Another interior item requiring attention was the ashtray. The inner housing had not been installed and, when the spring steel cigar-holder area had been re-plated, it had been bent too far back. It broke when being repositioned. We decided to braze it at the correct angle and see if it would hold up.
A completion deadline of September 14, 2007 was looming, but we continued to wait for Livelsberger. By August, it was time to get going. Flaws in the paint mostly consisted of chips down to the light red primer, though there was a shallow dent in the rear lid and a troubling “negative” dent on the right rear quarter panel that had cracked the paint. The bottom of the rear bumper was also damaged at some point, most likely before the engine was installed back in 2005. As the re-paint process began, seeing the car devoid of windshields and exterior trim again was troubling. It had also been necessary to remove the door trim, since the jambs had to be painted. The extent of the flaws ended up necessitating a “complete” — which was again accomplished with a Sikkens basecoat/clearcoat paint system. The color had to be rematched, since the previously matched fleet color had been discontinued at some point after 2003.
The paint was applied on August 29, little more than two weeks before the big day. Over the following two weeks, the clearcoat was applied and inner lids and door areas were painted. Reassembly followed, interspersed with a proper polishing out of the painted surfaces with 3M Perfect-It 3000 rubbing compound. The paint-blend lines of the inner panels have been a significant problem in the past. Obviously, our car was painted with doors and lids still installed, so the car had to be re-taped to eliminate overspray on the finished exterior. The preferred product for this process is 3M’s Soft Edge Mask-ing Tape, which uses a foam tape with unique adhesive allowing the paint to flow to a more tapered edge. This is easily removed with light buffing.
We took an opportunity during the downtime to take our cute little 18-foot trailer to Hoke’s racing shop to modify the rear door to lessen the rear door-ramp angle. This was accomplished by lengthening the fold-over plywood ramp extension and increasing the rubber door-bumper height by around three inches. The modifications would hopefully allow the newly shortened tailpipe its needed clearance.
By the time Thursday, September 13 rolled around, things were getting pretty tense. We’d been putting Bill Hoke off for over a week, anticipating the final clutch adjustment to get the engagement point further away from the floor — making it easier to engage reverse. At around 5:30 PM, #5142 rolled out of the trailer and onto the lift without its tailpipe scraping.