Jerry's View: How NOT to paint your car
I don't know where he found it but number five son Scott Anthony somehow discovered a bruised and battered two door Chevy sedan someone had left to die.
It was on its side in a field near the airport flight path. With some of his teenage friends he got it on its wheels and managed to pull it with a chain and some luck up to our house.
He then came, muddy and merrily, into the house with the announcement that he and I could restore it and I would not have to help him buy a car for his 16th birthday.
He then tugged me outside to look at his muddy discovery.
I had built lots of things for the kids but had never tried to restore a battered, mud-covered mother-of-all-discards.
"I am going to make this baby sparkle by my birthday," he grinned, "But I could use a little help."
....There goes my golf match.
I had a garage but that was it. No air compressor, no paint gun, and certainly no experience.
I gave Scott a hundred reasons why it would be a foolish endeavor.
He calmly shot down all of them and as I looked on, he got his chums to help him manhandle the pile of junk into the empty garage.
After he hosed it down it was similar to an old 1964 something, but we had to look at the metal plate on the firewall to figure out that it used to be a Chevy Nova.
Over the next few days he got the wheels off, the tires were replaced and we got the engine running. The electrical wiring system and upholstery was sort of repaired and it began to look like a car again. Then we had to paint it.
I had no compressor and no spray gun and not one minute of talent. I wanted to tow it down to Malo's Auto rebuild in White Center but Scott talked me out of it so we got a compressor at Sears and prevailed on Malo's Dale Nott to come up to the house and show me how to torch and hammer the dents out of the doors we had overlooked... and to go over the basics of running a spray gun.
Even though I was getting sick of preparing this beater, we stuck with it and soon we were ready to put on a coat of fresh, pale yellow enamel.
Unfortunately, Dale did NOTT tell us that we needed ventilation in the tiny garage and all we had was the overhead door and one small fixed window for daylight.
I turned on the compressor (a roaring brute in that small garage) and gave a couple pulls on the trigger. Wow! Out came a stream of yellow paint as thick as a garden hose.
Hold everything; It was supposed to be a spray. I went in the house and called Dale and he asked what the pressure regulator was reading.
I was STUNNED. I had no idea I needed a pressure regulator. Sears had a nice selection. Before long we were home again and after some fine tuning, we began to turn that lemon into a yellow rose.
In only a few minutes of spraying, the little shop was so filled with yellow spray I had to shut off the compressor. I yelled at Scott to open the door before we choked to death. He did while I took off my yellow tainted goggles to see were we stood.
As he rolled the big door up a brisk breeze picked up the pastel yellow cloud and moved it quickly across the street toward my neighbor’s brand new car sitting brightly in his driveway.
Scott hurried to shut the garage door again, but it was too late. That beautiful car was almost as yellow as the old beater back in the garage! If that wasn't bad enough, the neighbor was in his yard.
From our driveway we watched as he came over and held his hands to his head, just like in the movies!
It was my dumb mistake but I had kids for a reason; to teach them important lessons in responsibility. It took Scott an entire gallon of solvent and a nearly a whole day to clean the yellow over-spray off that car.
I think those neighbors moved about a month later.
The little muddy Nova turned out okay and looked so good Scott sold it and bought an old truck. He never asked for any help fixing it.