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'70 Esprit TA clone Pontiac 400
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When I had the roll cage in my car fabricated 7-8 years ago I removed a lot of the interior, took the car to the fab shop where they built the cage, and then I painted the cage and reassembled the interior. I spent a lot of time trying to mask off the dash, headliner, and other interior bits that hadn't been removed so I could spray the cage. I found it extremely difficult (OK impossible) to get everything masked off and try to figure out a way to spray the cage with the windshield and rear window in the car. It just couldn't be done. So I ended up painting the cage with a brush Using PPG DBI (base coat with activator) then sanding the brush marks smooth, then sanding, then painting, then sanding, and painting again until I had several coats on. The DBI is for use without a clear coat. It came out fine overall but it just didn't look the way I envisioned at the start. There were brush marks and other little things I'd notice that bugged me although probably no one else ever noticed with all the roll cage padding etc. in place.

Since I've got everything out of the car except the headliner (bow type), shifter, and some wires this was the time to spray the cage since the dash windows etc. are all out. So I sanded down the previously applied paint and shot it with the same color PPG Deltron Silver Frost base coat followed by PPG Global Matte clearcoat. For those of you who've never painted a cage, it sucks. I don't remember it being any easier when I was 40 years younger and although I'm still slender and agile, a contortionist I am not. However the cage came out the way I wanted it to the first time and I'm happy with the results.

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That looks very well done. Excellent job!
 

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Good job. If you ever have to paint with a brush again, use paint that has to be reduced or thinned. Then add some retarder to thinner or reducer to slow the evaporation. This lets paint flow out much longer. Brush strokes will magically disappear.

Trick I learned from my artist sister.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good job. If you ever have to paint with a brush again, use paint that has to be reduced or thinned. Then add some retarder to thinner or reducer to slow the evaporation. This lets paint flow out much longer. Brush strokes will magically disappear.

Trick I learned from my artist sister.
That's what I did the first time. The PPG DBI is formulated to be used with reducer however adding more reducer just makes it very runny and coverage is horrible. It's thin to start since it's mixed to be sprayed.

I'll add for those who don't use auto paints often that reducer for auto paints can be purchased in slow through fast rates of evaporation so you can paint in different temperatures. Using reducer that evaporates slower helps with brush marks and although I referred to brush marks that one might think are caused by bristles I used a foam brush if I remember correctly. I'm just picky and wanted it to have a certain look.
 

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Looks great John. Looks like it took you eating a lot of Ritz crackers to get the painting completed. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks John! I'm not the Ritz hound though, just used the boxes out of the recycle bin. I needed a good way to keep the thin plastic sheet from blowing and interfering with spraying where the tubing was very close to the headliner. I had installed a new headliner a few years before I had the cage built so I asked the guys to get the cage as close as possible to the headliner and sun visors which they did. The thin plastic over spray sheeting doesn't stick to paint on one side but it messes with airflow and coverage if it's really close to whats being sprayed so i used the Ritz boxes to reduce the flutter. After the cage was painted I got the final primer on the doors. Now I've started final sanding everything that will be painted with the car (about 50 pieces) and the body to be ready for sealer & paint.

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Very Nice John, I see a photo of the GEN II upper control arms in your photo bucket. I take it those are going on the car. I used those on mine and really like them, of course I probably wont put them to the test like you will. looks like it wont be to long until its back on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Very Nice John, I see a photo of the GEN II upper control arms in your photo bucket. I take it those are going on the car. I used those on mine and really like them, of course I probably wont put them to the test like you will. looks like it wont be to long until its back on the road.
In a wisper....."Shuuuusssshh!"..... Those are pre production pieces of the new design from PTFB I shoulda put in a different P bucket album. I'll post some pics and info when I get the OK from Dave. Till then mums the word, forget what you've seen. LOL..... As Shultz would say " I know noooooothing!"

I can however show the prototype of a center brace section he's finishing up that works with the G-braces. The triangulating braces that mount to the center section of the upper cowl will also be available separately for those who already have the center cross brace.

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TIG welding is a skill that I do not yet have, but stronger and cleaner than mig. Thank you for the photos. I'm building a cage in a Jag currently and will steal some ideas. Very nice.
 

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Great thread, thank you. After the recent fire at COTA in the WRL my next investment will be a fire system. I have a few drivers, some bigger than others, who will need a few extra seconds to get out in a serious fire. Right now we just have the minimum of an extinguisher, I'd like more. No fuel cell, which I think is safer. We bought a pre-bent cage that is well beyond minimum standards. None of it will look as nice as yours. Gorgeous car! I'd be afraid to race it on a track with others.
 

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A cage will be my next investment...just not looking forward to installing it...
 

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I order mine from Roll Cage Components and have them delivered. He does a great job making a tight fit, but there is still some trimming, cutting and obviously welding to install it. While this is my first install I've ordered 3 from him and all have been great. Definately find someone who has installed one before to help you. It's a puzzle and experience helps a ton. I wouldn't be doing this one if I hadn't seen the other ones and have a guy with a wealth of roll cage building knowledge to fall back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A cage will be my next investment...just not looking forward to installing it...
I didn't really want a cage as I really liked the interior the way it was pre cage. I didn't want to spend the money either BUT I'd gotten to a point where it seemed foolish to continue tracking the car at the speeds I was doing with only minimal safety equipment. So I spent 4,500.00 at the fabrication shop on a car I bought for $190.00 and then another 6 grand or so on related safety stuff. I could have built a really nice engine and bought the 5 speed I want with that money but I try to think of it as life insurance. Can't play if you're in permanent rehab or dead.
 
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