There's no hiding the fact that paint and bodywork aren't cheap. In one form or another, it's going to cost you. Just take our '66 El Camino for example. Like most first buys, our Elco was a solid 20-footer and its history was questionable. It was only when we dropped it off at Rubio's Autobody in Sun Valley, California, that we realized the true condition of the body.
After the initial onceover, it was fairly obvious that the poor thing had already seen shoddy bodywork at some point of its life. The previous owner had filled the gaps, cracks, fist- and foot-sized holes that riddled the car with cardboard and body filler, truly signs of botched craftsmanship. It was then when owner Joe Rubio decided that in order to save time, new panels (where applicable) would be the most viable option to revive our bucket.
To save time and money, we removed everything, including the bumpers, door handles, grille
While we hadn't planned on stripping the exterior to the metal, it was the correct way to fix our problem. And just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, we removed the rear window, known to be a common rot area on El Caminos, and it got worse.
This is the kind of bodywork we would never attempt on our own. However, Rubio has years of talent backing him and an extraordinary amount of experience building coachlike vehicles from the '30s on, '60s muscle cars, and even classic air-cooled exotics. "I'll take it to the frame if I have to," said Rubio while using what seemed like X-ray vision to investigate the remainder of the chassis.
To say that we were in the right place to get our vehicle back to prime Grade A condition would be an understatement. Rubio's Autobody took quick action and transformed our Elco from an almost painful-to-look-at state to a more recognizable muscle car that was ready for primer and paint. So break out a mask and sandpaper as we prepare this sled for paint.
What We Did
Stripped the Elco to a shell, fixed the rust, and added a new hood, fender, and patch panel from Original Parts Group.
The body was a complete mess and required substantial work.
Diving in head-first, Arthur Rubio led the team on the El Camino's body surfaces. Using a
Rubio's Autobody went ahead and scrapped the driver's side fender and the hood. Joe Rubio
Hidden Horrors As the Rubio's team dug deeper and deeper into the body, a host of hidden
...Common problem areas are the bottoms of rear windows where water runs down each side an
Paying attention to detail, Marvin Ixqiac hand-sanded the taillight housing to perfection,
Fill It With Eastwood For a majority of the El Camino's bodywork, we used Eastwood produc
|WHAT WE USED |
|MFG ||PN ||DESCRIPTON ||PRICE |
|Eastwood ||34229 ||Pro respirator ||$50 |
| ||31375 ||80-grit PSA roll ||22 |
|31374 ||120-grit PSA roll ||22 |
|19627 ||180-grit PSA roll ||22 |
|19628 ||220-grit PSA roll ||22 |
|31376 ||320-grit PSA roll ||22 |
|31377 ||400-grit PSA roll ||22 |
|31356 ||400-grit ||27 |
|31353 ||600-grit ||27 |
|19633 ||1000-grit ||27 |
|31196 ||6-,15-, and 21-inch adj. boards ||160 |
|31273 ||Mix board ||17 |
|20384 ||3M dry guide coat ||50 |
|34243 ||3/4-inch masking tape ||4 |
|34244 ||2-inch masking tape ||11 |
|12712 ZP ||Rage Gold body filler ||50 |
|31279 Z ||Metal glaze ||40 |
|19783 ZP ||Feather Fill G-2 Black (gallon) ||65 |
|13805 ZP ||Feather Fill G-2 Black (quart) ||23 |
|50242 ZP ||Epoxy primer, gray ||17 |
|50243 ZP ||Epoxy primer catalyst ||17 |
|OPG ||C990177 ||Driver's side front fender ||370 |
| ||C99120 ||SS hood w/ inserts ||430 |
|97CH019 ||Lower rear window patch ||30 |
|Rubio's Autobody ||120 hours ||Labor @ $42/hr ||5,040 |
| || ||TOTAL ||$6,587 |
It's the small items that define a true body shop. Arthur Rubio noticed that the window tr
Take it from us: Rust had worked its way into every crevice imaginable. The quarter-panel
Bernal measured and cut a new piece of sheetmetal from stock. Next, he began to stitch-wel
Before body filler can be laid onto the newly attached metal, fiberglass is first applied.
Bernal removed the tailgate from the El Camino and set it up on a workbench to begin sandi
Our rear window was atrocious. The sides and bottom that supported the window had complete
While the Elco wasn't quite ready for primer, the doors, tailgate, fender, and hood were.
Adjustable Block Eastwood also offers these long-board adjustable sanders that are design
For now, the Rubio's team set the primered panels aside and prepared the remainder of the