Apr 12, 2007 update to the Sunbeam Tiger project car

Anatomy of a Tiger Body

The Tiger sits in “high-fill” primer awaiting paint.
Getting painted up in Midnight blue.
Finally back home and painted, ready to go back together.
Here are some powder coated parts ready to go back on the Tiger (disregard the Triumph on the lift).

Our car is now painted, and back home where assembly can begin.

Tom Prescott with his helper Casey did all the mud work (an affectionate name for filling and sanding the body for straightness), then final blocking. The entire process went something like this: The entire car was stripped; first with 80 grit to get it bare metal. The underside was sandblasted in our back yard. Then it was primed with PPG DP40 epoxy primer. The key is to use a primer that contains zinc and to prime right after you sand to bare metal. We are not chemists, but are told that the zinc acts as a sacrificial metal and the rust attacks it rather than the steel of the car.

Next, all the hammer and dolly work is done. We went over any obvious rough places, like the right rear quarter that had been damaged. Then Tom and Casey went over the whole car again as needed. You can’t leave any bare metal showing at this stage and any scratches need to be again primed with DP40.

Then the whole car was primed with “high-fill” grey primer. After that the entire car is block sanded with 180 grit paper. The car is primed with “high-fill” grey primer again and the car is blocked with 320 and then with 500 grit paper.

From there the car is sealed and then sprayed with four base coats of code 58 Midnight blue PPG base coat/clear coat paint. The color was computer matched perfectly with an original blue piece that we found in the trunk, where the sun couldn’t fade the color. Two to three layers of clear coat were applied and then all external surfaces were buffed.

We estimate 300-400 hours of stripping and metal work and the team from The Body Werks had 250 man hours in the paint and prep work. Yes, we have some 600 hours invested in this project, just to get the bare shell painted. That’s why concours quality paint jobs cost upwards of $10,000.

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