Crack open the detergent, it’s time to give The Goat’s rusty and dusty paintwork some TLC — with preservation the order of the day.
Jason and TJ bring us up-to-date with their Mk2 Cortina.
T he hardest part of The Goat’s (our Mk2 Cortina) build was always going to be the bodywork. When you tackle a rat rod project you need to aim for ‘weathered and neat’, not ‘weathered and junk’. Nothing screams heap of garbage like a rat rod trying to be too much of a rat rod. The origin of the look was started by hot rodders wanting to spend money on going fast than looking good, but they made sure they rods were clean enough to cut a cool profile on the street.
A tidy, well-patina’d street rat was the look we were after. After 15 years of sitting in a shed, the Mk2 had weathered paintwork that made it a one-off, so painting over the beauty of the aged patina was not an option. The first step was to identify the look we were after, and as it turns out, there are a stack of different rat rod looks that can be achieved, but we decided that a satin finish to the paint was what we were after. TJ took a shine (pardon the pun) to the rat rod style of the early VW cars, because he likes the sealed paintwork look they use. Initially, we investigated clear-coating the exterior, but it turns out that it won’t work as the adhesion of the clear is not great on the rusted or heavily paint-worn areas.
Our saviour came after asking fellow car mates, and after comparing notes we put together a process of Clean – Preserve – Shine.
Break it down
We started by stripping the Mk2 down to its undercrackers. Everything was removed to allow us the best access to all the painted areas of the car. Thankfully, the bodywork was sound, with the odd small rusted areas as to be expected — lavishly held together with copious amounts of red dust.
Step one was to wash, wash and wash again. Step two was to apply CLR (laundrygrade Calcium Lime Rust) cleaner, which removed any residual crud, raw rust and calcium. Step three was the application of a light sugar soap. Step four was to wipe the car with a quality rust convertor. Step five was to then clean the car top to bottom with Acetone. The final step six was to seal the now-clean exterior by applying a high-quality wax-based polish.
The trick here is to take your time and be consistent with the effort you put into each panel. We worked methodically
around the car and allowed time in-between for standing back to ensure it all matched up and looked correct. Neither TJ nor I had approached a car like this before, and it was challenging and exciting at the same time.
After rubbing and cleaning so much, TJ and I now had no fingerprints... but we did have a Mk2 Cortina that looked exactly how we wanted. More polishing of all the chromework, trim and glass had the Mk2 gleaming, and some handiwork with superglue had the broken left-hand rear taillight lenses looking half decent.
The front bumper needed some rubber mallet massaging to get straight again, but otherwise the smaller stuff came back together relatively easy.
One of the more unique aspects of the Cortina is the twin orange pinstripes on the side.TJ made the call to carefully hand-paint the 440 badges in orange to match, and they look pretty cool.
The Mk2 was starting to take shape, but it still needed something extra to finish it all off. It was my daughter, Ruby who pointed out that it needed a few stickers. Out came the sticker box, and in dived TJ. After some rummaging, he pulled a few old-school Classic Ford stickers, and half-a-dozen other cool ones that add the required touch to the exterior. A few have even made their way into the boot. Perfect patina After 15 years of hiding in a barn, the Cortina now proudly wears it’s patina’d paintwork with a renewed shine. The unmodified exterior is now preserved, and TJ and I can turn our attention to the interior. Custom, clean and functional is the plan there!
Broken rear light lens repaired with superglue.
Badge painted to match pinstripes (left). Obligatory decals added (below). With the ‘paint’ preserved and sealed, Jason and TJ can now turn to the goat-eaten interior.