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The body restoration and painting of my Riviera.



January 2005 - Body restoration



In January 2005 I had the opportunity to move my Riviera to my friend Zoran’s auto shop and there I could finally start the body restoration. This was going to be the hardest step of the restoration so far and it took me until April 2006 to get the body ready for the paint shop.

I took everything out from the car, except for the engine and transmission.

Then I began striping of the paint from the parts of the body that I knew was bad.

Later on I decided to strip all paint of.

The main reason was because the car had been repainted ones before and you can never be sure what’s underneath and also how the new primer will react with the old paint layers.


Some lower parts of the body were bad and I had to fabricate a couple of new sheet metal pieces.
Now the experience from the floor pans came really handy.

But when I had to replace the lower back end of the trunk lid, my limited experience wasn’t really enough.
Another friend Emil, who I met through Zoran a couple years ago, came to the rescue.

He made the two pieces needed during a couple of evenings. Very helpful and very educational for me. He also taught me how to fill and seal all weld seams by melting tin.
Old school but really the best way to do it. Not the fastest way but I really enjoyed it.
Thanks Emil!


Now, what color should I chose for my Boattail? The original Burgundy Poly (code 74) or something else?

For the last two years I kept looking for suitable colors on cars everywhere, because I knew I had the body restoration ahead of me and I didn’t want it to be a last minute decision.
I saw a couple of Volvos in a color I liked and some of them looked great but some just didn’t. I couldn’t understand why.
So I went to the local Volvo dealer and made some research. As it turned out, there
are two colors that are very similar and when I could see them side by side I knew which
one was the right for me.

Now, here is how much of a nerd I got over this…
I had a diecast model of a 1971 Riviera that was painted in gold metallic with a brownish vinyl roof and tan interior. I started a mini project on my kitchen table, sometime during the winter of 2006. This was a couple of months before the big one was ready for the paint shop.

I took the model apart and airbrushed the body with the Volvo (code 454) paint and the interior in black, just so I could get a feel of how the Riviera shapes would look like in that color.
As you probably already know, different body shapes look good or bad in the same color.

I also took the vinyl top off the model car before painting it. I had to fill the roof with about ten layers or so of primer, because it was too low when the vinyl was off.
I also had to recreate the fold that goes along the roof. It wasn't there under the vinyl.

After the paint was applied I fitted a chrome foil for models, called "Bare Metal" on all moldings, both on the exterior and interior. 
Yeah I know, I’m officially crazy ;-) 

I finished by applying clear coat over the whole thing so that the sensitive chrome foil would be protected.

Here are a couple of photos of the finished model Riviera.


I was really happy with the result of the model and decided that I would go with the Volvo color. I chose the Volvo paint for three reasons.

It is close to the original but a little less brown and a little clearer in my opinion. 

I think it will be a lot easier to get a good result, if I in the future have to repaint any part of the body, if the car is painted in a color that any paint shop here in Sweden is familiar with.

The main reason though is that I really like this one a lot better and it is close enough to the original.

When I was ready with the real Riviera, the entire body was metal clean. Then a paint shop took over the car.

I finally got my Boattail back in June of 2006.

Before the fun part of reassembling the car could start, I had to clean and paint all smaller pieces that I took off, one and a half year ago.
Luckily I put all smaller parts along with their screws and bolts in marked bags or boxes.
This was really helpful now.

I restored or replaced all parts before reassembly.
The front bumper got replaced with a NOS part, the rear was rechromed. 

I also found and bought a lot of chrome pieces on eBay.

I spent most of my summer vacation in July of 2006 in the garage and I got everything ready with just one weekend left of my vacation.

That weekend I could participate in US Classic Car meet in the town of Falköping, about one hour's drive from my home.

Guess if I felt like the happiest guy in the world that weekend.
The photo below is from that car meet.



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The restoration began in February of 2000



Most parts of the car were restored by July 2006, but as many of you know, there is always something to improve on a project like this.


In this section of the site you will be able to follow some of the various restoration steps of my Boattail.


2000-02  The carburetor


2000-05  The floor


2000-07  Vinyl roof & interior


2001-01  Heads and intake


2001-11  Lifting the engine


2002-01  Engine detailing


2005-01  Body restoration