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Dirt-Cheap Paint and Body Tips

Don't get it perfect - get on the road with these tips.

We've been driving our '64 El Camino with a fresh-swapped GTO LS1 from the May '07 issue without so much as an oil leak for a couple of months. We've enjoyed its 365-rwhp surprise and have handed a few Audis a right-lane pass after being ignored as a fast-lane contender. Problem is, it's uggo. We've crossed the line between flavored use and just plain worn out. The car gets ignored at Bob's Big Boy on Friday nights, avoided at car shows, and seems to be the equivalent of a car on blocks when parked in the neighborhood. Short of reckless driving, we can't get any attention in it at all, respect either.

Like the ugly girl in beauty school, we have a plan. To improve the 100-yard opinion of the lowly Chevy, we coated the car in one color of cheap primer so we could slowly fix the body a piece at a time when we have the budget. When we're done with a panel, we can do a quick respray to get the car to match again. That way, we are neither driving a car with three different colors nor are we offending the neighbors with a junkyard-fresh pile. It won't be too nice, because we still need to use it as a tow truck and a hauler of engines and other greasy parts, but you won't want to gouge out your eyes when you see it either.

Along with the paint, we added some fake vintage speed shop art to further disguise the fender rot and plan to make up a fake vintage speed shop story to go along with it. Now, instead of a rusty beater, the El Camino looks like a speed-shop-parts-runnin' beater, which we all know is much better. Remember, traditional is another name for cheap.

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