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My Baby is at Custom Image Corvettes


Well-known member
Dec 29, 2006
Alabaster, AL
71, 72, 73, 82, & 00
Some of you may be familiar with my 72 Vette, Michele. I have had her for a few years now and in that short amount of time, I have had decades of fun. She came to me with a piss poor paint job and running like crap. When I got her, she had a GM ZZ454 engine in her with an M22 4-speed. The motor was purchased as a GM 454 Marine engine back in 2001 and it was sent to a machine shop for some go-fast goodies. The motor was finished and the owner sold the car without puting any miles on it. The next owner bought it and put it in his shop and never touched. His daughter put it on eBay when he died. The motor was 8 years old and still had the break-in oil in it. She had been ignored for the most part of a decade.

When I got her, she was on her 3rd color and I found 8 layers of paint on her. Originally a small block car in War Bonnet yellow, she had been re-sprayed around 1977 (the passenger door has a 1977 date code on it), then some time after that, she has been given the sport mirrors and sprayed white. Some time after that, she was painted Rally Red and the big block was installed. I didn't have a lot of money to put in her all at once, so I did a little bit at a time.

I painted the hood, buffed out the rest of her as best I could, and drover her for a while. My first mod was when I swapped out the M22 for a Tremec TKO-600 for better highway cruising. I had idle and starting issues, so the next mod was to get rid of the Holley 850 and added EZ-EFI. I had to swap out the oil pan, becasue the GM pan hung below the frame. I knocked a hole in it on the 2009 Hot Rod Power Tour. Next I had Gary Ramadei build me a super 10 differential after I twisted an axle at the drag strip.




She has done the last two Hot Rod Power Tours completely and part of 2009. She has been on Talladega Super Speedway, Indianapolis Super Speedway, and a half dozen drag strips throughout the southeast. I drove her to the 09 Caravan. I take her on all the club cruises. I drive her anywhere, and everywhere. I even made the October, 2010 Hot Rod Magazine.





After my "temporary" paint job this last spring was such a hit, I have decided to expound on the theme and go "All In". Here she is at Indy.

I had a blast driving her with the satin road race paint job on the Hot Rod Power Tour. Everywhere I went, people responded positively to the look. All my friends loved it because if the authorities were to pick one of us to use as an example, it would be the one that is painted like a race car.

With the 2011 Power Tour looming, and all my spare time being consumed by the Talladega Vettes4Vets event, time was running out and I had to cut a lot of corners during the re-paint. What suffered was the prep work, the finish sanding, and the actual painting of the car. It was so bad, I decided not to clear coat the paint. It would have made it that much aharder to strip and re-do. Ironically, that is what made the car so popular.
All of this happened within 3 days...








It seems that satin paint was "In" with the power tour this year. Hot Rod magazine are using my car as the banner page for the Cocoa Beach photo albumn, which is cool. They also showed it twice during the "Hot Rod TV" coverage of the power tour, which is also cool.

It drew a lot of attention with the fans as well. One of my running mates said it was quite possibly the most photographed non-professional built car on the tour. Considering that it went from raw fiberglass to paint in the final 3 days before we left for Cocoa Beach, I really couldn't complain about the few issues. We were bolting in the seat 30 minutes before I hit the road.

In addition to the re-paint, over the winter I had completely rebuilt the front suspension, the rear suspension, and did some modifications to the cooling system. Gary Ramadei built me some monster trailing arms to go with my Super 10 differential. I replaced all the rubber brake lines ans some of the steel one that needed it and re-painted the claipers i had replaced the previous ydear.
This year's Hot Rod Power Tour was truely a 4,000 mile road test.


Outside of Florida on my way to Georgia, I lost the bolts that hold the differential to the front mounting plate. That downshift in traffic was a real eye opener. It sounded like the driveshaft was coming through my seat! A couple starter bolts from the local parts store, and we were back on the road in a few hours. (All part of the Power Tour experience in an old car.) There should have been kotter pins in those bolts, but I mus have had a brain fart on re-assembly.

The plan was to do a re-paint when I got back home after the 2011 cruise season. I was going to go back to a metallic Black Baldwin-Motion stripe over a Crystal Red Metallic base coat.
The response was so positive on the road race paint theme and I had such a blast driving around in a car with a number on the door (I now know know how Bo & Luke Duke felt), I decided to keep the road race theme, but really do it right with flares, wheels and a cage. My next step was to give Josh a call.

Since we had worked together on a few things, and Kaos had just left his shop on the way to Rob, I knew he was in a position to take on another project. We started talking aobut my baby and my plans. We worked out the details and in a couple weeks, I was trailiering her up there. I picked up another project car for him in St Louis along the way. Here is a shot of me on the road. I stopped for breakfast and to check the straps and shot a couple pictures.



We went over the car, I showed him the pictures of my re-paint and we came up with a game plan.

The first step was to get the right offset and width of the tires so the flares would look right. I gave Vintage Wheel Works a call and ordered new wheels and got my tires from Discount Tire.

The plan is to fix a few bad spots, correct the body lines that I abused in my last re-paint, put on the KAOS flares, but with the 72 side marker lights and egg crate openings and shoot some color on her.
Here are the progress shots so far. The schedule is to get her in primer and ready for paint by January 15th.











Once she is ready for paint, she will get heat cycled a few times and I think Josh wil lbe making a set of molds off of her. This should cure the resin, duraglas, and body filler. After a few weeks, she will be sprayed with paint and re-assembled.

We have a track day scheduled for March 9th. I hope to have her race-ready by then.
Very nice, keep us posted on the progress. :w
More progress

It is interesting what you find when doing this level of repair / modification to an old Vette.

The passenger door is not original - it has a 1977 date code on it and it is maroon. It fits well, but does not match the 72 contour at the door handle so some work needed to be done. When the fenders were cut off a few old repairs were found. The passenger rear quarter had some aluminum and pop rivets on the front edge of it where it met the door jamb. It looks like all of that had been repaired (poorly).

Eric cut the fender off, then started digging in the filler and found the bad spot. he ground it out and did a proper repair when he put the new fender back on. Here are som pictures of that area.






Eric worked a bunch on the body lines and door jambs to get back the sharp facotry edges. My Baby has been sanded so much, all the definition is gone.

I love sharp defined body lines!

Here, he is matching the body lines by the door handle.

Here he is defining the door jamb edge. Check out al lthe layers of paint this car has on it.

He is working the body lines around the flares to mimic the factory C3edges, but sharper, like the C6 lines. Here is the KAOS flare edge. Notice how the lip fades into the fenderwell. Eric and Josh are closing in the opening so that edge is the same width al the way to the bottom of the fender. The body line will fade into the fender, like the factory line. I wanted the KAOS flares the first time I laid eyes on them in Josh's thread, but I think they needed a little tweaking to be "perfect".

Getting close to primer.


I'll post up more pictures as I get them.
Josh sent me some more pictures last night.
While working on my valence panel, it literally fell apart. I know it was in bad shape. I had to add a bunch of Duraglass when I was wokring on it last year to fill in missing chunks, and it was cracked in a few places. Then, when loading it on the trailer, I smacked the front spoiler. It broke in 4 pieces and cracked the valence prety good. I figured it was a gonner, but I knew Josh and his dad were gonna take care of me.
I ordered a new valence panel from ACI, and it shipped a few days.
In these pictures, the front valence is not on the car yet, but it looks like the body work is 90% done.
Nice wheel fitment, don't you think?

This is my favorite angle. And what most people at the drag strip will see right out of the box!

The wheel arc body line is exactly what I wanted. Compare this ot the previous pictures with the KAOS body line. These are truely custom and unique to my baby.

Josh had to do a little more work on the front fenders, but the lines are looking great. I might raise the car up 1/4" from here to get some more gap above the tire.

I have 3 different front spoilers for Josh to try. The first one I broke into pieces, which I like, but probably won't use. This is the one in the 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour pictures. Then I have one like the one Stan molded into his cars. I like it , but it has to be removable. I have spoiler issues and need it to be removable, or "break-away" as I call it. The third is the FGregg or FIA style that you see on most retro race cars. I like it best, but you have to cut the factory valence to fit it on the car, which means no more factory spoilers without some modifications. Josh is working on a solution.
I must say i enjoyed looking at all the work you have done
Wow!!!! came along way! one day i want to get my vette
painted! what does a average paint job cost $1000.00??
I must say i enjoyed looking at all the work you have done
Wow!!!! came along way! one day i want to get my vette
painted! what does a average paint job cost $1000.00??

I don't think you can get an average paint job for that anymore. Paints prices have gone up, labor prices have gone up, other materials have gone up. I heard a guy tell a buddy (who was wanting an "average" paint job on his 77 coupe) that he was probably looking at $5-7K.
By the way Curby, are those Minilite wheels? They look cool on your car.:thumb
The wheels are made by Vintage Wheel Works. They are a similar to the Minilite wheels. They make a great product and fast. Mine shipped a week after I ordered them. I sent them the car information, the width and offset I desired and they built them to my specifications.

As far as paint cost, The supplies needed are jsut the beginning. The major expense in a paint job is the prep work. You are paying between $35 and $70 an hour for a good painter. There is a couple hundred hours in custom work like this. You may think, "I can mix up bondo, how hard could fiberglass be?" Well, the chemical reaction of resin and hardener is a delicate process. contaminants cause issues. Old paint, primer, and fiberglass is dry and brittle. You have to get through the bad stuff to get to some good stuff to work with. Most of the work I did last year for the quick paint job had to be removed and re-done. All the repairs that had been done over the past 40 years had to be cut out and replaced. Fortunately, all the fenders and valence panels are new so that was the easy part. The hard part was the hood surround and B pillar. The doors were decent enough and required little work. Paint, primer, sealer, reducer, hardener, flex agent, tack rags, and such cost between $500 and $3000 depending on the color. Sand paper alone costs about $200.

An original un-hit Vette with factory paint would cost much less to scuff and re-spray than a car like mine. It was originally War Bonnet Yellow, wrecked, repaired, re-sprayed war bonnet yellow, primed, re-sprayed white, primed, re-sprayed red, and then primed, sealed, and re-sprayed red & black. There is a lot of paint, spanning 3 decades that needs to be cut sanded through to get to a solid foundation. That takes hours, and hours.

We are on the down-hill slope with this car. Eric & Josh have a few more hours of blocking and sanding before they can apply the final coat of sealer. I think Josh wants to make some more molds of these flares for his company before I go get her.

I will be picking up the car in sealer and bringing her back to Alabama to finish. I want the fiberglass work to completely cure before paint is sprayed on her. I'll probably throw some decals on the sealer for the Power Tour, then bring Josh down to Alabama to finish the paint work.

I also have some engine, suspension, and interior work that needs to be done before she can be called "complete".

What a fantastic journey!

While driving your newly RE-painted Vette, please be sure to SAVE the WAVE! :w
A little more progress - getting closer to paint

The fenders are done, after many many hours of blocking and sanding, guidecoat, primer, and filler.
Here are some more shots of the work Josh did to the fenders. He took the fender molds he had and refined the wheel openings a bit for me.





Many more hours were spent fixing the Ecklers rear valence filler panel. When I took it out of the box, there was a little shipping damage that had to be repaired. Then when I went to put it on the car, it did not fit at all. I had to cut the panel in 3 places just to get the sides to bolt in place and the license plate frame to even get close to fit. I used duraglass and body filler to make it presentable last year. Josh had it soda blasted and then re-glassed the part. Now it is a solid piece. It took a lot of hours to get it to this stage you see here.
Why didn't I jsut have him glass it to the car? It would have been easier and cheaper, but I may switch from the side pipes to a rear-exit exhaust sometime in the future, and need the rear panel removable.




The front of the car has been through some rough times in the past 40 years. The bumper fit poorly at best when I got the car. You can see in the first pictures of the car that the bumper fit poorly. Last year I spent a few days adding fiberglass, duraglass, and body filler to get the gap between the bumper and the body less than 3/4" in one area and greater than 1/32" in others. I got it close, but not perfect. It looks much better in theose pictures.
When I took it to Josh, this was one of the areas I wanted him to spend a few extra hours getting to look good. While I was up there in the shop, we fitted the chrome bumper to the car.


We then did a few slight modifications to get it straighter. The bumper had to be tweaked a bit with a rubber hammer and clamps. This got the chrome straighter and made it easier to tell how much glass work needed to be done.

He worked the body to make the gap even. Here you can see the sharp edge and point where the body will fit to the bumper like a glove. Much better than the original body fit the bumper. It's little things like this that really stand out on a car.

Yesterday, they did a lot of blocking and put on the final coat of primer.


Here is the car in primer.

Here are some shots of the flares finished. The body lines are spectacular.



Looking good in White

Man, I love the C3 in white!
Here are the latest pictures from Josh.
Rear valence fits like a glove (NOT OJ's glove!).

I love this angle.

Two more weeks and I am going to go see her in person.
Josh and his Dad do top notch work, just watching the progress on your car is a book online. That is really going to be a nice car, kind of reminds me of Ray Youngs. Both exceptional examples of custom yet drivable vettes! Did you get those stickers I mailed out to you again? You pop them on your toolbox!

Josh and his Dad do top notch work, just watching the progress on your car is a book online. That is really going to be a nice car, kind of reminds me of Ray Youngs. Both exceptional examples of custom yet drivable vettes! Did you get those stickers I mailed out to you again? You pop them on your toolbox!


I did get those decals. Thanks.

It is looking great. They do great work, don't they? I can't wait to see it in person.
Curby, I'm fascinated with your journey. I've been working on a 73 my dad and started when I was 17, and I'm now 43. Been through a similar process to yours. I will finally have it on the road this Spring, and can't wait. Please keep us posted on your ride as you get her back on the road!

I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?cuq45h
Its threads like this that gives me hope. thanks for sharing your journey!
Just wow........ I love the pipes and gott'a ask, are they hard on header gaskets having to replacing them often? I believe those are my first gott'a have thing to get.

Man you make the body/glass work look so matter of fact easy, I'd be lost myself. Most excellent ride you have there.
Amazing fiberglass work! That cat has got some talent!
I know how much my paint job cost with very minor fiberglass repair. I can only imagine what your time in the shop is costing! :Silly
But the results will certainly be worth it! I love my custom paint job like you do your flares. It's "mine"!
First class work. I love the road race look on a chrome bumper C3.


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