Paint Plus
(March 2003)

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In early January, I attempted to start shooting the jambs. Paint Master Tony Grasso provided additional consulting and as a result it was decided to shoot the jambs first and then to paint the rest of the car with a small overlap. This reduces the amount of overspray that will need to be worked out because of all of the surfaces. I started painting but immediately encountered  problems.

UnCool Paint

After consultation with the paint master, the problem was diagnosed as contamination. Also, I had not prepared the surface correctly as I had used the wrong type of cleaner (exactly what I used to clean the surface will only be revealed on my deathbed). I bought the proper prep solution (Refinisher Select - Surface Prep), wet sanded, cleaned with the Surface Prep and tried again. And... I had similar poor results. Possibilities were that I had not cleaned the HVLP gun correctly, my air lines had crap in them, I had water in my air. I cleaned the gun the right way (according to the master), wet sanded and prep'd again AND... I still had the same problems.

With this I gave up for a while. The first few months of the year are extremely busy at work so I did not spend ANY time on the project from early January to early March. Then, I bought a new air hose, installed a water trap, bought a detail gun, wet sanded, prep'd and tried again. This time everything came out fine. So then I clear coated.

Base + Clear Looking Good

Well I should have said mostly fine. I got some crap in the clear coat. It most likely came from the masking paper as I did not re-mask from the primer. I was properly chastised by the paint master but I had sanded after the base and with 3 coats of clear I could always straighten it out during the rub out phase. So I went on to do the other jambs.

Again - Looking Good

I also painted the door jambs.

Door Jambs Done

I then went on to the task of rubbing out under the hood as instructed by the paint master. First, the surface was wet sanded with 1000 grit paper then 1500 grit paper then 2000 grit paper to get the last scratches out. Then it was buffed with a rubbing compound and then a finishing compound.

Much More Shiny

Hey! but what about the top. Isn't that supposed to be trim black? Yes it is.


And of course once the trim black was on then I could put in the windscreen washers, the wiper motor, the hood latches, the fuse box, the relay rack, and the rest of the wiring through the front bulkhead.

Now We Are Getting Somewhere

Not to mention the heater box.

Getting Crowded

After the '97 car was wrecked, it spent a lot of time out side and the rain took its toll.

Tank Rust

Both tanks had rust on the top and bottom so they were ground and sand blasted. I then used a rust proofing product recommended on the Lotus list called POR-15 and this worked well.

Coated with POR-15

POR-15 leaves a very hard plastic like coating on the tank when dry. The top and bottom of both tanks were treated where rusted. I then installed the tanks in the car as well as the heat shields in the engine compartment on the inside of the tanks.

Tanks In

When I first got the '97 car, we found that there was debris in the fuel line so I had the Injectors cleaned and flow tested. Once they came back, it was time to get the top of the engine back together.

Before Cleaning and Injector Installation

Mike Griese was in town on business and stopped by one night and helped me put the injectors and figure out were all the wires were supposed to go. Next, I installed the plenum. And finished up with some detailing.

Plenum Goes On

Back Together

I finished up a number of things in the engine compartment including attaching the recirculation pump, glassing, sanding, and painting the sill air intakes, and other clean up. Then I went to Home Depot.

Wife's Car - Not wrecked

After all this work, I became a little reticent to use the 3 jack / kitty litter method of hoisting bodies so I went to the local Harbor Freight retail store and bought a few chain hoists and together with the wood I bought at Home Depot I made a much more stable set up for hoisting the body.

Hoist of Life

Then... in accordance with OSHA rules, I waited for night. You can guess what came next...

Up She Goes

In Rolls The Chassis

One Jack + Kitty Liter Container In The Front

Down She Goes (I like the way that sounds)

Down She Is

Home Sweet Home

As you can imagine, this is a major milestone for my project and I am very glad to be here. I went over the car inspecting all of the the body mounting points. I forgot to drill the right front top bulkhead hole but after doing that things fit fine. All holes line up (including the tunnel- yeah!). There is still a lot of work ahead but things will go fast now - when I have the time to work on it.

I will also mention that I did not tell my wife or kids that I was putting the body back on. My wife came out into the garage just as I set the body down on its frame, looked at me, and said - "can you bring my car back up top so I can load some things into it for tomorrow?"  She came out once again a little while later but did not notice that the car was on the chassis. I was very amused all evening. I called Larry Marsala and shared by accomplishment - he understood

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