Silver C10 Hakosuka Restoration part 1

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Posted on July 16 2010

Well, it’s that time again.  If any of you have been reading this blog you will know that we just received a 71 Skyline 2000 GT and a 73 Celica GTV.  http://www.jdmlegends.com/blog/?p=709 The car had a restoration performed a few years ago and it actually looks pretty good, but as always I tend to be a bit of perfectionist and there will always be something that needs a little bit of TLC.

The first thing I had noticed that was a bit off was the badge orientation on the right front fender.

Holy moly!  Really?!!!  Those two extra holes aren’t supposed to be there are they?   Hmmmm…….   let’s have a look at the other side.

This one looks right.  For those of you that don’t know the “Skyline” is always supposed to be in front of the “GT” badge.  So it turns out those extra hole are actually supposed to be there, it’s just that some nimrod decided they liked the badges mounted in their own special way.  Whatever, no big deal.  Hopefully they’re just stuck on incorrectly and I can just reposition them and be done.    Wrong!!

They liked the badges mounted that way so much they actually decided to drill their own hole to remount them, disregarding the extra holes just hanging out.  Whoever you are, you are a genius.  Thank you.  Now I could just leave it as it is but what self-respecting Japanese restoration shop sells legends like these with the badges mounted all jacked up?  Not us :)   Time for some body work, first up is to bring the holes down to the bare metal enough that I can weld them up.

Little bit more work to make sure everything ends up all nice and straight and we’re about ready for paint.

Now while I’m at it you may have noticed those badges weren’t  looking exactly factory fresh if you know what I mean.

Same with the ones on the rear quarter panels.

First up is removing the old paint so you can put down a nice even new coat.  Different badges will require different methods of removal but I found with these I could actually just chip off the old paint with an x-acto knife without doing any damage to the chrome plating underneath.

Next up is to get your paint.  On these ones I had to use a candy red that is actually a bit transparent so it allows the chrome textured surface underneath to show through, duplicating the factory finish.  You will also need some VERY fine brushes as there are some very small nooks and crannies to get in.   Some Q-tips for cleanup, and a steady hand will also be quite handy so no Redbulls beforehand ;)

And there you go, much better right?

Hmmm….  wait a minute,  something’s missing.  Time to refer to to some of the GT-R  Bibles  I have here for reference.

Aha!!!  I forgot the “G” !!!   After I took all the red off I forgot.  It’s the little things that will get you.  There, that’s better.

Rear ones were pretty straightforward.

And back from the paint shop  the right front fender now looks just like Nissan intended….

Now onto one other thing on the car that was looking a bit tired and definitely in need of some TLC were the wheels.   After quite a few years of wear and tear and what appears to be a couple of parrallel parking mishaps, they were in need of some serious refurbishing.  Most looked like this, a little chipping and some minor rash.

But the left front was the worst.  Major curbage and this one was actually a bit bent as well.  If your Watanabe’s look like this you should be ashamed of yourself.  Rotas, go ahead ;)

Bent wheels are actually a bit out of my league so luckily I have a great wheel shop in town that specializes in this stuff.  After I had the wheel straightened, I had to remove the old paint so we could lay down a nice new even coat to get them looking like they just came out of the box.  There are a couple of ways to do this, some require a bit more elbow grease and chemicals than others.  Luckily I just so happen to have an awesome paint guy that has some connections down at the local High School autobody shop that just so happens to have a media blaster I can use.  Schweet!!!

That there is the tank that holds the media.  We kept having issues with the media clogging up so we had to disassemble it to figure out what was going on.

That would be what was causing our issues.  GUM!!!  WTF?!!  Well, I guess that’s what you get when you use High School shop equipment ;)   The teacher there was a pretty cool guy.  Super knowledgeable and he had the raddest old Econoline van I have ever seen.

Time to put on the crazy spaceman suit and get to blasting!!!  Sorry I don’t have any pics, hard to take pics while your all geared up and sandy.  You have to be very careful with the media you use because I have actually had a set of forged Prodrives end up looking like orange peels when they were done due to the redneck I had do them using way too coarse of media on them.   Live and learn I guess, If you want something done right, do it yourself.

There they are in all their raw, aluminum glory.  As you can see, the Watanabe’s actually have a cast finish in the center and a machined lip.  We were only able to keep that finish by using very fine media.  Now they were getting close, but they still needed some work.  Here’s the bent curbed one after I got it back from the wheel shop.

Almost perfect!!!  Hard to believe it’s the same wheel!  Now, I said almost perfect because there were still a couple of  nicks left in the wheel that were too deep for them to get out.  Here’s one…..

Not a big deal though, fire up the TIG welder and add a bit of aluminum.

And very carefully grind it down to match the profile of the rest of the lip.

A little bit more minor rash on the other wheels that wasn’t very deep at all….. just a little more careful resurfacing.

And we now have a perfect set of Watanabe’s!!!

I just had some Satin Bronze paint matched to the original color that should add a bit more flavor to the plain Jane gunmetal on silver look the car had before.  Should be back from paint next week, stay tuned!!!

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