Corvette Central

Concept 57 - Paint

A PAINTED P-57 - Our Project Car Really Starts To Shine
Progress on P-57 has been steady, but few things give the appearance of progress like putting paint on the body. While there are almost a million reasons to get some paint on the body quickly, there are twice as many reasons not to.
There's an old saying that paint covers a multitude of sins, and there's a good reason they say that. You can't see through paint, at least not until the ink on the check is good and dry and it has cleared the bank. Then those things you couldn't see will become very obvious. That is why the team at Walden & Younger has been so committed to getting everything under the paint right before applying the shiny stuff. In the last installment, we covered the steps to insure that all the bright work will fit P-57 without having to do any touchup after the car is painted. With all the holes in their proper locations, the surface of the body must now be prepared to ensure the paint's longevity.
BEFORE THE BASECOAT: For P-57 we used Dupont's Chroma-system, which we received from C-P Auto Parts in Rainsville, Alabama. We started with DuPont 2K Urethane Primer-filler over P-57's original gel-coat, which was then smoothed out and covered with Dupont's 2K Premier Sealer. This was provided to seal off the body in preparation for the basecoat, and the shaded sealer also helps in the color coverage with the basecoat. Then two coats of DuPont Chroma Premier Base Coat (black for the body and silver for the coves) were applied and covered with DuPont Chroma-Clearcoat. To contrast with the black exterior, we covered the trunk, dash and interior in Venetian Red in single-stage DuPont Chroma Premier paint. We added a flattening agent when the interior was painted to slightly reduce the shine on the dash and surrounding surfaces. They definitely stand out in that sea of black. Once the paint fumes had cleared and the paint had a chance to cure, it was time to pull P-57 out of the spray booth and take its new paint job from shiny to superb by rubbing out that fresh finish.
1 While the body was off, we took the time to clean the chassis prior to additional scheduled work.

2 The GM-supplied engine wiring harness and computer laid out for trial-fitting to engine. Note the tags - each wire was labeled, simplifying hookup.

3 Charles Younger and Kenny Sloan trial-fit the engine harness and determine how best to run the wiring for keeping it neat on top.
BEFORE THE BODY: While the paint work was being completed on P-57, it was the perfect time to do some final wiring of the engine compartment. The GM-supplied ECM and wire harness for the engine was laid in place, since it would be much easier to place the wires without leaning over the freshly painted fender. Since we are building P-57 from scratch and using non-stock components, the wiring harness is generic in nature and must be fitted to the application, as is the case with many of the components that will combine to make the completed car. It's worth the effort, but definitely a consideration if you are the type of person who usually lives within the pages of the original AIM manuals.
While the paint work was being completed on P-57, it was the perfect time to do some trial wiring of the engine compartment.
4 The removable dash panel (a benefit of Corvette Central's Concept '57 body) needed to be molded into position in preparation for painting. Again, you don't want to be doing any fabrication after the paint is applied.

5 Adrian Walden applying the DuPont Urethane primer to the deck lid.
6 Adrian applying the red to the underside of the deck lid. P-57 will have the Venetian Red interior, so the lower dash, convertible top storage area and trunk will be painted red as originally. The red is single-stage paint with a flattening agent used on the dash to give a semi-gloss appearance.

7 Adrian is masking off the door cove to paint the cove silver. Sealer and primer have already been applied.

8 Adrian applying primer to the dash areas of P-57.

9 Adrian getting ready to mask off the fender cove for painting. The fender and cove have already been sealed and primed for paint.
10. Adrian painting the trunk area red. Note the masking to keep any foreign paint spray from settling on the primer.

11. P-57 is now painted. The beautiful black paint really makes the Venetian Red of the trunk and dash stand out. The bubble in the spare tire area is where we cut it for access to the rear suspension parts. The piece was inverted and fiberglass flanges were added to keep the elements out of the trunk area.
THE BOTTOM LINE: At this point, we have a freshly painted body that looks great and a gorgeous frame that's just begging to be covered with it. Taking the time to trial-fit everything before we got to this stage helped ensure that they both stay that way. In our next installment, we'll be looking at the steps necessary to mate the two components together, and we'll be preparing P-57 for its debut in the Corvette Enthusiast booth at Corvettes at Carlisle in August.
Thanks to Corvette Enthusiast - Written by: Andy Bolig / Photography by: Walden & Young Corvette Restoration
Copyright 2006