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Tail light update


JanZverina
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The rear of my '63 is finally done after weeks of painting/sanding/polishing - I now have arms like Popeye! Everything reinstalled nicely - the redone bezels are from CARS and there were no issues with fit and quality. I was a bit concerned about the rubber bezel-to-body gaskets they provided, because they were just a length of L-shaped rubber and not pre-formed. But some yellow Permatex weatherstrip cement and masking tape to hold them in place while they set did the trick. Here are some before and after shots.

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Thanks, guys. Those fat rubber gaskets snugged right up (have no fear, Ed!) and as you can spy in the pix with the taillights out, my right opening had some rot at the top, which meant a leaking gasket probably for the better part of half a century. There were some pinholes on the horizontal part of that flange so I filled those in after treating the metal with an ancient but effective can of Naval Jelly. But showroom quality? To be honest, hardly. Matching and blending the panels is an art I'm slowly learning, and thankfully the first-gen Rivs had some crisp creases in their quarters and tail so those blends are somewhat less noticeable in spot repairs. But hardly a concours job. Plus, since this car was last painted sometime in the late 70s or 80s, it's had some fade to its Teal Mist overcoat. I had my paint guy hand-mix a "faded" tint of the factory color to get a better blend onto the top panels. So lots of 800 to 1500 to 2000 wet sanding, and then polishing compound with a wheel. I'm using a base coat/clear coat system by Matrix, which here in CA (the land of environmental zealots), is more environmentally friendly that lacquer or even acrylic enamel. It's used widely in Europe and dries fast and seems to be very durable. But like any paint rubouts, patience and a good eye are key! Like Kaber, I want to drive and enjoy this car between projects, and not take it off the road for xx months at a time. Next stop - stopping better. All my parts are in for a conversion to a dual master so back to mechanics from cosmetics.

Next cosmetics project is refinishing the sail panels. Were these seams hand-soldered from the sail panel to the roof during production? Because that's were mine shows some blems under the paint. I've seen the same issue on lead-soldered British cars.

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The top as well as the panel under the window, the tail piece. the tips of the front fender all have leaded seams where two panels are joined that have a flat surface. I got to melt out the seams on my rear window panel, it was actually kind of fun to see the lead melt then ball up and roll off the body. After years of exposure it's not uncommon to see where those lead seams are. It's as if the sun itself is baking the lead and taking it toll over years of exposure.

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Thanks, Ed - I thought so. I have slight blems at the top of each sail panel, and they both work back to the rear window at the top of each corner. Is there a technique to stabilizing this or do I just sand or grind topically and refinish with a skim coat?

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It's not unstable. The pieces were brazed together then leaded in for a smooth surface. I think that a skim coat is the way to go, unless you have the paddles and lead and are an accomplished body man in the application of lead. :) I don't even know if lead is available; you'd have to melt down a bunch of tire weights or fishing weights to come up with enough.

Ed

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Guest dwhiteside64

Hey Jan just want to say everything looks excellent! I was thinking about replacing my bezels but they are similar in condition to my rear bumper (driver quality) so I didn't want a mix-match of chrome quality as this can look even worse sometimes. I take it your bumper was re-dipped recently??????

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Thanks Dave and Darren,

I'm far from being an expert painter, but I try to get better with each project. Patience is the key. As for my rear bumper (or the front) there's no sign they've been re-chromed, and there are plenty of imperfections, such as just inboard of the outer "bullets and right under the top roll - a common area for blemishes. But all the most visible surfaces are in very good shape. As I've said before, I was very lucky to find such a rust-free example, especially one that spent its life in the Pacific Northwest.

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