Monday, 23 July 2012

Soft top structure restoration

Hello all, this weekend I had nothing to do on my resto, because I just had no time to remove parts from the sprite. So I just turned my eyes to the original soft hood structure. I will not be using it until next year possibly, as I have no soft hood and as they are expensive, it will have to wait. But I just wanted to restore it and store it safely....

The structure was in good condition.... plenty of surface rust as you can see...

Also I had a problem as one of the hinges was broken and not working. The hinge was positioned correctly, and taken to a metal shop where they kindly repaired with a few sports of MIG welding.

All the structure was wire wheel cleaned, because it was big and would not get into the sand blast machine. As the smaller parts and hinges could not be easily cleaned with the wire wheel, I used an outdoor sand blast gun I had, and cleaned them, with the counterpart of loosing most of the sand media.

Once the structure was completely cleaned, I had to paint it, and here come the problem. Originally the structure (as well as the toneau sticks) was painted in cumulus grey (ref Terry Horler's book). As I had no clue of a paint code for this grey, and I was not willing to make a special porpoise made spray can with the correct colour as it´s very expensive, I just got a RAL chart and searched for the most similar shade. I found that medium gray RAL 7000 was very very similar, and fortunately it´s a colour widely available at all hardware stores.

Some coats of spray primer, and several coats of RAL 7000 gray ended with a lovely restored structure that anyone would hardly tell the difference with the original colour.

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