Be careful what you bid for…
It’s safe to say #Project924 isn’t in the best nick, something I realised pretty early on. With every panel dented I accepted most were going to need to be filled. A couple however could be removed, the badge panel and the front bumper.
Not only were these damaged but to add insult to injury the previous owner had a poor attempt at repairing them. Although never getting past the filler stage.
I got straight on eBay and managed to bag myself a badge panel for about £17.00. It was shipped not long after, but when it arrived it had been badly packed, with the thinner ends being wrapped separately the one on the right was bent in transit. In the photo below the replacement badge panel is laid at the above the original one, on the right you can see where it is bent up slightly – the main problem being that this creased the metal.
So, I just needed to sort out the slightly bent right side, right? Well, not quite. When I came to look at the badge panel I noticed a little rust bubbling on the left side. Could I resist poking at this? No, I could not. Sure enough, left to my own devices, I soon had a little hole to deal with (below left).
Time to break out the P38 Easy Sand (above right). I have tried using this stuff before, years ago on my old Sierra. It wasn’t easy. I’ve never had any success… sand… cobblestones has always been my finish. At a first pass this time was no different. But going on the 924 I wasn’t going to leave this as some cowboy job, so I sanded back and had another go. And then again. And again. Eventually I got to a finish I was happy with and broke out the rust inhibiting primer.
After I finished with the the filler I set about painting, again something that I have been very poor at, historically. But I picked up some tips, watching a few different YouTube videos. Start spraying off of the area and finish the stroke away from the panel too. Starting with a thin tack coat I then built up the layers. As with the sanding it didn’t go great the first time around, but using some wet and dry I sanded back and had another go. The finish, above right, wasn’t too bad. For me.
Next I turned my attention to the bent side. The panel is quite light weight so I managed to bend it roughly back to the right shape by hand. But that wasn’t going to finesse it into the exact shape. I don’t have any experience of this sort of thing, or the right tools for the job, so I needed to improvise. I bought some tools as a job lot a while back and got a selection of G-clamps. Now was time to put them to use. As seen below left I clamped a piece of soft wood to the panel and slowly tightened the clamps, working in sequence to gradually pull it back into shape.
As seen above right, some of the paint did flake off where the metal had creased and then bent back into shape. I decided not to go with the P38 filler, instead I painstakingly built up layers of primer to get it level and then sanded it back again before painting. The finish I got was pretty good again, seen below.
As pleased as I am with the results I have since begun detailing the car, trying to get the paint back to something resembling red. As I’ve made some progress I think the badge panel is a different shade of red to the car – slightly more orange. So I am going to respray before it’s fitted. I am not expecting the finish to be an exact match, but I think it should be close enough for now.