Vw Baja build – preparing fibreglass for painting

I bought this Baja about a year ago with the intention of painting it for use as a promotional car for the paint shop. I chose the Baja because there cheap and you can sign write them with out it looking out of place. The previous owner had built it using a second hand kit he got off ebay just to go green laning so quality was not important. However it is road worthy and has IRS fitted to the rear.

I am just going to go over the bodywork replacing any metal that has rusted out and repairing the cracked and stone guarded fibre glass wings. I may make a few subtle body mods along the way.

 

How it currently looks

Not to bad…. From a distance

But up close there are a lot of elements that will need to be addressed.

  1. All fibre glass parts are heavily cracked and have chunks taken out of them.
  2. All fibre glass parts are caked in stone guard
  3. Bonnet to narrow (see pic below)
  4. Rear spoiler / engine cowl badly cut and crudely bolted to the body
  5. Rotten doors complete with dents
  6. Side bars dented and more square in profile then round

Progress update 1

Actually started the project now as my paintshop had some downtime. Plan of action… Chop the rot, smooth the engine cowl repair the wings.

Scurfing off the bottom of the doors have revealed  some nasty holes on the outer skin and inner lower frame work.

We cut the skin and frame work off and made new sections from sheet steel and welded them in place.

Now we needed to do something creative to change the mood – Time to do the engine cowl.

First we removed the offending bolts and metal plates that held it on the car. Next we shortened the gutters and welded the seam shut with a slight recess to allow the cowl to fall in to profile with the bodywork.

The top and bottom of the cowl has been slightly duck tailed and the top has been squared off to give a more contemporary swage type flow in to the body (I hope, although may be a bit subtle when painted).

Creativity over with – time to start the first of the laborious rubbing down and repair jobs – wings. Wow just look at all those crappy layers of paint, cracks, splits, fillers. sometimes rubbing sown is like pass the parcel just with out a prize at the end.  Progress update 2

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed in the original photos above that the Baja has some odd after market headlights that don’t fit or align with the wings light cutouts. Weirdly I like this and think that it gives a more utilitarian/drag kit build look so they are going to stay that way but the holes are mutilated. So whilst repairing the wings I am going to make a 7 inch circular sander to reshape the holes.

I have also widened the bonnet and extended the front valance and cut a swage in the front to set it back slightly to give to extenuate a plastic bumper look as opposed to the usual Baja rounded front found with these old kits.

Progress Update 3

Before priming and flatting the body work I thought I better see if I should do anything with the interior so I plated up the dash and removed the toggles and switches (which all need re-placing and re-laying out anyway).  Progress update 4

Paint… glorious paint.

It was getting a bit hard to see the wood for the trees so we decided to prime the car to check how the body work was progressing. The primer revealed a couple of missed details so we dealt with them and then re primed the car and spent a couple of days rubbing it all down to get a good painting surface. Now we just add paint….>

Progress update 5

Flatten down the Clear coat and spend a day laying down the masking lines for the custom paint work to begin. Steady hand required.

Some of the curves have very tight radius and the fineline tape has a tendency to slide under the pressure after a few hours so you have to keep an eye out and check and renew regularly in those areas.

Progress update 6

Painting the blue metal flake. A new 2.5mm nozzle gun ordered and large metal flake 0.8 from specialistpaints.com . not opting for the old school flake as it is too messy and I don’t want it ruining my spray booth and the next 10 paint jobs we do.

First we painted the Bug in dark blue using a mix of old blues we had laying around the paint store. Then we mixed up the flake in some lacquer and let rip.

Looks great in the sun but needs something else for a bit of extra Bling…  Maybe some silver flake.

Progress update 7

Metal flake particles are obviously a lot larger then standard metallic particles and require a number of coats to apply them (2.5mm needle and aircap). When working with metal flake paint the lacquer that sits over each metal flake forms a convex meniscus producing heavy orange peel effects especially with so many layers. To get around this you usually recoat with plain clear lacquer to fill the pits (orange peel) this then gives a surface for flatting / colour sanding with out damaging the flake in the lower lacquer layers. However… we wanted a bit of extra sparkle so we did not re lacquer but instead colour sanded the metal flake paint directly. This removes the flake colour on that layer leaving you with a silver metal flake on top of the blue metal flake. We tested it on the bonnet to start with as it is easier to repaint a section of bonnet then the side of the car. Afterwards we clear coated and polished lightly to see the level of finish and depth of edges (2 coat flat white – against – 5 coats of metal flake) Check the photo above to see the results.

Progress Update 8

Stage 1 complete and car resembled for use. Stage 2 will be the hand signwriting using spun gold leaf. The engine wheels and interior are also to be completed. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *