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1972 Chevy El Camino - El Cheapo, Part 4

Paint for the Poor

Photography by Car Craft Staff

You can’t paint your own car. OK, maybe you can, but that puts you in one of two categories: guy with more time and skill than the rest of us or guy with a really ugly paint job. We long ago faced our ineptitude for bodywork, and most readers tell us they don’t do their own skilled labor, either. Because of that, this year’s paint--’n’--body blowout will show you the grunt work you can do to lower the price and improve the quality of a paint job farmed out to a local shop. It’s what you asked for.

Readers also told us that when it came time to color our El Cheapo 1972 El Camino, they didn’t want to see a penny--pinching hackjob. Lots of you realize that nothing makes a car cheesier than a 10--cent repaint; when buying a car, we’ll take wasted original paint over a halfhearted redo every time. That’s why the Elco’s new clothes are way better than cheap, nicer than average, and far less costly than perfect. Our goal was to reveal the steps and the price of a paint job an average guy would give a street machine he cared about. Still, it’s probably more on the credit card than you’d expect: At $5,609.28 not including our new wheels and tires, that’s a big wad o’ bills. But in typical Car Craft reporting, that includes all the bodywork and every little chingus from start to finish, including the materials, weatherstripping, chrome, trim, and restoration extras from Chevelle specialist Original Parts Group (OPG). It’s all listed in the story, and so are the steps we took to save bucks where possible.

Step one is finding the right shop. We did that with Gonzalez Auto Body, which you’ve seen doing all the rust repair and bodywork on the El Camino over the past few issues. Owner Gus Gonzalez was perfect for us for several reasons. First, he has a passion for keeping older cars on the road, and Gonzalez Auto Body is one of few shops in our area willing to paint an entire car.

Importantly, Gus knew we wanted a good job that would last but that we weren’t willing to pay for full--on show quality. He let us ask all kinds of questions and showed us other cars he had painted at a similar quality level. Most shops don’t want to work within a budget, but Gus underpromised and overdelivered for what we paid.

We also looked to Gonzalez because it’s a PPG--certified shop. Durable paint relies on quality materials from bare metal on up, and each layer of primer, filler, sealer, paint, and clearcoat needs to be compatible with the next. By using the appropriate PPG products bottom to top, we knew there wouldn’t be a problem.

Finally, Gus put up with us changing our mind on the color at least four times. We were originally going to go yellow or white, which tend to hide more flaws than reds, oranges, metallics, and dark colors. Happily, the El Camino’s body came out straight enough to paint Hugger Orange. It’s not perfect, but it’s just what we needed. See what you think.

SOURCES
Gonzalez Auto Body Original Parts Group  (800) 243-
Goodmark Industries
625-E Old Norcross Rd.
Lawrenceville
GA  30045
770-339-8557
www.goodmarkindustries.com
PPG Industriesº Inc
HARWOOD INDUSTRIES
17833 Hwy. 31 East, Dept. SC
Tyler
TX  75705
SoCal Tire
Jeg’ High Performance The Eastwood Co.
263 Shoemaker Rd.
Pottstown
PA  19464
800-345-1178
610-644-0560
www.eastwoodco.com
Kragen
kragen.com
Weld Racing
933 Mulberry St.
Kansas City
MO  64101
816-421-8040
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires
4670 Allen Rd.
Stow
OH  44224
8-00/-222-9092
mickeythompsontires.com
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