Posted on: February 1, 2016

by Paul Burr, previously published as “Zen and the Art of Tiger Restoration” in the August 1987 RootesReview

Anyone contemplating a detailed undercarriage on their Sunbeam has probably meditated on this thought: “How do I get that black gunk off of my car??”

Sandblast? Wrong, grasshopper. Sandblasting will bounce off undercoat and burn holes in any exposed metal.
Chemical immersion? Close, lotus Breath, but not yet. It will take three weeks extra in the tank to make a dent in that black crap. Stripping tank time costs you money (approximately $1400 a week!).

Scrape the stuff off? You have reached nirvana my little budda! It is messy and physically tiring, but the only way to do it correctly.

My tired old Tiger was stripped to the shell and rolled over (teaching an old cat new tricks?). This is better than crawling under the car. I suppose you could do it aII from below, but it would be ten limes more difficult. The best tool to help you is a hot air paint scrapper. My Wagner Power Stripper generates 1100 degrees F at the nozzle. This temperature softens undercoat like butter on an English muffin. It will also soften any old bondo on the car. A very useful tool. Because of the heat, heavy leather gloves and safety glasses are required. Right now, my Tiger is soaking at New England Metal Stripping. In a couple of weeks, I will have fresh metal to work with!

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