Monday, May 31, 2010

A Case of the Shingles

Not too long ago I picked up a new project, a '52 Olds Super 88, which I dubbed "The Super". A lot of work as progressed on The Super, and also a lot of revelations. I can easily say The Super is living up to it's name, namely super rusty! When I first looked it over, the car appeared relatively rust free. It had an east coast undercoating job and the front fenders, door hinge pockets, quarter panels and trunk were mint. Even the spare tire holder was cherry. With a car that rust free, how could I go wrong? Let me tell you how wrong I was...




Soon after I repaired the water pump I decided to replace the carpet and spruce up the interior. No big deal, right? Wrong. I'll spare you the details of wrenching out the coffin-like seats, and get straight to the carpet. The carpet was filthy, way beyond cleaning, and looked as though a small contingency of barn yard animals had slept on it.






The first sign that something wasn't quite right was when I removed the seat belt  brackets and saw these rusty footprints.











Hey look, old school tar floor insulation. At least that's what it looks like...







                                                 



                          


Then I pulled it up... This is what the previous owner used for floor insulation - roofing shingles! The roofing material worked well, at holding in moisture. Every bit of water that ran under the carpet got trapped under this barrier and stayed there, creating ideal conditions for rust. What was probably put down for protection actually ended up increasing the rate at which the floor pans were rusting!












Behold the petri dish of moisture and rust formally known as floor boards. This looks worse then it actually is... really.










After lots of scraping, cleaning and prep work, I applied a nice thick coat of Por 15. The floor pans had minimal holes, it was mostly heavy surface rust. After the prep the pans still felt stiff and strong. Heck, I figured if they could hold my weight they were strong enough. Once the Por 15 was dry, the floor pans looked great. Rust? What rust?          


 


With the new carpet in place the interior is already looking 100 percent better.













Here it is all back together and looking pretty sharp.











  



To completely remove an interior and put it back in is quite an experience. One that I hope not to repeat anytime soon!
Now that the inside was complete, it was time for me to tackle the outside, namely the paint. After a close inspection, it looks like the car was only repainted once, a long, long time ago. Was it lacquer? Was it enamel? Who knows? Stay tuned as I attempt to color sand and buff The Super's paint. This ought to be interesting...

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