something that once again resembles the unified look of a car. The main function of the surfacer coat is to build a layer of material onto the surface of the bodywork that can be sanded into a perfectly smooth surface in preparation for the paint to follow. As Ron says: “The primer work is really important, since it is the base of the paint. The work here translates to straight panels.” Block sanding ensures that the surface imperfections will be leveled out of the panels, cutting from the primer layer at the high points, while allowing primer to remain in the lower areas to provide the fill.

For the initial primer coat, our Nova was partially assembled, including the front fenders and doors. The decklid, hood, cowl, and other loose panels were off the car to allow full coverage of the panels and the recessed margins in the body where they install. Outlaw applied the Evercoat Ultra High Build Polyester Primer Surfacer using an Eastwood Concours spray gun kit, fitting it with a 2.2mm air cap kit to easily handle the heavy-bodied primer. (Check out the video “Eastwood Paint Gun” on PopularHotRodding.com.) Once cured, the surfacer was sprayed with Eastwood’s black aerosol Guidecoat to give a visual reference for the sanding process to come. Block sanding the primer began with dry sanding, using an assortment of sanding blocks from Eastwood, and relatively coarse 180-grit paper. This aggressive first cut provides quick and effective leveling of the surface, and the guidecoat will quickly call out any remaining flaws needing attention.

After the initial primer and blocking work, the small remaining imperfections were filled and repaired with polyester finishing putty, and the car was once again given an overall coat of primer surfacer, this time using Eastwood’s 2K Urethane Primer. Once cured, the 2K was sprayed with guidecoat black, and sanded using a wet-sanding process, finishing with 400-grit for a virtually perfect surface. At the conclusion of the primer-surfacer stage, the body should be perfectly smooth and free of ripples and flaws, i.e. ready for paint.

Squirting Paint

While there is no doubt that the primer stage is a satisfying step in the paint process, things take another giant leap forward as color begins to be applied. Naturally, a course of action has to be planned out in advance of the paintwork, especially with a complete repaint. Plenty of blind areas and jambs need full coverage for a detailed look, and it is important to consider how those areas will be addressed. Ron at Outlaw decided the best approach would be to complete the inside portions of the hood and decklid, while painting the doorjambs with the doors already hung, but the fenders removed for full access of the hinge area while spraying. With these inside areas completed, they could later be masked, and the outside of the loose panels, and the front fenders could be shot off the car, while body and outer doors are shot as an assembly.