using regular 3/4" masking tape, laid it tight to the inner edge of the fine-line. This gave us a perfect 3/4" spacer from the edge of the blue. We then laid down another 3/4" fine-line along the inside of the spacer tape. Once that was completed, we went back and removed the spacer tape. The 3/4" fine-line will be silver once all the tape is removed. With one side completed, we had to transfer the design to the other side; duplicating our pattern by measuring key marker
points along the first graphic to the other side. Yes, I know you can't see both sides of the bus at the same time, but exact duplication was important to us. Additional taping was required to create the graphics for the front of the Bus. Once the tape was laid out, we went back to add paper to mask off the remainder of the silver on the Bus. Total time taping - one week.
Next, the exposed surface (that not covered by tape or paper) was Scotch Brited (a verb commonly used in body shop lingo) to promote adherence of the blue paint. That was followed by a complete wipe-down with wax and grease remover. Finally, the blue was shot, but the adventure wasn't over yet. The tape had to be removed before the paint was dry, so we could remove any over-spray around rivets and panel seams. You do this by using a very small folded corner of T-shirt cloth, dip in lacquer thinner, and gentle wipe the over-spray into the heaver blue paint inside the tape line. Tedious.
The wheels had at least five coats of paint on them. Factory white, maroon, and then three more coats of brushed on white. I started out sandblasting which worked great around the lug nuts, but was too slow to do the whole wheel. Next, I used aircraft paint stripper. It took three applications followed by sandblasting the remainder and I had one wheel done. This wasn't cutting it - literally. Mark had a nonfunctional, air powered needler, so out of desperation, I disassembled it, cleaned and polished all the parts, oiled it up and got it
working again. For the uninitiated, a needler is a tool with eight or so 1/8 inch rods about 6 inches long that are held in a tight bunch and alternately hammered at high speed by the air cylinder inside the tool. It pulverized the thick, hard paint in no time. I got the other three wheels down to bare metal in the time it took to do the first one. I sandblasted the lugs and nuts and they were ready for paint. One coat of etch prime, two coats of white sealer, and two coats of white single stage. They look like brand new and factory correct.
I put new glass in the stock rear view mirrors and mounted them along with about fifteen other trim pieces. They all bolt on with 1/4" stainless flatheads.
I had been pondering how to get the the engine bay door to fit better and also have better access to the engine. The original hinges are really difficult to adjust, and you're always ducking under the door; not to mention the number of times my head has clipped the sharp corner when the door is up. So I made it totally removable by taking the hinges off, welding two locating pins on the bottom that drop into two holes in the top of the
bumper. Then I found these cool marine latches to secure the top edge of the door. A simple four post trailer plug hooks up all the lights in the rear. Total weight of the door - about 25 pounds. Now it fits perfectly. I can remove it and set it aside. And, the new latches look very cool.
The original rear window of the Bus was a three piece unit with a locking bead window seal. The glass is convex in both the vertical and horizontal
planes. So it's biconvex. They don't make these windows anymore. Everyone says they're made of unobtainium. The donor bus had all three windows in the back. One had a crack in one layer of the laminated glass, but otherwise was intact. I had already filled the back window with 1" foam board, so I had the option of installing the original glass using a rope gasket, make a fiberglass copy of the original glass, or make the "window" out of some other material. After failing at getting a smooth fiberglass copy and deciding the original glass would have to be installed and then covered with acrylic to hide the crack, I decided to go with FRP - fiberglass reinforced plastic. It's about 3/32" thick and smooth on the back side. The only issue here is that you can't bend in in two directions - biconvex. I laid made a paper template of the three pieces and cut the FRP to shape. By bowing the plastic in the vertical plain and angling slightly the two side panels, I got a great looking back "window". I seam sealed the edges, painted the FRP flat black and screwed an aluminum trim piece down the two side panel seams. Done and looks great.
Next, I installed all the exterior lighting. That's 22 lights. The four corner upper marker lights are original. The original front and back triple light castings were used, but I replaced all the lens with "beehive" LED's with cool chrome visors. The side markers are 2" round LED's with custom Deco trim I designed with a CAD program and had water-jet cut out of 1/8" aluminum. I polished these parts to chrome-like finish. I also drew up a vent cover for the propane furnace and had that water-jet cut as well - also polished bright and shiny.
So, the last job to get the Bus roadworthy again was to re-install the big side windows and a new window for the door. There are seven side
End result, bus looks pretty good. Right?