It was Round 2, and we were back at Rubio's Auto Body in Sun Valley, California, to put the finishing touches on project Brutus. The Rubio's experts had teamed up like an army of ants and pushed the build through what seemed an endless gauntlet of welding and replacing panels. When we left off ("Uncovered," June '09), the El Camino sat with the majority of the bodywork and welded panels completed. To recap what was done: We removed the old orange paint, revealing the El Camino's true colors. Rot had worked its way into just about every crevice. Some panels-the hood, front fender, and rear deck-were so far from repair they had to be replaced with reproduction pieces through the help of OPG. Other stretches of metal were cut, replaced, and filled. The rest of the good panels were sanded down and awaiting primer.
Now, however, the team was up for some real elbow grease. There was no easy way around it; the entire El Camino would have to be block/wet-sanded to perfection. Block-sanding the panels by hand is a true art form, and we had miles of metal to cover. Every high and low spot had to be flattened, every imperfection perfected. As owner Joe Rubio explained, "It's a necessary evil and any shortcuts here would show up in the completed finish." So before we could lay down two very luscious coats of Eastwood Rat Rod Flat Black, Brutus was blocked, sanded, and primered twice.
Again we called on the help of Eastwood-it's a one-stop shop for the latest in paint and body tooling. Plus, everything is viewable online and at your fingertips. At Eastwood we decided on the matte black paint. While some may question our choice of a matte finish, the answer is simple: Not only does it look sweet, but it's trouble-free, requiring very little upkeep. Unlike gloss paints, this flat finish doesn't retain fingerprints or even need wax. Moreover, this is going to be the magazine's mule. It's going to carry parts, motors, rims, tires, and whatever else will fit in the bed. It's more or less a shop truck and isn't going to be parked miles away in a lot for fear of some door dings or runaway shopping carts.
Grab a seat and watch the bland-looking El Camino become a brute. We even painted the wheelwells and installed a new hood alignment kit from OPG. Hey Joe, when can we get those Gloss Black stripes down the hood?
What We Did
Dressed the ugly duckling in matte black paint
Our hard work, calloused hands, and piles of sandpaper pay off
First, each door opening and...
First, each door opening and everything around it had to be covered with paper to prevent overspray.
The Rubio's team, including...
The Rubio's team, including Carlos "Pollo" Lopez and the owner's son, Arthur Rubio, mixed up the first batch of Eastwood Feather Fill with the supplied hardener.
Arthur started from the outer...
Arthur started from the outer edges of the El Camino and worked his way inward. He made sure to properly overlap his spraying to get complete coverage.