Part of what makes the Talladega Spoiler Registry web site so successful is the support and participation we get from all of you. It is impossible for any one of us to know everything about each of the cars featured on this site. It is with the individual participation and sharing from each of you that all of us learn a little more each day. We have the Talladega Guru, Rick Ochs / The Judge, Marty Burke / Dr. Cyclone; Tom Wilson / and now, I coin Chris Vic the Archaeologist!
Rick is a restorer and worked at Ford, he has memories and records of great value to all of us. Marty is the Chief Judge for the Fairlane Club of America and is a tremendous resource for concourse information as well as provider of correct parts. Tom cuts up more Cyclones than most of us will ever own and uses perfectly good parts to make molds to stamp out new parts for the rest of us. Now we have Chris who doesn’t just restore cars be dissects them like an archaeologist. He carefully disassembles and sands into the cars origins like he is searching for treasures under an ancient Egyptian temple!
The following is Part 2 of the documentary prepared by Chis Vic on the factory painting process on a 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II.
So, last time (you can learn more about Chis by clicking on this link) we covered how the cars were painted from the factory to a shiny outside, that everybody ooh’s and ahh’s about at a show. Now comes the stuff we really don’t look at or even know much about. We will cover the underside of the car and the treatment the engine compartment received.
Who really see’s the underside of a restored car? Well I am one, just ask my wife: “Great, there he goes looking under another car.” If you ever tried doing an under carriage you will soon learn you don’t get enough credit for the work done. When Ford painted cars they first received a coating of red oxide primer covering all of the body except the underside floorpan. The body then got a coat of gray sealer then painted body color. The engine compartment was blacked out last. As I said, no red oxide primer on the bottom, there was another color. There are a couple of different colors Ford used on the bottoms that I know of, gray, taupe and sloop( mixture of left-over top coats). What I have seen on 7 different Cyclones is taupe, kind of a tan color. The first photo shows 2 pieces of metal cut from 2 different cars, the next photo shows what it looks like on the bottom of my car.
You get a good idea of the color. Remember, document YOUR car, but all Cyclones came from one plant and what I have seen are different build dates.
I had a special color mixed as I have no exact formula. This is the first coat, the car will be painted in its normal horizontal position. At that time I will make the paint thinner than normal and try to duplicate the runs, drips and sags the paint had. Looking at the above pic you might ask “Why doesn’t the taupe go all the way up and what’s with the red oxide primer”. I have found that the red oxide and taupe meet at the firewall and when the front is blacked out these under area’s don’t get completely painted black. Some poor painter was under the car painting the floor and the blackout was done from above standing on the floor. While we are on the bottom of the car let’s talk about the pinch weld. All pinch welds were painted black; was it so they would not stand out so much? I don’t really know but I do know that they were brush painted. Here are pictures from different cars, one point I have is look at how sloppy there were.
This last shot shows how far forward it went, up the front under the front fender.
You can just see traces under the fender edge.
We all know the engine compartment was painted black as well as inside the fender area, let’s see how the factory did it. As they came down the assembly line, body color was applied, now to make it neat inside. But wait, what about the transition between cowl area and the engine compartment, no taping done here. These photos show the fogged edge and where it is.
Two different cars, paint line comes up from where the cowl/firewall are spot welded together. Now to the inner fender area. Remember, the blackout was done standing up so some lower areas will not get black. Here are shots of my car.
The first photo is of the rear part and the second photos is the front. When the car came down, first came the red oxide primer, you can see that in the areas I sanded through and under the white paint. Next came the body color, as you can tell it was not a complete coat and it did not go all the way to the bottom, you should see some primer through the body color. Lastly, when the black was done, they painted maybe the bottom third. As this was getting painted, so where the cross members, sides, edges, etc. but not completely. Remember the red oxide primer from the earlier photo? Those frame members will be black with red up inside the pockets.
The final step was after the the car was built and fenders mounted; sound deadener was sprayed up on the outside of the fender apron and the insides of the fenders. This was for protection from rocks etc. This step covered up all the detail we are trying to preserve today. This hides all the overspray areas and any writing that might have been there such as in the 146 written on the battery apron. In the past, it was customary to leave off this nasty spray on goo so we could show what we found, not anymore.
To be correct, sound deadener should be put back on. So after all that hard work we cover it up. Oh well, that is how it came from the factory.
I may have gone too fast on this so lets recap the steps:
- First is the red oxide primer on all but the floor pan.
- The taupe color was applied to the underneath.
- Gray sealer on areas to get body color.
- The only panels attached to the car at painting time were the doors and decklid, all other panels were painted separate. The body color went under the car as the rockers and lower areas were sprayed. The body color also went on the tops of the fender aprons and outer sides of the aprons, is is only a fog coat and did not go all the way down.
- The last step was the blackout in the engine compartment. Black meets the taupe color in the trans tunnel at the firewall. The fog line at the cowl area, on the fender apron tops and where the front of the core support got sprayed wraps around to do the back of the headlight buckets and along the lower portion along the frame rails about 8 to 10 inches high.
I will show pictures of what a finished product should look like when I get mine done.
Hope this helps some of you, Chris.