The World Ain't Flat, But It Should Be
Without question, the first order of business was to get rid of our H3's shiny paint and chrome. The chrome was easy. We simply replaced the chrome mirrors and door handles with factory black units provided by our friends at Hummer. The shiny paint, well, that took a bit more work. We entertained several ideas for the exterior of our H3, including a vinyl wrap, but quickly decided that flat clearcoat was the hot ticket for the all-business, no-bling look we wanted to achieve. Bear in mind we didn't repaint the truck; we recleared the factory Victory Red paint using clearcoat with a flattening agent added to it. This task was completed by Dan McKeag and the team at Burnsville Off-Road and Auto Body in Burnsville, Minnesota. Some of you may remember McKeag from Top Truck Challenge 1999. He was piloting the fire-breathing Viper-powered TJ that he built. Currently he has a thriving off-road shop, Hemi-to-Wrangler conversion business, and he's quite active in special projects for the OEMs. What you may not know is that he has over 24 years of experience in the body and paint field, and his body shop is staffed with talented body technicians that know their stuff.
Naturally, this project needed refinishing supplies. For that we turned to Keystone Automotive. We worked with Keystone when we restored the body on our Project Fiery Redhead F-150 and the experience was outstanding. Keystone sells an incredible variety of refinishing supplies, and they have 136 stores in the U.S. and Canada. They sell to walk-in customers as well as dealerships and body shops. One of their stores is conveniently located in Minneapolis, so we were good to go.
In this installment we'll show you the highlights of what it took to transform the finish on our H3 from nauseatingly shiny to righteously rugged.
1. The first thing the team at Burnsville Auto Body had to do was strip the exterior of the H3. This included, but was not limited to, the grille, hood, fender flares, cowl, exterior trim, inner fenders, door handles, and mirrors. They separated the parts into those that were going to be painted and those that were taken off just to get them out of the way.