Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Bronco ( Part 3 )

      I know that anyone out there who has built, rebuilt, or restored a complete vehicle will relate to this, as we've now entered the truly satisfying stage of the Bronco build...  installing clean and shiny new parts. There's just something about bolting on new or restored components that is truly intoxicating. Every move you make during this process gives you a big blast of satisfaction as you install and then step back and admire. So much of a build is spent doing months upon months of work and seeing zero change in the vehicle, that when it finally starts to happen, it's like a waterfall. In a matter of hours you can transform an entire section of your project and the problem then becomes deciding when to quit for the day, as you know how much another hour could pay off. 

      Again, I'm happy to say, that's where we are now. I'm also happy to say that quite a few people have been asking for more specifics about this truck and what we've done and are doing to it. Lets fill in the blanks shall we? 

     As I said in a previous post, my boss Gary had this truck since he was a young guy in Huntington Beach. He moved here to Nashville some 8 or so years ago and the truck stayed behind in storage. Inspired to get the thing back into service and back into his life, we put a plan together for a general rebuild. This, of course, spun out into a near full restoration. My general rule on this is when the subject of new paint comes up, the word "restoration" is soon to follow. This was no different of course. The first order of business was putting our team together, and I couldn't be happier with who we were able to get to help out. 

     Far and away the biggest score was securing a spot at my friend Kevin Tetz's shop for the body and paint work. Kevin is a seriously talented guy and, because of that, always has a million irons in the fire. I caught him on the perfect day when I hit him up for the job of making the Bronco shiny again. I was able to get the truck into his shop within the month and soon he and his shop partner Glen Massey were hard at work doing any and all needed repairs. From the very start, Gary had a completed picture in his head of what he wanted the new version of his old truck to look like so, armed with that, we went to visit Glen and Kevin and put together the plan. 

     The biggest idea on the table was the paint scheme. Gary had very specific directions for this and they were as follows... a solid black paint job to the standard of his new black Suburban, BUT, with very subtle silver pearl ghost flames. Now this is where the men get separated from the boys. After hearing that the flames needed to almost be a surprise to people, seen here and there in headlight reflections or in just the right amount of sunlight, Kevin took that information and transfered it perfectly into the finished paint job. How anyone can do this I'll never know. I mean, he was able to make it come out exactly as it was originally described to him. Amazing! 

     While in the body shop, some other changes were made as well. Over the years the dashboard had become a mess of switches and knobs for dozens of lights, radios, and other accessories that had come and gone. Glen decided to cut the dash out and basically make a new one. What we ended up with is perfect. New, easy to read gauges replaced the weathered factory cluster, all needed switches and knobs were now centrally located in the dash face, and the glovebox, which had previously been unusable because of an interfering roll bar downtube, was moved over a few inches in the dash so it can be used again. 

     Very few exterior body modifications were made, but what were done I think are very cool. One of the standouts is the change to a recessed Shelby Cobra fuel cell style gas cap. I can't get over how perfect it looks on the side of the truck, like they should have made them that way. The Shelby theme runs throughout the truck in other subtle, and not so subtle, ways. GT 350 style side mirrors are now in place as well as a pair of new matte black Cobra valve covers and matching Cobra 2x4 style air cleaner assembly ( we'll get to the engine tomorrow ). 

    So I guess you can tell how pleased I am with the job that Kevin Tetz and Glen Massey did. They definitely set the bar for the rest of the build and, to me, that's the kind of problem you want. The body couldn't possibly be straighter and the paint looks a mile deep. What else could you want? 

    Some folks, I'm sure, recognize Kevin's name, but for those who don't, you can catch Kevin every Saturday on the Spike TV network hosting his show "Trucks TV." It's a great show that takes you through a wide range of how-2s and builds and you will get to see Kevin in action doing what he does best. You can also go to to check out past episodes and other info about the show. For the really hands on restorer who wants to learn the art of top level show car body and paint work, Kevin has a series of instructional videos that his company "Paintucation" has released that will take you through every step of the process. I believe you can order them through Summit and other suppliers. 

    So there you go folks, that's the story on the paint. For the horsepower fans, as promised, tomorrow's post will take us through the drivetrain build and what exactly is going to be powering this thing. You won't be disappointed. Stay tuned! 

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