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Eph. 6:10 - 18

Enlightening the Eyes

Quality Bodies -

Some Tips on Identifying the Cream of the Crop

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There are vehicles that look good from a distance, there are vehicles that look good to most people from close up, and then there are vehicles that look good to carefully trained eyes from what ever angle they are view from. Having spent many years focusing my critical eyes on vehicle bodies, and on how to perfect them, has taught me that there is a difference between just looking at something, and how it is looked at. In my early years of collector car bodywork, I could see that some show cars were just much more obviously perfect than others, but it took a little while to be able to tell just exactly which ones were really the best, what it is that makes the difference, and how to best look at them to quickly identify them. As I began to carefully study the aspects of quality, and became determined to duplicate them. My minds eye was enlightened to several items, that many other people never notice, or ever even realize, that these details actually greatly contribute to that, “Wow” effect. It really is more about knowing how to look at it, than it is about just looking at it. And though, without a high quality 3D moving picture, it really is difficult to accurately show you how to tell, I am going to attempt to, through the use of some 2D pictures of a very accurate 65 Mustang Fastback I did many years ago and a written description, share with you some concepts used to recognize true quality, from the average. These principles can also be correlated with aspects of a religious nature to enlighten minds eyes to concepts that God desires our minds to dwell upon. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

View Angles

One of the most important factors in recognizing quality bodies, is the angle of view. In other words, what angle is it being looked at from, and what are you focusing your attention on. The highest quality bodies are most greatly appreciated by how accurately they reflect the the light from things around them. When they are looked at from fairly straight on as shown here, the ripples and waves along the side of the car aren't very apparent. But the closer one gets to the front or back of the car, while looking down the side toward the other end of the car as in this picture of this very accurate mustang body (shown here (466 KB 1.1M)), even the slightest variations in the gradual curve of the panel, can cause a disruption in the way the surface reflects things around it. The straighter the lines are of the object reflected, or the more accurately gradually curving they are, the easier it is to use them as gauges to recognize the accuracy of the panels reflecting them. The angle of view is so important, that moving your head closer or further from the vehicle as illustrated in this little drawing,


and watching the same spot of reflection as you move, is really the only way to tell for sure how accurate the most accurate jobs really are. To further illustrate this point, let me direct your attention toward some more shots of this 65 Mustang Fastback, that is much more accurate than most. However, look closely at the reflection in these pictures of the area just below the key lock. Notice how the reflection changes as the view angle changes.

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Picture #1.

Realize that this is a very minor detail, and that most people would never notice it, without it being called to their attention. But if you look closely at the reflection of the rock wall in the first picture, you will notice that at this angle, everything looks pretty good, except that the rock wall makes a slight little upward bend as it passes under the area of the lock assembly. This is an indication that the paint is just a little bit lower in this area than would best suit the natural curve. But with the objects that are being reflected, and at this angle, it doesn't really catch the eye very much. I am fairly certain that when I first finished this car, around 14 years ago, that probably didn't appear that way, but was more accurately in line with the natural curve. Just a little settling has occurred since then leaving most of the vehicle nicely aged, and perfect for someone wanting to touch it up to be even more perfect. If you'll continue reading this illustration, and recognize the concepts presented for analyzing these long gradually curving sections of the body panels, I challenge you to find another Mustang that is as accurate as this one is, even after 14 years of settling.

Picture #2.

The way the railing is reflected in the second picture is really not that obvious either. But if you look closely at the pickets of the railing, you will notice that they are not spaced evenly in the reflection but seem to be spread apart further. This is also an indication of a slightly lower area. Focus your attention on the area where the quarter panel curves downward to meet the back of the door. The pickets there are closer together than in the rest of the reflection indicating the gradual curve back to meet the door, without a low area. Low areas are usually more apt to be unsightly, but the more gradual and evenly changing the curves are, the better. Many years ago, I did a 66 Mustang on which I created straight lines that passed right through the door joints, making the doors, and the quarter panels, and fenders look like they were reflecting from the exact same gradually curving plane. However on this mustang, the panels curved inward slightly to meet the doors, and the doors curved slightly to meet the panels, all still much more accurate than almost all other mustangs, but not as accurate as my most accurate jobs were. Look closely at the railing top rail. It really is a pretty straight line, but just the slightest raised area is recognizable. The location of this raised area indicates that this area is just a little bit lower that it would ideally be.

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The third picture over is the one with the angle that is most offensive to me, however most people would never notice this either. Look closely at the white post that holds up the porch roof. Notice how right under the lock it seems to sort of split, and become very blurry. Right at this angle it is reflected as a ripple that just throws off the light enough to catch the eye more easily and distract from the desired perfect reflection creating a fuzzy bright spot. I took a number of pictures trying to capture this for purposes of this illustration. I could see it with my naked eyes, but documenting it on this car, with the camera, was a bit harder. Most of the older cars have so many of these spots all along them, when viewed from these tight angles, that it would be hard to point out why it doesn't look as nice as the really nice ones do. By viewing this one that is almost perfectly accurate in many areas, and then pointing out a spot I would improve upon if re doing it, I am hoping to make it easier for you to tell the difference between the average, and the cream of the crop.

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Check out the fourth picture. At this angle there is a green bush reflected in the place where the pickets were reflected to far apart in the second picture. Bushes are typically irregular, so everything looks mostly normal. Part of the tree branches reflect in the area above that, just below the lock. Trees are most irregular as well, so that doesn't tell us much about the quality of the body. The only slight indication that there might be a ripple lurking there is the straight line of the railing's top rail that makes just a slight curve upward, and then back down toward the edge of the doors. As mentioned previously while referring to the rock wall, and this railing, this slight upward curve of the railing tells me that this spot is just a little bit low. If I were going to prefect this, I would likely start by carefully sanding down the high areas around it with just the right tools. I actually use these visualization techniques all the time when I am working on high end bodies. Body men for years have focused on and taught each other to use their hands and finger to find the imperfections, but this is work at a level that is much finer than one can ever achieve by feeling with their hands alone. Your finger just don't cover a large enough expanse to feel these details. Look also at the front part of the quarter panel. Focus on the area of the curb just under the rock wall. While this area would not attract much attention, and it does fit into the curve of the panel pretty well. If I were working this one over to prefect it a bit better, I would be happier if that area where the curb drops down, didn't drop that far. This is an indication of an area that is higher than I personally would ideally like for it to be, but it is also over an expanse that ones hand just is not long enough to reach, nor is ones arm sensitive enough to detect. I would likely carefully work it down a bit further carefully keeping the entire curve as gradual as possible. It might not be practical to take it much further down, as close as it is to the stiff curves of the indented body area. But I think it could be improved upon.

Body men often talk about bringing down the high places, and raising the low areas, as that is essentially what we do. I often like to relate that to this text in God's Holy Word.

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”Luke 3:4-6

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-7

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Psalms 119:105

In a similar way to the way that the Mustang shown in the pictures above reflects the light coming off the white railing, and other objects, God wants us to reflect the light of His Word that He shines into us, to as many others as possible that His name may be glorified. If you have never before considered viewing car bodies from these angles, you now have received information that enlightens your understand, or in other words you have new light, that enables you to see them in ways that you haven't thought of before. Similar to the way that reading this has focused your attention more closely on car bodies than you probably ever expected, so it is that as we spend time in God's Word, He opens our minds to aspects of His character, that He wants us to ask Him to, and allow Him to, improve upon in us. Fortunately for us, He is the one that has to do that work in us. Our most important duty is the recognize that we need to continue to ask Him to, and allow Him to finish this work in us.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

His Word is the Light. Jesus also is the Light and perfect example. Reviewing His Word carefully helps us look at ourselves from different angles, and to see things that we couldn't see if not studying His Word. By beholding Him in the light of His Word, He transforms us, for it is by beholding that we are changed. His Word is actually the “Tool of Light” that He uses most effectively to shape us into what He want us to be. It is the Holy Spirit, implanting the principles of God's Word into our hearts and minds that transforms us, and develops in us the attributes of God.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it (His church) with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:26-27

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.Psalms 19:7-8

We don't even know what to pray for without His Spirit, and the thoughts we receive from His Word prompting us, and giving us utterance. And even then, it is still difficult for us to express what we need to.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Romans 8:26

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”

Daniel 12:3

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:43


And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Isaiah 58:12

As one who has spent many hours in the past restoring collector cars, and making other old object, such as my old guitar, look better than new, I particularly like this last one. Having a good foundation is very important. Repairing the breach, and being a restorer of paths to dwell in is a course of action that I pray many others will desire be part of as well. Paths that are enlightening our minds through God's Holy Spirit, by God's Holy Word, paths which are leading us and others toward God's glorious kingdom.

Likewise, it's very important to have a good foundation when working on car bodies. Actually, the better the foundation material, such as the metal under the paint, the longer the finish on the top lasts, and the better it holds its shape. Unfortunately, when we worked over this Mustang many years ago, we didn't pay close enough attention to the details of the foundation in a couple of spots. While most all of it looks better than most any other Mustang you'll see, and the foundation of most if it is pretty sound. Over the years, three or four spots have begun to change the shape of the paint a fair bit. Take a look at these pictures if you would like to. These areas just don't reflect the light very well anymore. Yes some light is reflected, but the light is bent here and there, and just doesn't present the same picture that the surrounding body areas do.

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Over the years, one area that particularly distracts from the rest of the overall high quality appearance of the trunk lid, has developed. I suspect, and seem to recall, that the materials were not blended and prepared properly in this location. A crack has developed in the back of the trunk lid. If I were to repair this breach in the surface, I would likely carefully protect the surrounding surfaces, then carefully cut the cracked area back to solid material. Then using the area that is shaped correctly and still intact, I would refill and finish this area again taking care to preserve the contour of areas not requiring repair.

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Body Members Alignment

Focusing back on some of the high quality aspects, let me direct you attention specifically toward how the body panels fit together. On this '65 Mustang, quite a bit is time was put into greatly improving on the original shape, by making the doors meet the fenders in a much more accurate manner than they did when it was first made. Most of these '65 and '66 Mustang's doors have higher than desirable area near the seams of the doors to the fenders, and the fenders to the doors, especially on the top more gradually curved sections. As the panels near each other, this higher area curves inward to meet the other panels rather quickly, which greatly reduces the quality of the reflections of originally shaped panels. On this vehicle, these areas were carefully compacted, and shaped so that the contour of the mid sections of the panels are more closely matched contributing greatly to the appeal of the reflections down the sides of the body causing many people to make comments about how much they love this car.

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But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16

The quarter panel extension on the right side of the car fits pretty well, however we should have taken more time adjusting and fitting the one on the left side. If I were to align this one more accurately, I would probably put together a set up that would bend the trunk side top down, and push the bottom part of the quarter panel side in a bit, so that it could be raised up to meet the top of the quarter panel better, and still fit within the other parameters. As the work on the rest of the car had taken lots of time, my friend decided that since he wanted to drive it a bit, we wouldn't take the time for some of these details at that time. Many of the original parts didn't fit very well when these cars were first made.



There are many other details that I could direct your attention toward that I don't have the time to illustrate and discuss at this time, and some of those details, that effect the reflection, such as orange peel, are very hard to document with a camera, but I also considered them to be more under the paint classification. As is pointed out in the upper part of this article, when the polishing is half decent, it is the accuracy of the long gradual curving body panels that really sets off the appearance of the reflections. This is the part that is most difficult for the majority of people, and the part that takes the longest to perfect. Though this vehicle has a few glitches, the majority of it is much more accurate than most any other you'll ever find. If I were to perfect this one even further, I would leave most of it the way that it is, carefully protect those portion of it, and carefully cut out the bad spots and re work them back into the shape of the parts that are pretty accurate already. It would take hours and hours of work to ever produce the accuracy of the sum of the whole again, but the bad spots could be brought up to perfection in relatively little comparable time. As this one has been settling for years now, any shrinkage is likely complete so any further improvements would most likely remain for a long time.

And so it is as time passes and we become more firmly settled into the truth of God's word, though His Spirit my not be completely finished perfecting us, if we have been and continue to ask Him to, and allow Him to improve on the bad spots, that which already reflects His character the way He want it to will remain. Though one area of the body panel may need to be cut out, it can be brought back into, and refilled to the accurate shape much more easily by using that which remains as firmly established on the foundation of God's Word, as a guide to the correct contour.

Jesus said:

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”

Luke 6:46-49




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