Body and Paint

Some of the first modifications I did to this car were some basic body modifications. I developed a list of about thirty body modifications that I wanted, in addition of course to making the car "perfectly straight". At least eight body modifications that this car has, I have never seen or heard of on a 510. I ruled out any top chopping, or any kind of channeling, sectioning, etc., in favor of keeping the basic proportions of the car intact. I did lots of "cleanup" mods such as shaving the door handles and the gas doors (there were two gas doors, the original one, and the racing one for the fuel cell).

I opted for a perfectly smooth cowl in favor of vents, windshield wipers and the early-style 510 antenna!

One defining characteristic of a sedan is the door window frames. But I just saw them as an opportunity to save weight while cleaning up the body, so away they went!

If you remove the rain gutters on a 510, the roof will no longer be attached! So this was a tedious process of cutting a small section at a time and tack-welding the pieces back together. Then, it was another long process of welding and grinding the entire seam until it was smooth.

While building this car, I had been talking with a friend of mine named Tony that owned a body shop about painting the car. He has done some cars that were stunning, including three of his own 510's, and I knew he was the right person to do the body work and paint to this car. Suddenly one day about a month after I got the car to a drivable condition, he called me and said he would be ready to start in about a week! So I got right to work taking the car apart and actually had it completely disassembled in no time. Tony told me to leave all body parts on (doors etc.) so I did not remove those. I made a dolly so the car would sit up high and could be rolled around the shop.

Fresh out of the paint booth

Ready to come home! Tony said the car looks like it was carved from a solid piece!

The car has been smoothed and simplified as much as possible by removing lines, trim pieces, and other interruptions to the sheet metal shapes. The sculpting on the hood and trunk lid was retained however.

Items removed include:

  • front cowl grille
  • windshield wipers
  • body side lines
  • rear license plate recess
  • rear license plate lights
  • rain gutters (drip rails)
  • rear exhaust cutout (under bumper)
  • rear pillar vents
  • all emblems and moldings
  • gas door
  • quarter panel seams
  • door handles
  • all door and trunk locks
  • the antenna
  • side marker lights
  • the hole in the center of the front valance panel
  • bumpers
  • rear bumper flange
  • rear bumper mounting flanges and holes
  • door window frames
  • door mirrors
  • battery mount
  • firewall holes and brackets
  • prop bracket on underside of hood

Tony worked hard on the car and got it done in a relatively short period of time. He spent a long time on each panel, using his magic touch to make them straight. He painted the entire car, including the inside, underside, roll cage etc. I had been planning on bright yellow paint for some time, and we picked a Ferrari fly yellow. Tony used Sikkens paint, which is unbelievably durable plus totally beautiful! When I first saw the car after it had been painted I really could not believe what a transformation it was. My 510 was a show car! It had not even been buffed yet but I knew the paint job had to be about as good as a paint job can get! The body work is flawless and the paint is super slick. You can walk around this car for an hour, in the bright sunlight, and not find an imperfection. It is straighter than they were from the factory, and so bright and shiny. I have always liked functionality (performance) more than cosmetics but I must admit that I'm blown away by the looks of this 510.

The rear features a removed bumper with no remaining flanges, holes, or flat areas, no recessed rectangular area or lights for license plate, no exhaust hole, euro taillights with gloss black powder coated frames, hideaway /removable license plate mount, and those intimidating foot-wide tires!

In the front, the small oval hole at the bottom center of the new valance panel has been removed. All trim including the new grille is gloss black powder coated. Real carbon fiber front radiator support panel (the black panel you see through the valance panel, below and to the sides of the radiator)

Underside of engine hood

Underside of trunk lid

Black powder coated aluminum license plate bracket

Installed license plate

What if I had picked another color?