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Moving Forward - S-l-o-w-l-y...

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October 19, 2012

Over the past few weeks, I've not had much to report on Phiona's restoration. In that time, I've been frustrated with the body shop on several occasions, having been told they were devoting or planned to devote time to get work back on track. There would be short starts and then nothing. Over this time, I have maintained my patience, knowing that overreacting or being obnoxiously aggressive would probably work against me. My belief is that a person can get more cooperation if he stays calm but is firm in repeating his objectives and needs. That said, I did need to repeat myself several times about first getting the front end parts of the car completed first. Those parts are the two front fenders and the radiator cowl (or shroud). These parts are assembled as a unit and then reattached to the car. Once those parts are completed, I plan to take them here to my house and put it back together. Once the rest of the car body is sanded and polished, the front will be reattached. 

Earlier this week I stopped by 1st Class Collision to check on the progress. Keith and Mike were working on wet sanding and polishing, with Keith about to begin on a rear fender. I asked to see how that process worked, so Keith obliged and took me through the steps. He works in 3 stages, first with a wool polishing pad (all these on power tools, of course) and liquid rubbing compound. Amazingly, a shine would begin to be revealed. Second step was a continuation of the first with another cloth pad and more polishing. Again, the shine began to become more distinct. Third step was to use a foam pad and polishing compound. It amazed me to watch this and to see how the foam pad produced a flawless, brilliant shine without swirl marks. The process was fascinating for me to watch.

                                                                                                                                                  Keith polishing on rear fender.


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The completed left rear fender.

Shiny left front fender with wet sanded (not yet polished) right front fender in the background.

Progress has been made, but also a couple of setbacks. After they completed the finish work on the left front fender, which is awesomely shiny black, I noticed a tiny divot in the finish. This little pock mark is less than a 1/16 inch, but very visible. I asked Keith and Mike, who had done the sanding and polishing, if this was their car, what would they want to be done. Keith was hesitant to commit an answer but Mike said he's want it made right. Exactly! So they are now going to have to repair the mistake (which Steve the painter, I understand, was not happy about). Related to that blemish, Mike found a small dent on one of the headlight buckets, which he told me about. That, too is scheduled to be fixed. I think they plan to try to have the dent pulled out, but am not certain about how it will ultimately be repaired.

Those little problems undoubtedly set back completion of the front clip, so I'll need to wait, once again.

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Right front fender, wet sanded, but not yet polished.

A good thing about the delays is that the weather is starting to cool down here in Phoenix. That will mean my working on the car will be more comfortable - once I have that opportunity. That is another reason to maintain my patience, with lower temperatures, I will be less likely to be sweating all over the shiny parts! 

Last week I sent ALL the wood grained parts back to Crin Dima in Illinois to be redone. 

As a reminder to an earlier post, Crin had done the woodgraining on all those parts earlier in the summer, but damages to the glove box door and gauge panel, required them to be sent back and repaired. When I received those two parts again, the coloration of the woodgrain was much lighter that the original coloration of the previously done parts. When I sent Crin the photos showing the differences, he offered to re-do the lot in the shade I preferred. The original shade of the woodgraining was dark, but I felt it was very good. Having a comparison, now, after Crin re-did the damaged parts, I could see the grain more clearly and, without a doubt it looked MUCH better (in my opinion). Though Crin told me he wanted me to be 100% satisfied, and offered to re-do the whole lot, I felt a bit reluctant. In some odd way, I felt I would be taking advantage of his generosity if I sent all of it back. There is nothing wrong with the darker shade, and I felt that, at the least, only the actual dashboard, glove box door and gauge panel would be all that needed to be re-done. Crin was sincere in his offer to make sure I was completely satisfied, however, even offering to pay for the shipping back to him. So, since the other parts were still in their original box and wrappings, I decide to have all the parts re-woodgrained in the lighter shade. Crin says he can turn them around quickly, so I imagine I'll be getting those returned in at least a couple more weeks.

Mis-matched woodgrain colors. All parts will be re-done in the lighter shade.

Speaking of the wood grained parts, they will not be installed till after the new upholstery is completed. Upholstery work will not happen until the paint process (wet sanding, polishing) is done. That is looking like several more weeks down the road. 

So, as it stands today, Phiona may very well not be ready until near the anniversary of her wild ride and crash on Nov. 27, 2011. 

My mantra continues to be "it'll be done, when it's done". Who knows WHEN…