Early spring, 2003

Now that the roll bar is installed, it's time to paint it. First things first, is to clean the whole roll bar, and the anchors with cleaner to strip off the oxidation, grease, wax, oils, and metal preservatives.

Before painting that bar, you need to scrub it down to the bare metal. It'll take a lot of scrubbing because the steel is very oily and dirty. Keep wiping the bar with cleaner until your towels come away with no residue.

Keep cleanin'

The paint that I chose was Hammerrite "Rust Cap" in hammered silver. It is a slow drying, long curing paint that needs to sit for a few weeks to totally cure. In fact, I noticed that it required over three weeks to fully harden. I mean, it was okay after a few days, but in order for it to become really scratch resistant required close to three weeks. Now, after over a year, it's tough to even scratch it on purpose.

I've masked off nearly the entire interior of the car from overspray. After the fact I've realized that this slow curing paint, when aerated, carries everywhere, even onto the outside of the car. Therefore, cover the whole car and anything valuable that's in your room with plastic before painting. A good respirator is also manditory.

Each bar required three coats to get a good, textured finish.



As I completed each part, I let the paint dry sufficiently before moving onto the next part. Here you can see the two passenger side anchors on the floorpan. Painting the upper part of the hoop was tough. I had to use many coats because I could not get a good angle on the spray cay in order to keep from overspraying the roof and sail panel areas.

Here's a really good shot of how the anchor fits into the floor and firewall area. It is welded over top of the seam where the firewall and floor come together. Dan Pendell had a hard time getting his TIG welder into this spot, but managed to do it.

Painting around the main hoop was tricky because of how close it gets to the body. I also found it was difficult to slip the body panels into place afterwards without marring the paint. In the end, I gave the car a month before attempting to finish installing the interior.

I've welded the cross bar as close to the intersection of the side bars as possible. The beads actually touch on both driver and sides. When I add the remaining two mounting points, they will come in at this intersection, then tie into a common point on the driveshaft tunnel, on the spot where the decoupled torque arm plate mounts to the body.

Note the overspray: You cant be too careful!

We just about missed the reinforcing plate, but it's fully welded nonetheless.

After painting, I let it sit a week before attempting to install the interior to let the paint cure. In the mean time, I tried cleaning up some of the overspray.


Here it is after interior installation. There's a brand new T56 6-speed transmission in there, as well: I finished both projects at the same time. The side bars are now covered in safety foam that is taped in yellow. It's meant to tie the interior to the engine compartment, which will have yellow accents.

Notice how I've retained the optional cargo door for the rear hatch. I've since covered the crossbar with safety foam for the protection of the rear passengers. The kids can still use the back seat, though it's like climbing over monkey bars.

2007 update: Before we go riding again as a family, I will be removing the crossbar. There's a new weld-in turnbuckle design that will make it possible to install the bar in tension for competition, but I'll be able to remove it for street duty. I'm still researching it.

Previous page