1963 Corvette Fiberglass Body Restoration Paint Removal


March 19th, 2013

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.

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1963 Corvette Installed On Cart

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!

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1963 Corvette Chemical Paint Stripper Removing Paint

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.

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1963 Corvette Fiberglass After Chemical Paint Remover

Once you reach the base layer of fiberglass the sins of the past will start to show up.

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1963 Corvette Interior Paint Removal And Masked VIN And Trim Tag

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.

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1963 Corvette Bare Fiberglass Body

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.

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1963 Corvette “Gray” Fiberglass

Depending upon the vintage of your Corvette you will have different shades of fiberglass.  This is considered “gray” fiberglass

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1963 Corvette Interior Paint Removal

Upon stripping the inside of the Corvette, a bit of a mess can be made.

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1963 Corvette Interior Trays Cleaned

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.

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1963 Corvette Under Body Under Coating

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.

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1963 Corvette Wheel Well Stripping

Same game on the underside of the car.  Chemical stripper and lots of lacquer thinner and rags till the whole underside is clean.

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1963 Corvette Body Job Number

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.

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1963 Corvette Stripped And Cleaned Firewall

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.