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October 17, 2006 - BOO!!!  Happy Halloween!!!

Did I scare you?  How about I publish a picture of my finger from the emergency room then?  HAHAHA

Halloween is upon us and I'm thinking my car fits into the season quite well.  Orange and black go really well with pumpkins.  I'm thinking of cutting this pattern into the sheet metal of my car and get into the spirit of things.  What do you think?

It's obvious I'm not a graphic artist.

Well, the JCCS show has come and gone and the Celica is still parked in my garage.  Had a great time at the show even though the Celica didn't make it.  A lot of old timer Shoreline folks went to the show and it was good to see the guys again.  Even saw a few of the original KMA boys from South Bay.  I have a feeling that the JCCS and Toyotafest shows will start becoming a reunion event for the Socal OG import people.  The show was well attended this year and from what I hear from the people who run the JCCS show, it pulled in a crowd of over 5000 attendees.  Glad to see people coming out to appreciate and checkout these great classic cars.  Cause you know, the import scene in Socal started way before the CRX and 2nd generation Integra were even on the drawing boards at Honda.  Get the story straight Tunerboy...

I haven't had a whole lot of time to work on the Celica but I've been able to finish putting the front together, laying all the knockoff Dynamat, finish some painting, and fitting the rear bumper and taillights onto the rear of the car.

I originally was going to use the clear corner markers on the car but I decided that I wanted to run the amber ones from back in the day, keeping it true to the era it came from.  One problem though.  These amber cornering lenses don't exist anymore.  A few pairs have popped up on Yahoo Auctions JP but I'm not about to pay $150+ for a set of used lenses then have to pay some outrageous shipping to get them from Japan to the US.

So, I employ a technique from the old days.  Using an airbrush, some candy amber paint, and some clear, I attempt to spray a set of clear lenses amber.  Although it sounds easy, I wasn't about to paint the outside of the lenses like the Tunerboys of today.  Besides, the finish isn't all that great and looks fake.  You can totally tell it's been sprayed.  Spraying the inside of the lens creates a few challenges though.  One, the lens has an odd shape and has a lot of intricate patterns on the inside which can create dark and light spots.  Nothing worse than a lens that LOOKS painted because the coverage is uneven.  Two, trying to match the original amber color.  Too little paint and your lens is too light.  Too much, and the lens is too dark.  Last, making sure the clearcoat doesn't screw up the whole package.

So I end up painting the lenses in three stages then after letting it dry overnight, give it a coat of clear.  Sorry, I didn't take pictures of the painting stages but I do have some pictures of the finished lenses.

The two lenses on the left are the painted ones.  The one on the right is an original Tom's lens.  The Tom's lenses are super hard to find and right now I only have the left one which was from my original Coupe Celica from back in the day.  I haven't given up hope though.  I know I'll find a set of these one of these days at the right price.  I actually painted the new lenses slightly darker than the original Tom's lens.  When the light shines thru the lens, it comes out slightly lighter than the original.  So to compensate, I made it a bit darker.

Yeah yeah I know, clear lenses are the style now.  But hey, I'm trying to keep the car true to the era it came from.  Not cater to some dork Tunerboy with some clear side markers and neon lights under his sticker plastered Civic.

Something that took me a lot longer than I thought it would was laying all the sound insulation inside the car.  Remember that Dynamat kinda stuff?  You know, the same stuff I nearly hacked off my finger trying to cut last month.  Boy, the stuff is really sticky too.

Kinda reminds me of the lunar lander from the Apollo era.

I also got my front spoiler back from paint not too long ago.  I was pretty happy with the way it turned out because if you remember from the last chapter, it was my first attempt at doing some actual bodywork.  I had to pat myself on the back on this one.  :-)  It came out really even despite all the cutting and hacking I had to do to make it fit.

Something I wasn't expecting was how bad the banana taillights didn't fit in back.  Looking at some old pictures and the original Celica parts manual from Japan, I found out that the metal in the back of the car isn't the same.  Duh, I should've realized that early on when I noticed the center panel was the cover for the gas tank filler.  The RA28 and RA29 has the filler on the side.

So I drill the extra holes for the taillight assembly and center piece.  Since the metal isn't the same shape, I had to shim a few of the mounting holes and bolts.  The challenge was making the shims the right length but also make sure they don't leak water into the back of the car.  It wasn't that tough of an endeavor but it definitely wasn't something I was expecting to do.  I though all I had to do was drill the extra holes then pop the suckers in.  HA!

Testing the fit.

Before shimming the center piece and taillight surrounds.

Hmmm... still needs some alignment and why is the center piece lighter than the taillights???

As you can see, I mounted the rear bumper also.  That part went pretty smooth actually.  The hardest part was trying to hold the bumper with one hand while trying to mark where to drill the holes with the other.  I ended up using the gaskets as a template for drilling the holes.  Good think I taped off the back of the car too because I banged the bumper against the car a few times while trying to fit it and put it on.  Doh!!!

I'm going to have to pull the bumper off one more time so I can paint the holes that I drilled.  Last thing I want is rust to come back again in the back.  That'll give me a chance to mount the red reflectors and license plate lights in the bumper also.

Refinished reflectors.

Otay, that's it for this month.  Be safe and Happy Halloween!


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