Today was soda blast day! I spent the last week stripping the last bits off of the Polaris and pulling out nearly all of the interior and every clip and metal piece off of the car. The only thing left was the window trim, which I taped over. I had originally planned to leave most of the interior and tape over the door seams, but that didn't make any sense once I realized how many holes there were that would let baking soda into the car. So I pulled all of the dash components and the door and rear seat cards, leaving only the old carpet and the headliner intact. First thing this morning I loaded the dolly onto a Uhaul trailer and headed across town to "Stripper for hire" about an hour and 15 minutes away in Greensburg. He has a portable set-up but I didn't have a place or him to work, so I took the car to him. Here are some before images of the dirty, greasy Polaris 2002 with the amazingly bad Maaco paint job. Seriously. Maaco.
It took John about five and a half hours to do the whole car including the engine compartment, trunk and underside.
It was remarkably hard to find something to do during the 5.5 hours I waited. It did not make sense to drive home and come back, so I spent time in several restaurants, a mall, a book store, Pep Boys and Tractor Supply. Here's one I bet you didn't know. They have a TON of dolly wheels at Tractor Supply in every size up to about 12 inches (6 inch rim). I wish I knew that before I built this dolly......
OK, anyway, here are the AM-A-ZING after images!
Turns out the car is 100% original, with, as I had hoped, very little rust. That light color is the factor bumpy finish. That is factory lead in the front fender seam and in the rear window upper corners. The only rust spots are in the usual places: the tops of the front turn signals, the lower front valance, the driver's-side front fender at the bottom, a tiny spot in the rear wheel arch and a spot at the trunk support behind the passenger wheel. When he finished soda blasting it, I hauled the car back, unloaded it back into my warehouse space and took the Uhaul back for a night drop-off. (That one day local rental rate is MUCH cheaper than buying a trailer and paying to store it.) The glass guy is coming to remove the front and rear windows Thursday. Then it will be over to my paint guy as soon as he finishes with one of my other cars and has room.
If you are reading this thinking soda blasting is a bad idea, my paint guy has done many cars stripped this way and says the key is getting the baking soda off the car so an acid-etching primer will take hold. There are several paint prep products designed specifically to make this easy. Mike, the soda blast guy, gave me a bottle to wash the car down with also.
The body of this car has been sitting idle for about a year now so I am super excited to be making progress with it. It probably won't make the PVGP in July, but at this rate, it might be done NEXT year!
Thanks for reading!