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Author Topic: 1997 Austin-Healey 3000 Replica  (Read 377 times)

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Offline Too Stroked

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1997 Austin-Healey 3000 Replica
« on: October 05, 2022, 03:10:04 PM »
Well, since nobody else seems to be doing any detailing, you forced me to get off my butt and do something. And just to knock the dust off, I decided to do something special. A family member has this 1997 Austin-Healey 3000 replica that needed some sprucing up. Although it's a kit car, it's one of the best built kits I've ever seen. The mold work is absolutely stunning. Perfectly straight body lines with perfectly executed curves and consistent panel gaps. Oh, and it's powered by a 289 CI Ford small block, so it has some get up and go too!

The big kicker with this one was the fact that the car does not have paint. Instead, the fiberglass body has gelcoat just like a boat. Ever worked on gelcoat? On the plus side, it's generally pretty thick and therefor tough to burn through. (That's why one generally uses a rotary buffer with a wool pad and aggressive compound to buff it.) On the minus side, I have a rotary, but no wool pads or harsh compounds. Yea, this was going to be a challenge.

The owner helped me on this one and we started by removing the front bumper (only two bolts) to give me better access to the front end. We then washed it and decontaminated the paint with a Medium Nanoskin Mitt.



After drying it, this is what I had to work with. The gelcoat was beautiful, but kind of hammered. There were a few pretty deep scratches that were not going to come out, but I was pretty confident that I could get all of the oxidation and many of the minor scratches out if I could find the right process. BTW, I apologize for the before pics being somewhat in the shade. We started at just after 7 AM and the sun wasn't quite up yet.















So, what was the right process? Knowing how bulletproof gelcoat is, I started a little more aggressive than I would on paint. That meant a HexLogic Cutting pad with 3D One on the Flex 3401. Hardly even phased it. I then stepped up to the same pad with Menzerna 400 Heavy Cut Compound. Better, but still not good enough. So, I pulled out my Rupes Blue Cutting pads - the most aggressive pads I have - and used them with the Menzerna. Finally, I got some cut. The final process I used was the Blue pads and the Menzerna, then stepped down to the HexLogic pads with 3D One, followed by Jescar Power Lock+ for the LSP. The customer wanted high gloss tire dressing, so I applied Meguiar's Hot Hine Foam on them. Was I able to totally correct the gelcoat? No, in fact it really needed a wet sand a buff, but I don't do that kind of aggressive work. Did it turn out better though? You be the judge.

BTW, those are no longer scratches in the rear of right rear quarter panel. If you look real closely, you'll see that it's actually a reflection of me taking the picture!











« Last Edit: October 07, 2022, 07:02:48 AM by Too Stroked »

Offline Kitzy

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Re: 1997 Austin-Healey 3000 Replica
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2022, 06:14:59 PM »
Perfect or not that thing looks great.  And it looks dripping wet!  Nice work as usual, Tom!


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Offline Blown F-150

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Re: 1997 Austin-Healey 3000 Replica
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2022, 10:37:01 PM »
My god, I would love to go for a cruise around in that thing!

Looks like it came out pretty darn nice!


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Offline Rollingrock

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Re: 1997 Austin-Healey 3000 Replica
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2022, 09:39:42 PM »
Holy chit Tom that looks great. You said ok, but looks pretty damn good to me.

Love me some British racing green!    What is the mark on the boot lid?    Is that left over residue or just a glare from the sun?    Upper right side. 

Thanks for visiting the Cafe, come back often.  There's always something new!

Offline Too Stroked

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Re: 1997 Austin-Healey 3000 Replica
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2022, 06:08:29 AM »
Holy chit Tom that looks great. You said ok, but looks pretty damn good to me.

Love me some British racing green!    What is the mark on the boot lid?    Is that left over residue or just a glare from the sun?    Upper right side.
Believe it or not, it's just glare from the sun. The trunk lid (or should I say the boot) was actually in pretty good shape. The hood?  :dunno:

 


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