Classic Truck Finishes
You can get that same, sparkling, classic truck finish even from an old, rust-pitted shell, if you have the right know-how and capabilities.
Most older trucks, after decades of exposure to the elements will rust and rust hard. Even a mild exposure to water over long periods of time will cause rust. So, the odds are already stacked against your truck having a perfect underbody.
To repair any damage caused by rusting, use bondo and apply it liberally. This is not the time to conserve materials! Spread the bondo over the finish anywhere you see holes, gaps or large pits. Trying to sand down pitting it really useless, because you have to sand so much material away, you are weakening the metal. Spread bondo over pits, and you have a brand new surface.
Sand and prep your final work with care and use a high grain, 300 or more to get a really fine, smooth finish. Work up to the finer grains starting with a 100 or 150 grain paper first to speed up the process.
Parts and Upholstery
From chrome headers, to interior headers, you need the right parts. But most classic trucks are no longer on the road, and there are few junkyard spare parts laying around that are good enough for a reclamation project like yours.
So, be creative. Use upholstery from fabric stores, header material from car outlets and even fabric retailers. Learn to stitch and apply the upholstery yourself for a truly custom finish. You can also use modern interior car rugs sold by auto fabrication and restoration companies.
Depending on the level of restoration you want to achieve you may require professional work. Some things like setting engine timing, or re-installing vital engine parts should be outsourced. Other issues like restoring chrome also require professional attention. Decide which jobs require the most expertise first. Then decide which ones a pro can have more impact on, before you make the final decision.
- Auto.com Editorial Staff