Archive for the ‘Eastwood Chatter’ Category

The Race of Gentlemen 2013 Coverage

Lemmy from Motörhead once said “If you think you are too old to rock ‘n roll, then you are.” and the same goes for driving your classic cars and bikes. Too many people are afraid to drive their classics because they’re “too old”. The guys at the Oilers Car Club wanted to put on an event where Pre-War autos and motorcycles could be driven like they were back in their heyday. This is how the The Race of Gentlemen was born in 2012.

The idea was simple, pick a beach and setup a grassroots style 1/8th mile drag race next to the water. No fancy digital time clocks, no staging, no burnout pit, and no egos, just 2 men and 2 machines going all-out in the sand. Word spread quick in the hot rod and vintage motorcycle community and the debut event last year was wildly successful. I was extremely disappointed I couldn’t make it, and I made sure I cleared my calendar for this past weekend to see this unique event for myself.

This year the event was held appropriately in Wildwood, NJ. For anyone not familiar, Wildwood is an old, well known beach town in the Northeast. Wildwood has made a point to keep the retro feel and many of the businesses still use old neon signs that look straight out of the 50′s and 60′s. The race itself was held just off the boardwalk directly in front of the old amusement park. This made for some pretty epic photos with the big ferris wheel in the background. With the hype surrounding this event (especially after coverage last year in Hot Rod Magazine), I made sure to get there bright and early and stand in line to be one of the first on the beach. Once you got down to the event it was like going back in time. The Oilers had done a great job of making retro signage for the event and even a timing tower that looked period correct.

After the staff went over the race rules with the drivers, the lovely flag girls made their way to the starting line and the cars began lining up two by two. Before each race the flag girl would quickly go over how she would start the race and the drivers would be off. The classes were broken down pretty simply into “bangers” (inline flathead four cylinder engines) and V8 flatheads. I’m pretty sure that this may have been one of the largest gatherings of flatheads on the east coast in a while. I’m still getting chills from the sound of all of those flathead V8′s at WOT (wide open throttle)! After the first wave of races the drivers took a 30 minute break and the crowd was able to go into the “pits” and check out all of the cars and bikes and chat with the drivers. It was refreshing walking around, no one had an attitude, or was too worried about prepping for the next bracket, everyone was just happy talking cars and sharing information about their ride.

After the break the racing started back up and went until the final races which ended around 5PM. Unlike most drag races and shows, the crowd wasn’t leaving before the event was over or as soon as they heard the winner, this was more than that. I found myself roaming the pits with the rest of the crowd, chatting with the drivers of some of my favorite cars and bikes and hearing the story behind their car and racing it. I was really surprised at how far some of the drivers and cars had come from. A club from Colorado made the trip and actually took home some wins, along with some cars from New England and the southeast. Many of us stayed until the cars were kicked off the beach and everyone retired to their hotels for the intermission between the race and the Saturday night party. That’s right, the Oilers not only put on a killer laid back nostalgic race on the beach, but they also put on an equally cool beach party later that evening. A lineup of rock bands, a large bonfire, and good conversation kept the crowd around until the wee hours of Sunday morning.

After leaving the party I decided to go roam Wildwood a little bit and see what sort of gems were hiding in the parking lots at each of the hotels. I was pleasantly surprised to find some REALLY cool classic cars and bikes hiding that spectators had driven to the event. I can definitely see this getting much larger and classic cars and bikes taking over the entire town for the weekend. I hit a lot of car and bike events around the globe each season and I can honestly say this is one of, if not the BEST event I’ve been to in years. The Oilers have the right idea and the friendly, laid-back vibe they all have spreads to all of the participants and spectators and makes for a successful event. I can’t wait for next year! I’m hoping one of these years I can get a car there to race myself, I want to scream down the beach with sand spraying everywhere!

Check out the rest of the photos I shot Saturday below.

-Matt/EW

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How to form a custom airbag tub with Eastwood Tools

Recently our friend Sean at Empire Fabrication sent us some pictures of a custom airbag tub for a bagged VW Eurovan he’s building for a customer and we had to share. Follow along as he shares the Eastwood tools and process he used to build the custom bag tub.

First a rough pattern from chipboard or construction paper was made and the shape was laid out on the metal. In this project 18 gauge mild steel was used. Sean started by bending the general contour in the panel by hand and then began working the panel with the plastic teardrop mallet. Note the X’s where the majority of the shaping will occur with the Eastwood Panelbeater Sandbag and Teardrop Mallet Kit.

After stretching the shape into the panel Sean used the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher Set to shrink the top edge of the panel to move it in. This is where you can really start to see metal start to move and take shape.

After checking the panel to the the vehicle it was determined that more shaping was required with the teardrop mallet. You can see how the guidelines and X’s are still where the majority of the shaping is occurring on the panel.

In the last couple pictures the panel really looks like a mess from first glance, but the Planishing Hammer is where the smoothing magic really happens. The pneumatic operated planishing hammer smooths the metal out very quickly by hammering the metal between two smooth surfaces. This is the same idea as using a hammer and dolly, but supercharged to save time. Be sure to wear proper hearing protection and buy the neighbors some movie tickets to get them out of the house for the night, this isn’t a quiet process!

After some time with the planishing hammer you can see the tub is smoothed out and taking shape. After a little more shaping the bottom edge was tipped and shrunk. In the last picture the tub is nearly done and it already looks like it could have been an O.E. part!

If you want to follow this build or see Sean perform some more metal shaping magic with Eastwood tools, be sure to follow along on his Instagram here: http://instagram.com/empire_fabrication

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Project Pile House Late Summer Update

Last time I checked in on Project Pile House I had just gotten done welding floor pans in and rebuilding the rotten door jambs. Since then I’ve been really busy and I have been slacking on my updates here. I have been posting regular updates on Instagram if you want to follow along feel free to check the #pilehouse tag or view the pics on your desktop HERE. Either way it’s been a crazy summer and I’ve had my head down and decided to work on making the truck a drivable project rather than a garage ornament. This means I took some of my focus off of fine tuning gaps, minor dents, etc, and focusing on making the truck mechanically complete. I figure I will need to work out the bugs and I’d rather scratch primer than a nice shiny paint job working out the bugs.

I began with only the foam mock-up block and the TCI transmission installed in the truck. I was ready to get the Pace Performance SBC crate engine in the truck. I started by removing the front end of the truck, installing the TCI torque converter, ring gear, and transmission to the engine. I then hung them on the 10 Ton Engine Hoist and attempted to drop it into the truck. This is where my first problem popped up.

If you look closely in the picture above you can see that the oil pan on the engine wasn’t your run of the mill SBC pan. This engine was originally meant for a circle track race car and had a deep sump oil pan that was much larger than standard. I was excited to have a nice baffled pan with extra capacity, but it wasn’t meant to be. The pan wasn’t playing nicely and hit the front chassis cross member. After a lot of cursing, lowering and raising the engine, and scratching my head, I admitted defeat and pulled the mess back out of the truck. I had to buy a stock oil pan and remove the fancy race pan.

Changing an oilpan on a small block isn’t too bad with the engine out normally, but I had forgotten this engine was meant for a “SPEC” circle track series where everyone had the same engine and it was “sealed” with tamper-proof bolts by GM Performance. These little round head bolts have no spot for a wrench or hex key to grab. They even have mini barcodes on them that can be scanned to assure they match the engine they were manufactured for! Since I couldn’t get a set of locking pliers on the small tamper-proof oil pan bolts I needed to use an old mechanics trick and weld a nut to the head of the rounded bolt. I decided to fire up the TIG200 AC/DC to fuse some nuts to the heads of the tamper-proof bolts. This allowed me to crack them loose with a wrench and move forward without damaging anything. I replaced those bolts with some OEM spec pan bolts and I was back in business with a factory oil pan.

With the engine installed the 2013 Eastwood Summer Classic was only a week away and I again changed gears (I do this a lot!) and decided to strip all of the surface rust and old paint off of the truck to so I could seal the base metal and make the truck one color. I used our large 7 Inch Stripping and Cleaning Disc Kit to remove the old paint and surface rust and leave myself with relatively clean metal on the cab and front clip. The bed of the truck unfortunately was too rough to just strip the surface rust from, so I opted to pull out the 100 Pound Media Blaster and blast the entire bed. This did the job well, but it also allowed me to discover some more hidden rot on the bed and fenders that’s a bit bothersome. I may decide to tackle making a new bed and rear fenders down the road as this bed will take an immense amount of work to make it 100% straight and nice again.

Once the body was stripped I decided to coat the entire truck in Black Rust Encapsulator. The truck was stripped to 99% bare metal, but parts of the truck had pitted metal that still had some light surface rust in the pits. Rust Encapsulator gives me peace of mind that the minor rust in those pits will be encapsulated and sealed from spreading. During the stripping and encapsulating process I got a care package from our friends over at Coker Tire that included my wide whitewall Coker Classic Tires and OEM style chrome steel wheels with spider caps. Once I bolted some wheel spacers on, the stance is EXACTLY how I had envisioned from day one. The truck still has the retro style I wanted but with a touch of custom styling and LOW like I prefer all of my vehicles. I can say rolling the truck outside for the Summer Classic with a new look, the right wheels and tires, and the new drivetrain installed was a great feeling!

Once the Summer Classic craziness was over I took a week or two break on the truck before I came back to working on the bomber seat project I hinted at in the last update. I’ve been busy working on the project and we’ve been filming the process along the way. I can’t wait to show off cool projects like this that you can accomplish with some imagination and a few key Eastwood tools. Below are some sneak peaks of the bead rolled, hole punched, and riveted seat pan. I also have been doing some welding with the Eastwood TIG200 DC to attach the custom seat pan to the original Dodge seat frame. I just have to finish assembling the center console and attach it to the seat and Pile House should have a custom bomber seat to sit in shortly!

I’ve most recently received a batch of parts from JEGS and I’ve been working on getting the truck ready to start and move under its own power. This means mounting up the Lokar throttle pedal, B&M street rod shifter, making plug wires, etc. I’ve been taking pictures along the way and I’ll give you guys some tutorials on mounting up some of these parts here soon! I’m hoping to get the truck to start up in the next month. I’ll be sure to check in and let you see and hear her come to life for the first time! Thanks for following! -Matt/EW

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How to Plasti Dip Your Car – Dipping a Mk3 VW Golf


There’s a time, place, and vehicle for a proper show-winning paint job. What happens when you have the itch to customize your car or give it a better finish then it currently has, but don’t have the ability, tools, time or cash for a traditional repaint. Recently automotive enthusiasts have found a reversible way to customize and change the color of their vehicle without damaging the paint. This craze is called “dipping your car”. What’s involved when you dip your car? Well basically it’s a plastic coating that when sprayed heavy enough, can be peeled off of the surface without damaging the paint underneath. The key is to lay enough coats that you create a tough, flexible “skin” over the vehicle. Plasti-Dip and other plastic coatings were originally known for coating the handles of tools, benches, outdoor public furniture and other oddball uses until someone discovered that you can obtain the plastic coatings in gallons and spray it through a household paint sprayer.

We wanted to experience this craze for ourselves and one of our loyal local Eastwood customers “Sean H.” offered up his customized 1997 “Mk3″ VW Golf as a subject for dipping. Sean has owned this VW Golf since high school and after 8 years of daily driving, pizza delivery, and just general abuse, the original black paint paint on this car has seen better days. Sean also was a little bored with driving a black car and wanted something drastically different. It’s like one of those makeover shows where the guys wife is an ultra-conservative, boring dresser and the hosts make her look like an A-lister party-girl and the husband goes nuts. It’s not necessarily better, just different and a welcomed change. Since Sean has some sentimental attachment to this car, he didn’t want to sell her. This is just a temporary new look to rekindle the love affair with his little VW Golf.

Sean decided he really did want to go with a drastic makeover and he decided on White Plasti-Dip as his final color. As you can imagine changing from black to white is going to take a LOT of material to completely hide the black. Just like a traditional paint job Sean decided to use a “Mid-Coat” to speed up the process and require less coats of white. He chose Gun Metal Gray Plasti-Dip to lay down first over the original black paint. Most every base Plasti-Dip is dead flat and has almost zero gloss. This look isn’t for everyone, Sean included. He decided to top coat the white with Plasti-Dip Glossifier to give the white finish a bit of a gloss. Follow along below as we show you the basics to dipping your car.

As you can see the paint on this VW Golf has seen better days and this car gets driven a lot. Sean began by pulling the car into the shop and giving it a thorough cleaning. He finished up by wiping the entire car down with glass cleaner and began taping off the glass, emblems, and large parts of the car he didn’t want to coat. The nice thing about plastic coatings and Plasti-Dip is that it DOES peel off, so you can be pretty quick about taping off the car. Areas that have definitive breaks from the body like headlights, taillights, etc. can be left untaped and you can simply puncture the coating where it connected between the body and that part and just tear it off. We suggest focusing on areas that have little to no gap from the body and things that are intricate like emblems and certain trim. Otherwise the tedious job of taping off a car for paint is much easier when dipping a car!

Once the car was taped off Sean moved to preparing the Earlex Spray Station and the gun metal gray Plasti-Dip. Before pouring, Sean thoroughly mixed the dip. Once the first batch of paint was ready to spray Sean set his spray pattern and practiced his technique on a spare junk bumper rebar. From there Sean began laying his first coat of gray. Because of the dramatic color change he ended up laying 2 heavy coats of the gray to get enough coverage for the white to properly cover.

With the black muted a bit with the gray Plasti-Dip Sean thoroughly cleaned the Earlex gun and moved on to mixing and spraying the white Plasti-Dip. In the end he laid six coats of white to get a high build that could be peeled off easily. Sean waited about 30-35 minutes between coats to allow for the dip to “flash”. Once the car was all white you could really see why he decided to use the glossifier.

After the white flashed on the car Sean cleaned the Earlex gun and mixed up the glossifier. The glossifier does shoot a bit differently than the colors and you will need to dial your gun back to avoid excessive output which will cause runs and sags. Once the paint gun was adjusted properly he applied three coats of the glossifier again allowing 30-35 minutes between coats. The final result gives the white almost a metallic or pearlescent effect to the gloss. Definitely better than chipping, fading original paint!

With the car fully dipped everything could be untaped and the coating peeled off of the headlights, taillights, and other parts he didn’t want the coating on. The best way to do this is to cut or poke a hole in an edge or corner of a part and peel the edge up as you go like you’re removing a vinyl sticker. Any excess that isn’t built up enough to peel off can be rubbed off using your fingers or a sponge. Remember it’s easier to remove heavy “overspray” Plasti-Dip than just a light dust coat!

Once the car was unmasked and the excess coating removed, Sean rolled the car outside to get a good look at it. The finish has a cool medium sheen with a metallic/pearl type look in some lights. Up close there is a light texture, but from a few feet away it really looks great and could almost be mistaken for a traditional respray! Sean plans to use the Black Aerosol Plasti-Dip to coat the side trim and some other parts to break up the amount of white on the car. That’s one of the nice things about dipping a car is that you can just peel it off if you don’t like it or peel a portion to add another color or customize the dip further. Now that the car is back on the road Sean has a new love affair for his car and he can be seen rocking it around town with pride like the day he first bought it!

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Bay One Customs Cameo SEMA Truck Build : Reassembly and Shiny Things!

TC and his team at Bay One Customs have been very busy since we last checked in with them. With only 8 weeks to go until the big debut at SEMA 2013, they really need to hustle to finish the truck. They don’t plan to fake it like a lot of the cars at the show, this sucker needs to run, drive, AND look good!

After laying down the special Eastwood Candy Red paint (coming to eastwood.com soon!) on the body panels, TC was nice enough to give us a quick tutorial on how he achieves that DEEP, WET finish on his candy paint jobs. We still can’t believe how killer that color looks!

With the panels all shiny and ready to go together, the team “married” the cab and the chassis and started hooking up the essentials to make this pile of shiny metal a running, driving truck. This includes, exhaust, wiring and electrical, HVAC system, and much more! Oh… and a LOT of shiny chrome bits (what do you expect it IS a SEMA show vehicle!). TC gives us a quick rundown below.

Bay One has been using a LOT of Eastwood products along the way. TC is a big fan of our stuff, so much so, he likes to share tips and tricks he uses to achieve such amazing results. In the video below TC shows a trick for getting a smooth, satin, UV resistant finish on the wood for the bed of the truck. He also covers applying the candy red to the cab and bed and shows you them mated to the chassis. The vision is really starting to become a reality and everyone involved is extremely excited!

In the most recent update from TC we’re finally able to see the body fully assembled and nearly complete. The back end of this truck is also revealed. TC has an immense amount of time into the bed and tailgate alone to make it true to the original concept design. He pulled parts and cues from a number of Chevy products from this era and we think it probably came out better than if Chevy had done it themselves! Lastly he gives us a sneak peak at his custom license plate bracket modifications. This makes your “hideaway” plate look like child’s play!

Stay tuned, we’ll keep feeding you updates as TC works on the truck. We hope to have a full video feature on the truck at SEMA 2013!

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