Project Swinger Update: Z-Best Straightens Out Swinger For Paint

After stalling on Project Swinger a bit, it’s about time we got around to having our beloved ‘71 Nova painted. However, as many of you know, laying down a fresh coat of paint isn’t as simple as just spraying the car in a paint booth. It takes a ton of preparation and care before the final paint scheme is even considered to make sure the car will look fantastic once it’s complete.

Guide Coat is the best hide and seek player of automotive body work. If you're a low spot, it will find you.

With a professional prep job in mind for Swinger before she got painted, we turned to Z-Best Auto Body & Paint, the company also entrusted with painting our pro-touring beauty, for the full treatment.

Knowing that a car’s Sherwin-Williams paint job is only as good as the prep work done prior, Z-Best Auto Body & Paint did an amazingly thorough job completing the many tasks required to get Swinger ready for her fresh new look.

Because Swinger’s body panels were already pretty bare and we had sanded her during the major metal work phase, Z-Best was left with an optimal surface to lay down the first coat of primer.

With everything stripped off the car, the daunting task of masking the Nova was avoided and the first step toward our new paint was completed after a thorough washing to eliminate any contaminates on Swinger’s surface.

When we dropped Swinger off at Z-Best, we didn't leave much left to be unseen. Our project Nova suffered from some severe cellulite and needed a lot of man-hours to hammer the wrinkled panels straight.

Sherwin-Williams provided us an absolute gold mine of awesome product to paint our Project Swinger '71 Nova. Abiding by all the new water-based legislation, these new paints are significantly less toxic to the environment while not skimping one iota on a quality finish product. Our Nova is currently undergoing the multiple stages of primer, sanding, blocking and filling before getting sprayed in the good stuff, but it won't be long before our newly revitalized Swinger will be coated in Sherwin-Williams Planet Color metallic pearl charcoal gray.

Beating Out The Body

Wanting to get the smoothest body for Swinger possible, a thin layer of flat black EVERCOAT guide coat spray paint was applied over the first layer of primer so any low and high points on the body’s surface could be seen more easily. The guys at Z-Best then took to sanding the primer with sanding blocks, cutting down any high points they found and noting any low spots in the finish.

Swinger’s body was still rough enough to warrant another day or two or metal work, sealing up the holes made years ago by a pull-hammer, smoothing out the heavy welds left by replacing panels, and basically chasing any low points with a variety of body dollies and metal hammers.

After the first round of metal work, the body was rolled in for a thin layer of sealing primer, which would - in addition to providing a fine adhesion layer to the bare skin - would also serve as a marker for high and low points in the steel.

Clearly visible are the high and low marks in the skin, places where elbow grease, a heavy hammer swing and body filler will make as smooth as a baby's bum.

A corner that looked really, really bad now looks sharp! Good work, Z-Best!

Next, a new layer of primer was applied. Swinger was then once again sanded after a guide coat was sprayed. There were a few low spots that needed to be taken care of after the first two coats of primer, so a thin layer of plastic body filler was applied to get the flush look we wanted.

In order to ensure a perfect base for the paint, Z-best laid down another layer of primer on the car, sanding it to perfection once it dried. Although tedious, the multiple stages of priming, blocking and filling were needed to get the amazing finish that resulted.

In The Staging Lane

With our all black interior and brightwork components from Classic Industries sitting patiently at the shop for their host vehicle, we are super excited to get Swinger back soon, sporting her fresh coat of Sherwin-Williams Planet Color Granite Gray paint.

Obviously projects like this never go as fast as one may want, especially for the least patient of us, but we know Swinger’s in good hands at Z-Best Auto Body & Paint and will returned to us shortly looking better than ever.

Don’t stay away for long. We’ll be sure to unveil the next phase on Project Swinger just as soon as we get there.

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About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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