When it comes to buying older cars the usual rule of thumb is to avoid rust at all costs. By following that logic, we’ve seen the Southwestern United States become a hotspot for what one might call “classic car buying tourism.” While this is nothing new for many enthusiasts, we’re at the day and age where a Fox Body is deemed a classic no matter how much that hurts our soul. As Californian’s seek out 1976 or older vehicles for emission reasons, Winter Texans and Snowbirds make a pilgrimage to avoid the cold winters of the north and seek out vehicles located in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
Where the Southwestern States lack rust, its gains in sunburnt cloth interiors and faded exterior paint, especially when it comes to single-stage paint seen in the 1980s. The Fox Body Mustang is no different and early models were often shot with one coat before it rolled out of the Ford factory. The combination of the unavoidable sunlight constantly beating down on the exterior mixed with lack of coatings applied, means detailers like PJ McMillan have their work cut out for them.
If the name PJ McMillan rings a bell, it’s probably because McMillan campaigns a stellar Red Fox Body in the True Street NMRA class. When not attacking the 1320 with his notchback, his day consists of detailing cars through his shop, PJ’s Performance Detailing in South Lyon, Michigan.
In this video, McMillan is restoring a 1986 Mustang that belongs to Brian Gdowski. Gdowski purchased the Fox Body Mustang from Arizona sight unseen and had it shipped to Michigan where it awaited its newest build. However, before the car received a new powerplant consisting of a turbocharged small-block Ford mated to a TREMEC six-speed transmission, McMillan was in charge of making sure it looked its best.
Although the Arizona sun had beat through much of the single-stage paint, McMillan was able to measure the paint’s thickness before beginning the three stage paint correction. He then decontaminate the paint before it was clay barred. With the paint fully clenaed, a layer of Essence extreme gloss primer was added before two coats of Cquartz were applied. The final touch was a top coat of Gliss gloss enhancer.
Since the gloss is part of the paint in single stage paint jobs, McMillan had to take small bites out of the thin paint to maximize the gloss and not to burn through. The final product is a classic Fox with a luminous shine. Now that the detailing position has been finished up, we can’t wait to see what the new owner does with the turbo build!