After many weeks of placing paint stripper and hand sanding and using sanding discs to each and every panel inside and out the FE was ready to have any and all dents, rust spots and scratches to be finally repaired before primer and then a final coat of paint. For most part I repaired the rust spots by filling with lead and then a top coat of body filler then filling back to a smooth and even surface, for the larger repairs that were found under the paint and these were old repairs during the FE’s life I called on my good friend Charlie Costanzo (who is an excellent panel beater during his working life) to give me a hand which he did and between the two of us the FE was repaired to a stage of primer and almost ready for paint.

I was going to respray the Holden myself and paint it in the same colour it was before which turned out to be a bit of a problem as they don’t manufacture lead paint anymore and the colour match is close but not exact and what changed my mind on spraying the HOLDEN myself was everyone I spoke to on spraying said to use two pack paint which gave a nicer and had a harder surface finish but needed to be baked in an heated spray booth, not like the good old days when I was a sixteen year old and resprayed my FJ HOLDEN UTE on the front lawn at home they were great times.
I asked my brother if he wanted to take on the respray, he did but was really busy at that time and said it would be three weeks before his painter would get to the holden, as you could imagine I was wanting the FE painted and back together again in the shortest time, he did say that his previous painter had been in to see him letting him know that he was looking for work as he was starting up on his own, so he said give him a call, I knew the guy and his work and thought why not, so a call was made and after letting him know how far I had gone with the FE and finding that he would be able to start on the FE by the end of that week a deal was done except for the cost as he hadn’t see the car yet, the only problem was I had to get the FE to him in Murray Bridge, as long as you have a brother with a tow truck and willing to pay for his time it was a small problem, so by that week end the FE was in his shop.

For the next two weeks I got a progress report on the FE the painter had a lot of sanding down with fine and very fine sand paper to get the body work to a stage for painting, to me the body work looked as if all it needed was paint, that’s why you get a professional on certain jobs. Then the week came and the phone call to let me know the car was painted and ready to be picked up, what a feeling waiting to see what the FE would look like
A call to my brother to go pick up the FE and bring it home was a long day, when the FE was unloaded and on my driveway it looked like new even with no windows or interior it still looked great in that off white body and maroon top. The next few weeks the FE sat in the garage for the paint to hardened as was recommended, when the day came to reassemble the FE it didn’t come to soon, I first started with fitting all the chrome work to the doors and guards then the lights the first day was a real productive day before I knew it Mary was calling me saying it was after 6 pm and to give it rest I didn’t need to be told twice.
The next day I fitted the dash and smaller pieces that needed to be fitted I really wanted to fit the windscreens but I knew that it was a two man job, so I called Charlie Costanzo to see if he could give me a hand which he did, the next day Charlie turned up I had the new rubber seals and sealer and with Charlie’s expertise fitting these two screens were going to a sinch, well guess what it wasn’t we spent the whole morning some four hours and we still didn’t have one screen in. Charlie couldn’t understand it he’s fitted more screens than he could remember, after trying one more time and still unsuccessfully Charlie put it down to the rubber seals we lined up the old seals with the new ones and found the molding for inside part of the seal was much shorter and wouldn’t allow the seal to roll inside and hold the seal in place, a call to were I purchased the seals to let them know they were no good got the response you would expect quote we have sold hundreds of those seals and they work unquote, they did say that the seals were hard to put on and they said to try this firm to have them fitted, so after cleaning off the sealer which really made a mess and thanking Charlie for his help I call this windscreen firm up to see why these rubbers were such a pain to fit. I call and the guy a speak to tells me the rubber seals are rubbish and that they modify them to make them fit and it takes three guys to fit these screens and it will cost me now get this one thousand dollars($1000.00) and I’ll need to leave the FE with them for about a week, you can guess what I was going to do, there was no way I was going to spend that amount of money especially after I paid close to four hundred dollars for the seals. I make a few phone calls after looking up rubber seals on the net and find a firm that make these seals themselves here in Queensland and that they have a distributor in Adelaide, I give them a call and the guy that answers is a guy I know from the trade what luck I tell him the crap I’ve been through with these other seals and guess what he heard it all before and lets me know that theirs work, the next day I take the seals that don’t fit and match them to the ones this firm has and you can see the difference and that they will fit and they were a little cheaper in price a real win win. I take back the other seals for a refund letting them know that their rubber seals only work after sending a truck full on money, that went down well, tough.

I contact Charlie again letting him know I have a new set of rubber seals and that they look the goods and would he give it another go, I wasn’t sure he would, but Charlie’s a good guy and says he come over and we will try again.  With new seals and another tube of mastic Charlie and I go at it again to fit these screens, the first one we tried was the front screen, once we fitted in the chrome strips and placed the screen on the car with Charlie inside the car and pulling the string with me pushing down the screen went in place as it should have done the first time we tried to fit them, a few taps with his rubber mallet the screen to make sure the screen was home, then on to the rear screen and again chrome strips in the rubber and sealer on the rear screen was fitted, all up it took Charlie and myself around one and half to two hours to fit these windscreens.
With the screens in, the FE started to look like a car ready to go but not quite yet first the interior and then all the little bits and pieces that need to be found and fitted, but the FE was coming together and was looking good. My next job was to fit the rubber seals around the door windows I wasn’t going down the same track as I did with the windscreens I ordered all the other rubbers from the firm in Queensland through the guy I knew here in Adelaide, only problem not all parts were in stock so it was another waiting game. Once the rubbers had arrived the doors came together and fitted to the body, but just before the doors were fitted I assembled the interior, so with the doors on the FE was almost there.

Fitting all the parts back on and in place with the right gaps on the guard and door lines all take time and after many weeks of fitting and adjusting the FE was finished and ready to be taken to Regency Park to be re-inspected and have that cursed defect notice removed. Before making a booking at Regency Park I needed to give the FE a bit of a run to make sure that when I did take her in I was more than sure to have the FE passed, I decided to remove the motor and gearbox one more time and redo the repair that got me the defect notice and while the engine bay was empty to repaint it as well, with these done the FE look the goods and I was really confident that after making a booking and paying another two hundred and two dollars I would be able to register the FE for the first time in fifty two years.
Chapter 6 the final outcome stay tuned.   Charlie Mifsud

Click HERE to go to Part 6 of the FE Restoration.

Article ID: RESTO005

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