C3 Corvette Hood Underside Detailing - Part 1

What was to be a simple detailing, quickly became the project within a project.

As you probably know, the original plan was to simply install a new 3-row aluminum radiator. 

But I set the hood safely on a table with the underside facing up to give it a once-over, but I started taking parts off, and next thing you know, it took on a life of its own.

I started by evaluating the work that needed to be done while reminding myself that my '76 Corvette is not a show car.

First I removed all the hardware. This included latches, hood support, and hood vent. I also carefully inspected the edges, which were poorly finished by the factory, and all of a sudden I had a restoration project in my hands.

Each component needed a certain amount of attention, like the hood support, shown below. Once you take parts off you realize how dirty they are, and the tedious process of cleaning them begins.

The picture above shows the finished hood support. Maybe not perfect, but it is clean. All the work was done with a drill-powered wire wheel and a brass brush.

I also cleaned and painted the support bolts and polished the base plate, plus I made a rubber spacer* to cover the fender area which looked horrible when I unbolted the support.

* I eventually made a spacer out of thin aluminum, as I was worried the edge of the hood was going to contact the head of the bolt.

The photos above show the hood support reinstalled. Those little details make all the difference.

Next, I removed the hood liner which I had secured during installation about six years ago, by gluing parts of it to the hood. Nothing wrong with that; it just makes removal harder.

I then started dry sanding the hood to determine which areas would need special attention and to remove old paint.

With the hood underside somewhat clean, I applied glazing putty to help hide some of the most obvious cracks and scratches. If I was aiming for a car-show finish, I would've applied a thicker coat of Bondo to really flatten several spots, but that's not my goal here.

After the first coat of spot putty had cured, I wet sanded it. The color contrast really helps define areas that may need a second application.

As the photo below shows, I also glazed the edges that frame the hood, and also smoother out several areas that will be covered by the new hood liner by FatMat.

And even though I wasn't aiming for a show car finish, I spent several hours wet sanding, paying special attention to the most visible areas as shown in the pictures below.

The trick is knowing when to stop glazing and sanding. I also removed all the original insulation clips since I want a smooth surface for the new self-adhesive liner. All it was required were a few taps with a putty knife and hammer.

As you can see, I sprayed a couple of coats of sandable primer to assess my "repairs" and take care of the most obvious scratches or flaws I had missed. I then applied a final coat of primer after addressing them, even though the edges of the hood are far from being perfect.

I also made a template to precut the liner when it arrives. Doing this step while the liner is off the hood, makes things a lot easier.

So that's where I'm at with the hood at this point. I am editing a YouTube series of videos for my 76vette channel, and the first installment is below.

I hope you will subscribe to my channel and leave me a comment or a Like, as those help me reach a bigger audience, so your support is very important.

Stayed tuned for Part 2!

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