Disassembly on our 1963 Corvette body has come to completion and now we are going to move on to Corvette fiberglass body restoration. When doing a Corvette fiberglass body restoration there are a few things that need to be kept in mind. Corvettes are obviously made from fiberglass, and being thus, they act a lot different then metal bodies. When starting on a Corvette fiberglass body restoration, you will first need to strip the paint. If available it is best to put the body on a cart/dolly so all the debris from paint removal doesn’t end up on the chassis.
You will also need to make a choice on what method you will use to remove the paint. For our Corvette fiberglass body restoration we will be using chemical paint stripper. Note** If you choose to strip your fiberglass body with chemical stripper, make sure to use a stripper specifically for fiberglass, otherwise the chemical stripper will eat the fiberglass along with the paint – bad times!
Once applied, the chemical stripper will start dissolving and bubbling the paint. You can use a paint scrapper or plastic body filler spreader to remove these layers one by one.
Once you reach the base layer of fiberglass the sins of the past will start to show up.
While stripping the body, it is recommended that you cover the VIN and Trim tags so they will not be damaged by the chemical stripper.
Once the bulk of stripping is done, rags and lacquer thinner can be used to wash the fiberglass and clean off the remaining paint residue.
Depending upon the vintage of your Corvette you will have different shades of fiberglass. This is considered “gray” fiberglass
Upon stripping the inside of the Corvette, a bit of a mess can be made.
The two under seat pans (tool storage in the earlier 63’s) and the rear storage trays (where the jack is stored) need to be cleaned out really well as they will be painted and left visible when the restoration is complete.
After fully stripping the body and interior, the underside will need to be tackled. Yes that’s right, from the factory the under body of the Corvette was bare fiberglass except for the wheel wells which got blackout and some undercoating. This means that all the additional coatings of stuff that has been applied over the year all needs to go.
Same game on the underside of the car. Chemical stripper and lots of lacquer thinner and rags till the whole underside is clean.
One note of things you don’t want to strip though. Remember that job number that was mentioned on the doors? That is also on the underside of the body above where the fuel tank mounts. 254 matches the doors, thus the doors have never been replaced and are original to the car.
Once the whole underside is all clean along with the firewall and engine compartment, you will need to wash the whole body with soap and water to remove all the paint removal chemicals. Make sure to wash the body really well, you don’t want those chemicals to still be on there when you apply new paint. Now the Corvette fiberglass body restoration can continue to the next phase, fiberglass repair and body work.