Tonight I started making the interior panels, starting with the cargo doors and cargo area side panel. First a paper template is made, then the panel is cut from 1/8″ tempered hardboard. The hardboard is an extremely close match to the original panel material, which would have been ~1/8″ tarboard. The hardboard has the same composition except is held together with dried linseed oil instead of dried tar; this type of hardboard was much more common than tarboard on other cars of the same era.
I finished 3 panels tonight and there are 8 more to go: Rear hatch, cargo area behind cargo doors, both front doors, under dashboard (2 panels), and back of both seat partitions. Once they’re all finished they’ll be covered in vinyl and mounted in place.
All of the deluxe molding is now installed, along with most of the windows; there’s still a lot left to do but it’s at least starting to look finished.
Today I worked on installing the sun roof. I polished and installed the aluminum tracks on the roof, assembled all the various pieces and installed the tension straps that keep the bows spaced correctly. Now that it’s all together I’m beginning to wrap my head around how it works; it’s actually simple, it just looks complicated because of all the pieces.
The forward-most sunroof bow was in mostly OK condition, I had blasted and painted it a while ago, however the metal tabs that hold the headliner had mostly rusted off. The tab strips aren’t available, but they’re easy enough to make, so I did exactly that. Once the strips were made they were welded to the bow and painted. These metal strips fold over a thin strip of plastic that’s sewn to the edge of the headliner fabric.
All of the hours of sanding on the lower body finally paid off today. Thunderstorms in the area all day prevented me from painting outside; so I moved everything in the garage to the back wall, covered with drop cloths, and painted inside. The only casualty was the garage floor which is being resurfaced in the near future anyways. This worked out better anyhow since the color coat stayed sticky for a long time (compared to primer), if it were painted outside any passing bugs/dust would have stuck. Overall it came out well, you can easily see reflections in the pictures, but it will require wet-sanding & polishing to get rid of the orange peel texture.
After the paint was complete there was no longer anything stopping me from mounting the bumpers and lights, so I got them on right away. It’s nice that these parts are finally going on the bus since they had been taking up a lot of storage/counter space.
The last round of sanding only broke through the primer lightly in a few spots, so tonight I added one more coat of primer that will be wetsanded with 400grit; blue paint should go on this weekend!
No photos since the bus doesn’t look any different. After several rounds of priming/sanding it is becoming much flatter though and should be ready for blue paint soon.