It All Started With The One Spot


While the Prizm GSi is in pretty good shape – it’s been described as a “peach” – there are definitely some cosmetic issues that need to be addressed.

Primary among those issues is the rather large rust scab on the hood shown in the lede photo. Measuring almost two inches in length, it’s area had expanded from two smaller separate wounds during the six months in my ownership.

With the big Red Square Charity Car Show upcoming, it was time to rectify this most egregious lesion – and serve as valuable practice for this autobody newb.

Obviously, the first step was to get rid of the rust.  That was accomplished pretty quickly utilizing a power sander with a 220-grit pad.  After eliminating the rusty bits, shiny clear and smooth metal appeared underneath – fortunately, the rust had not advanced too far causing metal pitting.  The margins were feathered out a bit and we are left with the situation above.  Which, of course, is pretty small when you look at it from a few feet away. The answer to that problem is to start grinding away more paint, obviously.

This attempt at a chip repair from a decade or so ago became this…

…and we have a more worthy project on our hands.

Now, without getting too far into the nitty-gritty of paint matching, let’s just say that the stuff that you may find at your local auto parts or home improvement stores are not an exact factory match.  When you accept that and recognize that a mismatched portion of paint on the hood is better than a rusty hood, you may sleep much easier.  In this case, the Duplicolor version of “GM Bright Red” is not quite the same as the NUMMI factory version of “Bright Red.”

After an initial quick coat, those who have done body work before probably recognize what I did wrong during the sanding portion of the job.

But, it’s starting to look okay-er.

The color will clearly be noticeable to those looking down at the hood, but again, better than a giant rusty scab.  Some not-so-insignificant hours of wet sanding later and…

…its not too bad.  The ultimate goal will be to finish the rest of the chip repair along the leading edge of the hood, patch a couple of small dents, and spray with a real color-matched red to better blend the hood in with the rest of the car.

For those non-professionals wondering what I did wrong sanding?  I didn’t feather out the edges far enough.  There is a slightly noticeable edge when viewed at the right angle. This one goes down as a qualified win – it remains to be seen how long it lasts, or if the color mismatch finally becomes unacceptable – but I may have mentioned this before…  No Rust.

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