Fox Body Paint Job - Return Of The Street Smart Windsor
Our Windsor swap project is updated with new paint and more!
From the October, 2011 issue of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
By Steve Baur
Photography by The Author
Well, it's been quite a while since you last saw our Street Smart Windsor project car, but we've blown the dust off and have several upcoming tech articles planned for it, including this month's custom paint and bodywork, courtesy of North Deland Auto Body.
Underneath the troubled repaint...
Underneath the troubled repaint job, we found the panels of the GT to be relatively straight, which helped reduce bodywork.
To bring those unfamiliar with the project up to speed, we picked up this 100-percent stock '89 GT for a paltry $950, and promptly pulled the engine. It ran just fine after fixing the fusible link, but we wanted to do something a bit different. So we called up Latemodel Restoration Supply and ordered one of its budget 351W short-blocks. We then topped it off with RHS cylinder heads, a Trickflow intake, and a custom camshaft from Comp that featured a stock-like duration, but as much lift as we could fit given the pistons and valves we were using. Our latest dyno pulls netted 325 rwhp and 382 lb-ft of torque, with a smooth idle and through a pair of converters. Said power production propelled our GT to a 13.09 quarter-mile time, and we plan to improve upon that with an upcoming differential and gear swap-going through the traps at 4,200 rpm in Fourth gear isn't really optimal.
If you saw our last drag test, though, you probably noticed the cracked windshield, lack of hood, and general crappy disposition that our GT offers. Aesthetically, it had been banged up at all four corners, and a bad custom paint job left the clearcoat peeling on the horizontal surfaces. To rectify that and the Windsor-specific hood clearance issue, we decided to enlist the services of North Deland Auto Body to straighten out our GT, and bring it up to date with a custom look. The skilled staff at North Deland Auto Body had already upgraded one of our sister magazine's rides, so we knew we were in good hands.
The staff handles everything from ho-hum dealer repairs to one-off custom work on a daily basis, and steered us toward the Matrix System line of finishing products for paint. You can spend days, hours, weeks, or more trying to pick a color, and we logged quite a few hours on the Internet looking at various shades. We were leaning towards a metallic red and in the end, our painter, Robby Novak, showed us his custom Silverado sprayed in a luscious shade called Raspberry Metallic-we were sold. The Raspberry Metallic is a color from Matrix's custom FX Pearl MPX-P line of finishes, and while it looks like a candy paint finish in various lights, it utilizes your basic clearcoat, which makes it easier to refinish should you get nicks or dings down the road.
As they keep North Deland Auto Body stock up on a regular basis, the fine folks at Another Option Paint and Body Supply (Deland, Florida) provided us with the Refinish Solutions Fast-Build Urethane Primer/Sealer (RSP-160) and Activator (RSP-165), as well as the Matrix FX Raspberry Metallic and clearcoat to finish the job.
With the shop and paint finishes lined up, we needed to address the general body issues that we had with the Street Smart Windsor. Both the front and rear bumper covers were shot, and the stock hood would not fit anymore with the taller Windsor motor now resting between the framerails. To that end, we used a combination of parts from Latemodel Restoration Supply and Cervinis Auto Designs to replace the damaged pieces, and give the GT a more distinct appearance.
Once the Street Smart Windsor rolled out of the paint booth for the final time, we were absolutely in love with the color of the car, and the finish was superb. The stock Pony wheels just don't do it justice, so we've teamed up with Billet Specialties and Baer Brakes to give project SSW a custom set of hoops and binders that won't break the bank. You can read about that in an upcoming issue, along with some of the other performance-related modifications that we have planned. In the meantime, check out the captions to see how the paint and body project came together.
1 The passenger side was...
1 The passenger side was in even better shape, but the North Deland staff still primed and blocked our Mustang a number of times to make sure it was pin straight.
2 To replace the beaten up...
2 To replace the beaten up rear bumper cover, we used a ’93 Cobra-style piece from Cervini’s Auto Designs (PN 3336; $299). It’s a full wrap-around piece that also does away with the factory fender extensions. We found that the tailpipes were initially pushing the bumper cover up and out of place, so they were pulled from the hangers until we could get the GT back on the lift and reposition the exhaust system with the new Cobra bumper cover in place.
3 The Fox-body Mustang probably...
3 The Fox-body Mustang probably has more aftermarket hoods available for it than any other domestic make or model. To clear our Windsor powerplant, we opted for the ’95 Cobra R-style hood from Cervini’s (PN 136; $495). Cervini’s also offers a ’00 Cobra R hood that would probably work as well, but we kept it a little more sedate.
4 The big clearance issues...
4 The big clearance issues with the Windsor come from the front edge of the intake manifold, as well as the throttle position sensor and throttle body. You can see here that we had plenty of clearance for both with the Cobra R-style hood.
5 At the front end of the...
5 At the front end of the car, we utilized the ’87-’93 Mustang ’93 Cobra-style front bumper cover kit from Latemodel Restoration Supply (PN LRS-8190D-K; $204.99), which includes a replacement GT cover, along with the ’93 Cobra grill and emblem. Trailing back, we used the Cervinis ’93 Cobra-style front fender extensions (PN 4332; $159), and we hit up LRS for new body door moldings (PN LRS-20939B and LRS-20938B; $69.99 each) as ours were peeling up at the ends and couldn’t be repaired.
6 The ’93 Cobra grill insert...
6 The ’93 Cobra grill insert was easy to install, but at some point, we lost the running Pony grille emblem. We took the opportunity to make it our own and used the grill without the emblem. We just needed to remove the support from inside and sand the interior surfaces smooth.
7 Probably the worst part...
7 Probably the worst part of the car was the rust spot (more accurately a quarter-sized hole) where the A pillar met the front door jamb. The North Deland Auto Body staff used a two-apart epoxy to fill it in and stiffen up the structure. Clean out the leaves, people, and stuff like this won’t happen.
8 The door belt weatherstrips...
8 The door belt weatherstrips on both front windows was rusting and coming apart. We replaced these and all of the other weatherstripping with pieces from Latemodel Restoration Supply.
9 After all of the rough...
9 After all of the rough bodywork was completed, it was time to lay down the high-build primer. Here, aspiring MMA fighter, occasional bailbondsman, Jedi paint master, and all around nice guy Robby Novak begins taping up SSW in preparation for the first coat of primer.
10 Novak preps the surface...
10 Novak preps the surface with cleaning agent to remove any dust that may have settled during the bodywork process, or even from the masking tape and paper.
11 The first layer of high-build...
11 The first layer of high-build primer goes on and our Mustang works its way toward becoming one color again. The door moldings were sprayed while off the car, since we were using new ones from Latemodel Restoration Supply.
12 Next, Novak lays down...
12 Next, Novak lays down a guide coat that will be sanded down to reveal the high and low spots of our relatively straight surfaces. You’d be surprised what you find when you perform this step.
13 You can see the original...
13 You can see the original color of the car on the right. The valve cover represents a bad spray job of Ferrari’s Rubino Micalizzato. It’s one of the final color choices we looked at right before selecting the Matrix FX Raspberry Metallic. The problem with the Rubino was that it looked beautiful in the sunlight, but in the shade, it turned into a bland wine color. And let’s face it, the Fox-body Mustang, as much as we love it, is no Ferrari when it comes to body-lines, and without the swooping curves of the F430, it looked pretty plain. The FX Raspberry Metallic changed all of that.
14 After the guidecoat was...
14 After the guidecoat was sanded, reprimed and sanded again, Novak covered the Mustang in the Refinish Solutions primer sealer, which is a thinner, primer that provides an even color with a good bonding surface for the basecoat. Once that was completed, it was time to spray the jambs in the basecoat. While we would be using a white base under the Raspberry, we left out that step when it came to the jambs and engine bay. This can be a time- and paint-saving step.
15 With the jambs completed,...
15 With the jambs completed, it was time to lay down the white base that our color called for. White can be difficult to cover with color, needing 4-6 coats or more, so if you’re short on product, you can use silver instead with similar end results.
16 Novak applies the first...
16 Novak applies the first coat of the Matrix System FX Raspberry Metallic on our Cervini’s Cobra R hood. This basecoat color gets darker with each coat, as you can tell from the difference between the red hue in this photo, and the red hue in the next, which is three coats later.
17 The basecoat alone looks...
17 The basecoat alone looks pretty cool, sort of like it has been anodized. We can understand why the latest trend is flat or satin finishes now, but we’re into reflections as it pops for the camera better.
18 Novak uses a smaller HVLP...
18 Novak uses a smaller HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) gun to get into tight areas like inside the rear ground effect tunnel as seen here, or even something as common as the front edge of the front bumper cover.
19 We didn’t stay for long...
19 We didn’t stay for long in the paint booth once Novak started shooting the clearcoat, as it is pushed out at a higher pressure, and pretty much goes everywhere. We took the camera gear and ran after getting a few shots.
20 As luscious as the Raspberry...
20 As luscious as the Raspberry Metallic looked with the clear on it, Novak wasn’t anywhere near being finished with the job, as there were numerous wet-sanding and buffing steps to come next.
21 The wet-sanding process...
21 The wet-sanding process actually begins, uh, dry, where our man Robby Novak takes to the flat surfaces with a dual-action sander (DA) and 1,000-grit paper. He then moves to a flexible sanding block and wet 1,200-grit paper to go over the 1,000-grit areas he just sanded. This helps remove the heavier scratches or marks before he moves on to 1,500-grit wet paper for the entire surface.
22 After wet-sanding, each...
22 After wet-sanding, each panel gets buffed out using three different stages of 3M rubbing compounds before a final polish is applied. Between the wet-sanding and buffing, there is a lot of post paintwork that goes into a show-quality finish.
23 The previous front lighting...
23 The previous front lighting arrangement consisted of broken, missing, or yellow lenses, so we contacted Latemodel Restoration Supply for a complete set of new lenses. New headlights and foglights can do wonders for an otherwise-mundane GT, but they are a necessity for anything getting fresh paint. We’re digging the Cobra grille sans emblem, too.
24 You have a few options...
24 You have a few options for tail lights for the Fox-body Mustang, but for this author, nothing is better than the ’93 Cobra pieces, no matter what style of Fox Mustang you have. These outer lenses from LRS (PN LRS-13450C-K; $148.99) fit onto your original housings and will transform the rear end of the car if you have the GT cheese grater lenses. According to LRS, these lenses were used on ’85-’86 SVO Mustangs and ’93 Cobras—the earlier SVO Mustangs featured the same lenses, just with black pinstriping instead of the later gray color.
25 To make the trim look...
25 To make the trim look as good as the rest of the exterior, Novak sanded, primed and painted the rear quarter glass trim, along with the windshield moldings. From there, we handled the rest with LRS’ trim paint. From left to right, we have the repainted the wipers, new lower windshield moldings, new cowl panel, repainted door belt moldings, new doorbelt weatherstripping, and new window run channels. LRS has every molding and weatherstrip you’ll need for the job, but if your stuff is in decent shape, like some of ours, then just touch it up.
Here you can see how the Matrix...
Here you can see how the Matrix FX Raspberry Metallic still appears pretty vivid in the shade. The tail pipes are still out of their hangers at this point; we’ll tuck them up once we have SSW back on a lift. The upcoming wheel/tire package should fill out the wheelwells a bit for a more muscular look.
In the sun, the color really...
In the sun, the color really pops, and has a tendency to show some blue tones depending on the angle of view. Next, we’re going to fortify the rear axle, upgrade the brakes with some nice Baer binders, and show you how to get a custom wheel for your Fox-body without the expensive cost of the popular three-piece wheels with the help of Billet Specialties.
North Deland Auto Body
4493 North US Highway 17
Another Option Paint & Body Supply
1078 Shadick Dr
Late Model Restoration Supply
400 Jan Dr.
Cervini's Auto Designs
3656 N. Mill Road
AABCO Auto Glass