Virage body work/rust treatment
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Thread: Virage body work/rust treatment

  1. #1
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    Default Virage body work/rust treatment

    Hi all, I'm looking for some advice on fixing some minor rust issues in my '78 Virage.

    It needs a repaint with the necessary body prep for rust and dings and while it's overall in pretty good condition for an original, I've been quoted $9-10k for the work done. That's without going overboard and from talking to a couple of people since, that's apparently a good price for what's involved. No better example of the best time to buy anything being 5 years ago...

    I won't be able to do that for 12 months or so, but there are some bits that I won't be able to leave for that long so I'll have to DIY them until then. The biggest are 2 to 4cm across in the usual Virage places - rear of the front quarter panels, front edge of the bonnet, rear wheel arches, bottom of the side of the rear screen. There is also a lot of superficial stuff starting on the edges of panels, pinch welds and in stone chips on the boot/bonnet, but most of this can be touched up.

    I'm OK with basic mechanical stuff but I've never really done much of this apart from a couple of spots 20 years ago following a canary. I'd love to hear your advice for grinding or sanding equipment, as I'll have to buy something. As the lesions are fairly small, I need tools to be on the smaller side.

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    I have a reasonable idea of filling, sanding, priming etc. but if anyone has any tips or experiences they'd like to share wtih that also, it would be much appreciated.

    Cheers
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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    This would probably be a good time to stop and honestly assess what you're dealing with. Some of the rust you mention might be the tip of an iceberg (like at the bottom of the screen, around pinch welds). Rust usually comes from inside boxed sections because of condensation and the lack of a way out, so by the time you see the rust, the inside is much worse. The front guards rear edge likes to trap leaves and in the process of composting them it starts rotting the base of the A pillar at the sill.

    I wouldn't bother fixing removable panels (bonnet, front guards, etc). There's plenty of spares stashed around the place.

    Have a deeper poke before buying anything.

    Good luck.
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    Trust me, I'm not under any misapprehensions about what may be involved. I know that the nasty stuff around the A pillars is how 12s die. I will replace the front guards when the big job gets done. I'm just looking for a temporary fix so that the car looks a little better and I don't attract the attention of cops and their yellow stickers until it gets properly fixed. To that end, I need something along the lines of a Dremel tool so that I can attack the bit I need to without too much collateral damage.

    I'm not having much fun chasing spare front panels, most of the usual suspects in Melbourne turfed theirs years ago, so if anyone has them I'd love to hear from them too
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    [QUOTE=chodaboy;1598166]Trust me, I'm not under any misapprehensions about what may be involved. I know that the nasty stuff around the A pillars is how 12s die. /QUOTE]

    I would suggest not driving a car that has severe rust problems. People die as well

    Cops are only trying to save your life, sorry to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chodaboy View Post
    I know that the nasty stuff around the A pillars is how 12s die.
    I'm not suggesting that this is the case with my car, I was talking about in general.

    As far as RWCs go, the list of stuff that you need to get fixed which isn't important and the things which are important but aren't necessary to fix make the whole thing a bit of a joke.

    I would suggest not driving a car that has severe rust problems. People die as well
    I thought I'd made it clear enough in the OP that the issues with my car are minor but I'm kind of sorry I posted now.
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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    We never know how deep people poke before they declare issues minor. If the car is sound, an angle grinder should suffice.

    A Dremel is a pain in the butt, there is no useful wire brush you can get for it (spins too fast and throws off the wires) and the disc cutters snap and fly in your eyes. Plus they wear down in no time. Just a hand wire brush and some patience would be more useful.

    Try to contact Exfrogger, he's scrapping a R12 as we speak.

    Good luck.
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    Panels are not easy to come by, you will be repairing the ones you have.

    I had similar issues with my 12, actually in all those places. Cut it back, fibreglass (if necessary) bog, paint, and it will be respectable until you decide if you are in love with it or not. I mean, it is a 40yr old 12 after all. We need not get to precious with these things. They should be driven after all.

    It sounds like you know your way around a tin, you will be fine.

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    ..Whilst we are talking rust,

    Mate was thinking after me with this image,



    Bumper look good!
    chodaboy likes this.

    Works: 1999 Volvo S40 T4, (has Choo Choo's)
    Playing: R12, SuperPos, thinks It's a race car.
    Previous: SuperGrumpy fuel spitting 504ti(ish), SuperComfortable 505 STI, SuperDoper carried my groceries Mi16
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    until you decide if you are in love with it or not.
    It's probably a little too late for that. The logical choice, of course, would be to sell this car to someone who can do this sort of thing themselves, and buy another which has had this done, for a fraction of the price (not that I've seen one for sale in that sort of condition for several years.) I can't justify $10k on a body resto as an investment decision, but in terms of keeping the car for another 20 or 30 years, well...

    I've finally managed to get some pictures saved to a size that I can post, so here goes:

    This is a result of the bumper being pushed into the panel and not having the damage fixed (pre-existing when I bought the car in 2004):
    IMAG0278small.jpg

    These are the results of paint chips on the boot lid. I have touched up those that I have found before they have rusted and it stops them from turning into this:
    IMAG0279small.jpg

    This is the start of the problem near the rear screen. The right side is fine. Note the original sticker :)
    IMAG0281small.jpg

    Rear wheel arch:
    IMAG0282small.jpg

    These little spots in the drainage channels (they can be stopped if touched up early):
    IMAG0283small.jpg

    This annoying stuff at the corners of most panels and along some edges:
    IMAG0284small.jpg

    More of the same at the front (the repair job on the corner also came with the car):
    IMAG0285small.jpg

    Two small spots on the front edge of the bonnet (the only ones,) although if you look closely you can see the pinpoint stuff from tiny chips and scratches - I have 7 cats:
    IMAG0286small.jpg

    More of of the drainage channel stuff:
    IMAG0287small.jpg

    The car really isn't that bad for original, 40 year old condition. I was surprised at the quote for fixing it and the re-paint but having had a closer look, I can start to see why, when you add this stuff to the little dings, scratches and knocks in almost every panel, which would look shouse with new paint on it. The general consensus from other panel/paint people is that it's actually not a bad price for the job, and the bloke who quoted me has a lot of experience with French cars and does a very good job, especially if the R8 Gordini he had just finished was anything to go by.
    Last edited by chodaboy; 14th January 2019 at 11:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chodaboy View Post
    It's probably a little too late for that. The logical choice, of course, would be to sell this car to someone who can do this sort of thing themselves, and buy another which has had this done, for a fraction of the price (not that I've seen one for sale in that sort of condition for several years.) I can't justify $10k on a body resto as an investment decision, but in terms of keeping the car for another 20 or 30 years, well...

    I've finally managed to get some pictures saved to a size that I can post, so here goes:

    This is a result of the bumper being pushed into the panel and not having the damage fixed (pre-existing when I bought the car in 2004):
    IMAG0278small.jpg

    These are the results of paint chips on the boot lid. I have touched up those that I have found before they have rusted and it stops them from turning into this:
    IMAG0279small.jpg

    This is the start of the problem near the rear screen. The right side is fine. Note the original sticker
    IMAG0281small.jpg

    Rear wheel arch:
    IMAG0282small.jpg

    These little spots in the drainage channels (they can be stopped if touched up early):
    IMAG0283small.jpg

    This annoying stuff at the corners of most panels and along some edges:
    IMAG0284small.jpg

    More of the same at the front (the repair job on the corner also came with the car):
    IMAG0285small.jpg

    Two small spots on the front edge of the bonnet (the only ones,) although if you look closely you can see the pinpoint stuff from tiny chips and scratches - I have 7 cats:
    IMAG0286small.jpg

    More of of the drainage channel stuff:
    IMAG0287small.jpg

    The car really isn't that bad for original, 40 year old condition. I was surprised at the quote for fixing it and the re-paint but having had a closer look, I can start to see why, when you add this stuff to the little dings, scratches and knocks in almost every panel, which would look shouse with new paint on it. The general consensus from other panel/paint people is that it's actually not a bad price for the job, and the bloke who quoted me has a lot of experience with French cars and does a very good job, especially if the R8 Gordini he had just finished was anything to go by.
    Looks pretty standard rust for an R12/Virage.

    I'm guessing the quote was to fix the rust and give the car a full back to metal respray after being completely stripped down.
    Regards Col

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    If you mean stripping it down to a shell, then no. I'm reluctant to do that because the interior is fantastic and it runs very well, and as such I am certain that there will be things that will break, be lost or not work when put back on if I dismantle the car. It's pretty much everything you can get to except the engine bay, and I'd be getting as much trim off the outside of the car as possible beforehand. I imagine it's harder or more time-consuming to mask and paint an intact car than a shell you can spray with gay abandon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chodaboy View Post
    If you mean stripping it down to a shell, then no. I'm reluctant to do that because the interior is fantastic and it runs very well, and as such I am certain that there will be things that will break, be lost or not work when put back on if I dismantle the car. It's pretty much everything you can get to except the engine bay, and I'd be getting as much trim off the outside of the car as possible beforehand. I imagine it's harder or more time-consuming to mask and paint an intact car than a shell you can spray with gay abandon.
    Ah man.. with those sorts of blemishes, just drive it

    But if it's annoying, yes as you know take what ever you can off. That Alpine White you can buy in cans at most Autobahns, that would be pretty straight forward to stand bog and paint.

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    I have a 78 virage and I thought mine was in great shape, but yours appears to have less rust than mine, though mine doesn't have any of the rusty paint chips like yours.
    I will be going through the same process as you in regards to paint in the next 18 months and $9k seems reasonable for rust repair work and a bare metal respray.
    I'm going a slightly different route and stripping mine back to a bare shell and having it dipped and stripped before body/paint work is done on a rotisserie, but I've gone after the rust now for much the same reason you have. My front doors weren't too bad but the rear doors and front guards were shot and the boot had a little too.
    A bit of quick maths determined that the $800 for new guards, doors and boot lid were better value than paying to fix the existing ones, even when you add the $400 freight on top. The doors alone would have been a minimum of a days work just for rust.
    So if you're inclined, you can still buy repair panels/patches online if you need to repair rear wheel arches, a-pillars, chassis rails, sills, headlight surrounds, etc, as well as new bolt on panels like doors and boot lid.

  14. #14
    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    As Bowie said, just leave it alone and drive it.

    Everything looks pretty much superficial with the possible exception of the rear screen. I would investigate that and address with rust converter if serious before I would consider painting to see if it reappears.

    Even at 9-10k it is unlikely you will get a better, longer lasting job than the factory did. A lot of restorations are like that. It's just the start of a cycle of restorations because they do not last and you keep finding something that didn't work that well after 2 years or five. As you said, the factory job lasted for over 40 years, so it must be a good job. I found the same thing with my bumper. It was faded but the chrome was good. Someone rear ended me, and I had the bumper re-chromed. Looked great for two years and then the rust started to poke through. Turned to shit in another two years.

    Nah. Leave it alone. Check under the car and inside the front wheel arches at the bottom of the A-pillar to see what's goin' on there and if okay, leave it alone. Pump some POR15 treatment or similar/fish oil, etc. in the sills/boxed sections if you think necessary and drive.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 17th January 2019 at 01:49 PM.
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    If you want your car to rust,,,, don't wash it with kerosene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowie View Post
    ..Whilst we are talking rust, Mate was thinking after me with this image, Bumper look good!
    that'll need quite a bit of polish...
    JohnW

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    Indicator lens in the bumper looks ace too!

    Good luck with the rust at the rear of the front mud guards. If the light was better there you could grow a crop of spuds - well one spud anyway.
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    I would be more than happy to find a 40 year old virage in that condition, body wise.

    A lot of those rust spots will probably polish off and then just a dob of matching paint to deter it returning.

    Even if they require a little more work, I couldn't justify a complete strip and re-paint unless you're really keen.

    Be pleased with, and enjoy, what you have - a pretty well preserved, original car.

    Cheers
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  19. #19
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    .I concur absolutely.
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  20. #20
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    Me too
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