The Datsun is a project that started as a run of bad luck for the Client. One day he took his classic convertible out for a spin and got rear ended at a stoplight. Not knowing where to take it, he asked around and was directed to our shop. From the moment he drove the wreck of what once was a fairly decent car to our shop for an estimate; we knew that we had to find a way to fix this car.
Experience told us that the insurance company wouldn’t pay to restore his car, rather just to repair the damaged areas to pre-accident condition. There was some work and juggling to be done after finding out that the insurance company was not going to cover the total of the cars damage. The little convertible (on paper) was not worth the price of the repairs, and the client would need to come up with the balance out of pocket. This led us to an interesting predicament where the client wanted his car repaired, but not all at once, and was willing to wait while KMR repaired the wrecked race cars that would come in on a regular basis from events all over the country. We arranged for the client to remove all of the trim himself to save every penny that he could and reinvest that money elsewhere in the car.
When fully stripped of all bright work and trim, the car returned to our shop for the repairs. This car was hit very hard in the rear and needed a new, or in this case of a very rare car, used rear body panel. Together we searched all avenues of used parts and finally found one. The client drove all the way to Idaho and back for the panel. Once receiving the slightly used rear clip, the KMR staff went to work on the repairs.
Using our Celette Frame Bench for the pulling and measuring while lining up the doors and deck lid, finally, we had a structurally sound Datsun. At this point, we made our way to the rest of the car giving the front fenders a big thumbs down. The hunt once again began for a set of used fenders and after several fairly cheap but very undesirable fenders later, we found some that we could make work. We actually sectioned one fender making 2 into 1, (not a regular practice in the current body repair world but a great example of the skills possessed in the KMR body shop.)
After the long process of fitting fenders and doors on a car that was never meant to be a show car, rather an economy type of car, we moved to the straightening process. This car had quite a bit of small dents on every panel. We took to the hammers and dollies to repair the body. After the body was straight, we used a high build polyester filler primer and blocked the exterior of the car smooth. The next step was rather easy in comparison to the previous; we applied Sikkens Water Borne Black base coat and Superior 250 Clear Coat.
We then gave the car back to owner where he started reassembly with all the new and reworked trim. The installation of the new interior involved changing the color from bright to dark red, which was a great aesthetic addition to the appearance of the car. Once the assembly was complete, the client brought the car back to KMR for a Buff & Detail before heading out to his first car show with his newly revamped Datsun.
In its maiden voyage in its newly refreshed livery, he proudly took a First Place Finish (best Datsun) at an imports only show in the famous Wisconsin Dells AutoMotion car show. Being very proud of his win and newly acquired hardware, Dan (client) sent a photo to all of the staff in the body shop, to thank us for all of the hard work. While doing some of the things himself, he developed the bug to work on cars, and now is a part time apprentice in the KMR body shop learning from the very hands that corrected his wreck of a car into a show winner.