I got a really interesting request for a cool project from a guy out in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Woody Frees.
If you’ve seen the Nicolas Cage movie “Kick Ass” you may remember the car in there driven by the character Red Mist, which Galpin auto sports built. They bought a body kit from me which is actually nine pieces of the 19-piece Rich Evans body kit that are used to create the car I called the Hardcore Knight. See my previous columns in Autobody News for more on making that car and the kit.
Galpin built this superhero car which is now called the Red Mist so it was real interesting to get a phone call from Woody. His kids had seen the movie. They’re 13 and 15 years old and they wanted that car! Woody thought that would make a great bonding project for father and sons. That caught my attention, and I said man, this will be something that they’ll work on together and actually never forget about it. Woody went and bought a car out here in Long Beach, had delivered to the shop, so I could make it into a numbered car.
I get the painting and the body kit installed on this vehicle and gather up all the pieces to replicate the car to the exact specs in the movie and then ship a lot of the interior pieces; the grill, etc. that so they can finish up the project themselves back in Florida.
This is number seven of the hundred cars that I put out. I wanted to share this project with you guys and go through some of the steps that it takes to to do this project. This will be part one of likely two stories.
We’re going to start with a 2008 GT Mustang. Unfortunately Woody had tried to get a car the right color but it showed up in the wrong color. They make two different Ford reds, so it’s going to be a little more of a project just because we have to change the car color, but of course we have the capability of doing that here at Huntington Beach Bodyworks.
We’re going to put vertical doors on so I contacted my buddy Louie up at Vertical Doors Inc. and made an appointment. I’ve seen a lot of vertical doors and I’ve run into other projects down the line in repairing vertical doors where they’re welded on or they’re hitting or they’re damaging the car, but I’ve found that Vertical Doors Inc. has the best product out there. They’re very professional in the way they do things and their scheduling. It took two weeks to get an appointment.
I took the front end off of this car because we’re not going to use this bumper. I took the fenders off so we could get through the process a little bit more and then, since we’re changing the base coat color, I painted the A pillars so when we put the new hinges on for the vertical doors I wouldn’t have to work around those.
That will save me time in the long run. Always think out what you need to do on your next step it’ll likely save you some time. Time is money and that’s what we’re all trying to save. Always seek a better way and keep up your quality.
I loaded up the car in my trailer from KC Sliders. The new trailer that I’ve got makes things really easy to load up. It takes 15 minutes to drive the car up, push a button, load it into the trailer, close it up, tie it down, and I’m on my way.
I’m about 40 minutes away from Vertical Doors (they’re off of Graphite Drive,1240 Graphite Dr, Corona, CA 92881). If you are looking at doing vertical doors go to www.verticaldoors.com for a look. These guys are the best in the business, guaranteed, and they have the best quality parts. There’s nothing else out there that can compare. As I get there he’s got his guys ready, as promised, right on time. I pull in and unload the trailer, drive it in. The guys get right to work. Louie and I head out to lunch, come back, and these guys are almost finished. It takes your car to a whole different level. The way the doors operate, they still swing open but then they swing up and it gives it a real cool look. Thanks to the guys at Vertical Doors, I’m back on the road by 3:30 pm and on my way back to the shop to put this vehicle up on a rack. It gives me a little bit more easy access to installing the Rich Evans body kit.
We’re going to install the left and right rockers, the left and right rear wheel flares, and the rear bumper. I need to remove the OEM bumper, put on the Rich Evans bumper. I need a reference point where the flare needs to be because we’re going to widen these rear wheel wells 2 inches. I take the rockers, to use the reference point, and I’ll clamp the rocker up on the front, then I’ll put in the natural mounting points to the pushpins so it holds itself up.
I’ll take the flare and set it up, line it up with the rear bumper, have it meet that rocker panel, and then I’ll scribe a line and follow the radius of the flare so I have a reference point. Then I take everything back off and grind the left and right quarter panels where the flares are going. I’m going about 2 inches above that scribe line just so I can get rid of all the paint, and then I’m going on the inside of the wheel well and grind that as well.
I notch a piece out and reuse the OEM lip of the rear wheel well and extended it out 2 inches. Then I’ve got a template where I make a replacement piece which is only at the top of the inner wheel well. We’re losing about 2 inches, so there’s a 2 inch gap. I come back and fill that gap flush so you can’t even tell that there was anything done. Going on to the rockers, I grind it where I mold this body kit to the car. I think it looks a lot better. The kit’s made to snap into OEM parts and then you can use double-sided tape to put the flares on and extend your wheels out so you get a little bit more meat on the ground. It gives it a little bit more of a muscle feel. We want that modern muscle look.
The steps on flaring out the rear wheel wells are 1) notch a piece out 2) take about an 11-inch piece of the wheel well and 3) cut up about an inch-and-a-half right at the line where that sharp edge is right on the wheel well and 4) cut there.
I’m usiing my Model# CP7900 pneumatic reciprocating saw from Chicago Pneumatics, and cut twice into the wheelwell. I saw all the way through the inner and the outer of the quarter. After doing that I’ve got a template. I’ll go inside and mark out the inner piece where I cut and I’ll use the saw for that as well. So I cut the inner piece as you can see the notched piece that I’ve taken out in the photo.
I go along that area and when I’m extending the wheel well the piece I’m cutting is going to have to move up so it fits directly to my flare kit to flare it out. I reinstall the flare kit after cutting. What I do is cut all the way up to that upper lip right before it meets the flare. I make about 10 cuts (every inch) that allow me to get a hammer up there and and massage those cuts so I can fit this piece back in. I take my rear flare, bolting it back up to the quarter panel, lining it up to the bumper and lining it up to the rocker panel. Now I’ve got a big hole and I’ve got that piece I cut out so I’ve ground that piece that I cut out, that 11-inch lip, and then I go to where I made those 10 notches. I hammer that until it hits flush to the flare. I take the piece that I’ve notched out, push it up there and it’s going to fit against that flare tight. Then it’s going to come right up to the lip where I can put three clamps on it and that will give me the positioning where that notched piece needs to sit. It needs to come out so I’ll have a solid structure to mount the flare to. It becomes part of the car to give me a stronger structure for the vehicle. I tack a few spot welds that’ll keep it in place. I remove the flare. I come back and weld everything up and make sure I check it every once in a while to make sure nothing is moving. Then I cap off the front and the rear so we have no moisture whatsoever to corrode or rust up later on. I come on the inside of the wheel well and I weld that patch piece in there solid. I tack it up in the center part first and I’m using 20 gauge metal so I’ll be able to roll it and massage it with a hammer so fits perfectly and that gives me a nice little radius, and it allows it to look natural. If you look up there you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s ever been changed. Then I come back and grind everything smooth. Obviously I take some weld-through primer and hit the insides of the metal so we don’t have any bare metal being exposed.
Now I’m ready to put the body kit on. 3M has got a new product out. Actually it’s not really a new product, more a modified product. It’s a short strand fiberglass reinforcement filler but now we can use it in the “bondo-mixing gun.” Officially that’s the 3M dynamic mixing system which I’ve been using it for about two years. If you don’t know it go to 3M.com and look up the 3M dynamic mixing system. Phenomenal product, lessens your work time and time is money. It eliminates pin holes. One squeeze of the trigger and you’re mixed and ready to go. That’s the best thing. Staying up on technology and all these new products these companies are coming out with. I’m a big fan of 3M, which is just a phenomenal company. I’ve working with them for years and they don’t quit amazing me on the products they’re putting out. They’re really helping us, the end users, to be able to speed up our process, keep up our quality, and use fewer steps that allow us to make money and get on to the next project.
So I’ve been trying this new reinforcement filler out and compared to the way I used to do it before, I’m saving almost an hour-and-a-half to two hours installing my body kit. Before I’d have to mix it up, put it in a plastic bag, almost like cake decorating, and squeeze out and you know the rest. This tool has helped me tremendously in every project I touch. Visit 3M.com and find the dynamic mixing system, it’ll definintely help you out. As I install this, obviously I keep the rear bumper there, and tape it where the flare meets the top of the bumper. That way it’ll get a perfect form to where it meets it, and then I can pull the bumper off and just pull the tape away and we’ll have a perfect mirror image of what needs to be to fit.
Back to molding the rear flare. We talked about the rear bumper and the flare meeting the rear bumper and now on to the flare itself. Obviously there are 6 mouting points that I used, set screws to screw through the flare to the body. This way I have a reference point for putting the flare exactly back to where it needs to be. Where it meets the rocker panel I have two screws going through the flare into the rocker panel and what I do is take the dynamic mixing system and the short strand fiberglass reinforcement filler and run a bead along the rocker.
I put the rocker on first and I clamp it up to the front. I’ve got the car up on the lift which allows me not have to get low to the ground and enough working room. I get the doors tilted up. I’m running the bead on the inside of the rocker. Then I’ll run a bead on the front part of the rocker and use the original OEM clips to clip that rocker to the unit structure where the old rocker molding used to go.
After doing that then I’ve got to support the bottom of the rocker with a floor jack so it doesn’t sag in any way. I get the flare and put the fiberglass reinforced filler on the inside of the flare. That’s on the outside where it’s going to meet the lip and right where it’s going to meet the quarter. Also where it meets the rear bumper and meets up to the rocker panel. I use that so I can bond these panels all together and doing that takes two people. That way we can run the screws through the reference holes and screw it into place and also come back and nicely smooth out the fiberglass reinforcement filler to make for a better contrast when shaping this in the end.
I take three clamps and very lightly clamp them. I don’t want to clamp them too hard because they’ll warp the fiberglass flare.
Then I let it set for a couple hours, at which point I’m ready for the next step which we’ll go into next column. We should be able to go through the painting process and the delivery process of this vehicle. We’ve got wheels to do. We’ve got a scoop, the two tone, and the graphics to put on the side of it, as well as paint the car complete and take the mirrors, primer and block the mirrors out.
We’ve got the wing to put on and then all the other additional pieces to the project. We’ll get through that next phase.
I’d like to thank VerticalDoors.com for getting me in and out of there, 3M for all the product that they supply me with. I’d like to thank Chicago Pneumatics for all the pneumatic tools that help me do my job quicker and also I’d like to thank Woody Friese and sons for such a great project and I look forward to moving this project out to Fort Lauderdale and see them complete it. So another great project is underway. I’ll talk to you next month. Thanks guys.
To view a PDF of this article PLEASE CLICK HERE.