Prepping #RuthysResto for Paint!

We have been busy working on our family restoration ~ a ’39 Chrysler Royal named Ruthy. It is Tim’s grandmother’s first car, so when we have family in town, they are always eager to come in and help. Tim’s mom, sister and step dad were a big help in getting the car wet-sanded and prepped for paint.

ruthys classic restoration

Gail & Rex working on Ruthy

There is a lot of prep work to do before we can paint a car. First, the body has to be perfectly smooth.

Body work is done first. This entails applying bondo to the waves and indentations to the body of the car. The bondo allows us to sculpt the body back into its original shape and condition. Many of the parts on this car, like the fenders, are rounded, so they need to be contoured in the places where there were blemishes.

Here is a Before picture to give you an idea of how the car was originally. We needed to sand down the surface rust, do metal work on the bigger rust repairs, and then body work to the body. The rounded parts are more of a challenge since it’s a little easier to get a panel straight than perfectly curved.

Ruthy restoration before

Ruthy’s front end: Before

Once the body work is done, the whole car gets primed. Since this is a family restoration, it has taken longer to finish than our typical restorations. With Ruthy, as we work on different parts of the car, we’ve gotten them primed as well. Once we had a fender or door done with the metal or body work it needed, we got it in primer right away. This was so nothing would rust, and we could protect each part until it was time to paint.

ruthys classic restoration

Ruthy parts in primer

After primer, we need to sand the entire car down. We use water and a 600 grit sandpaper to remove any roughness and orange peel from the primer. Once it’s all smooth, we know the paint will lay down nicely.

Family shop day!

Wet-sanding is a big job, but someone has to do it! This car has been a true team effort. We know how much Grandma is going to love the finished product of this car, so we all want to pitch in.

ruthysresto prep for paint

All hands on deck

Now that the entire car has been prepped, we’re ready to get some paint on her. Time to roll it in the booth!

ruthysresto in the paint booth

Time for paint!

Ruthy is getting painted a dark blue color, very close to the original paint color, but even more beautiful. Tim wants to keep the final product under wraps until his grandparents can see it in person for the first time. So, until then…

classic car in the paintbooth

Before paint…

This restoration is truly from the ground – up. When the car is painted, buffed and polished, Tim will get the trim pieces put on and work on getting it running again. That’s going to be a big part of the job. We are taking the old motor out, and replacing it. We need to rebuild the fuel system and the brake system, and get all the wiring hooked up. Wire harnesses for these old classics are hard to come by, and very expensive if you can. Since the wire harness on Ruthy is in fair condition, we’ll be able to splice some new wires and connect them as needed.

Other than the exterior paint, our next step is to get the trim and the dash painted. We are doing a faux burl wood grain look on these pieces, so look for that blog coming up!

[Scroll down for a gallery of pictures from this day.]

TD Customs Paint & Body is an auto body shop in Mills River, NC, specializing in classic car restoration and custom paint options. Follow the links for more on our Services, including Auto Restorations. Also, be sure to browse through pictures of our work in the Photo Gallery.

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