I didn’t send the grill to the paint shop, but masked it off and painted myself.
The grill on a Magnum is chromed plastic, which has its edges masked off and painted over the chrome. I started by washing the grill, then wiping down with wax & grease remover, then carefully mask off the edges needing to stay chrome. Next I lightly scuff with a rough (brown) 3M pad. Some of the paint was very loose and exposed the chromed plastic under it when scuffed.
I sprayed the part with paint adhesion promoter. I started with two light coats, and finished with two wet coats.
A couple hours later I pulled off the tape and it looks like brand new.
The rest of the trim was reinstalled. I’d say that the paint job was a total success. I’m very happy with how it came out. Tomorrow the car gets washed and detailed.
I made this dash panel for my 78 Dodge Magnum Dakota Digital gauges many years ago. I’ve since replaced the dash with white face analog gauges. Selling this panel for a dirt cheap $100 plus $25 to ship in Lower 48 if you can’t pick up at my shop. Use the panel or strip the gauges out for something else. All gauges worked when pulled, although the the tach was dimmer. I never investigated if there was a brightness setting.
I pulled the seats out and replaced the carpet and floor mats. About 20 years ago, I pulled a ratty console and tilt column out of Gilligan, a Magnum parts car. I sent the console to an interior shop to be recovered, and bought a new console lids on eBay. I sanded and painted the non-granny steering column. The original tilt steering is available – if anyone with a 70s B-Body wants to convert their non-tilt steering to tilt. I bought a set of near new black leather BMW Coupe power seats, and installed them in the car.
The seat looked great, but felt too small for my wide back (and fat ass) – as I weighed 330 at the time. I weigh 250 now, and they’d most likely be great – but I ordered and waited 3 months for aftermarket black leather seat that were the widest on the market. They’re now installed. I have the BMW power seats wrapped and for sale. They be great in any muscle car with black interior. Black leather seats from a 2-door (allowing passengers to get into backseat) are rarer than hen’s teeth.
These seats then had a semi-gloss leather coating used on interiors back in the 60-80s.
You may note that the door panels and gauges are also different. Let me tell you about them. First the door panels.
The above is how they looked after 40 years of use. I scuffed and wiped down with wax and grease remover, and masked off.
I generally start with two light coats, and then one wet coat of spray vinyl dye. That worked well for the hard plastic and carpet, but the soft vinyl would have parts that looked like it was soaking it up. It was splotching with parts being gloss and parts being flat. I thought I’d must done something wrong in prep, but it finally came out OK by the time I’d hit the soft vinyl another six or seven times with a wet coat, waiting about 2-3 minutes between. It took a full 12oz can for first panel.
Same deal with second panel. I made sure I’d rubbed off all of the wax and grease remover, and let it air dry for an hour. However, same deal. Hard plastic and carpet looked good after two light and one wet coat, but I had to keep hitting the soft plastic with more wet coats where the dye dries in a flat splotches. When the soft vinyl finally was a consistent gloss, I had just enough left in the can to give the entire soft vinyl an even wet coat instead of just dressing up the splotches.
I think it came out looking pretty good. The gloss made the soft vinyl look a little loose, but it tightened up when clipped onto the doors.
A Couple of decades ago, I made an aluminum upper and lower panel, painted flat black; and then filed then with switches, vents, little lights and Dakota Digital Gauges. That look didn’t work for me, but it’s for sale if it works for you.
So I bought an empty gauge panel on eBay, and ordered about $1000 worth of custom gauges close to the size of the holes. I bought a large Speedometer (with Tach) that works off GPS; and a large gauge that has Volts, Oil Pressure, Coolant Temp and Fuel Level to fill the two big holes. To fill the two smaller holes I bought an Oil Temp gauge and a clock.
The two big gauge holes with the sleeves in them were too small by about 1/16″, so I had to cut the welds attaching the sleeves to the panel and pop them out. Once out, the holes were now 1/8″ too big. On the small gauge holes, I had to cut the inset hoods off as the gauges were too shallow for the screw on collars that attach the gauges to the panel to screw on the back of them.
To make the big gauges fit, I made some spacers from 4″ schedule 80 PVC sleeves, by hand sawing about 3/8″ off the end and wet sanding until they were smooth and the same size.
I mocked the gauges up to make sure they fit prior to doing any sanding and painting on the gauge panel. They did, so I glued the spacers onto the panel.
I wet sanded the panel and masked off the idiot lights.
After painting gloss black, it looked too gloss and cheesy. Some of the glue around the rings (that I swore I’d sanded all of the way off) was also showing.
So I decided to leave the coves glossy black, but have the flat portion in a hammer tone black – to tone down the gloss and hide imperfections. So I taped off the coves, sanded some more on the glue around the rings, and wet sanded the areas to get the hammer tone paint.
I hit it with two light coats with an hour between, and then a very wet coat after another hour.
IN the mid-90s, Ginger had it’s vinyl top Ripped off, scuffed and had a couple coats of lacquer applied. After 25 years, there’s some bubbling happening under the paint. So most of the trim was removed, the car washed, and I went over the car with a magnifying glass to mark any flaw with pink liquid chalk. I dropped the car off to the paint shop. They’ll grind and repair the flawed area, scuff the car with 400 grit wet sandpaper, spray a coat of adhesion primer, and a couple of coats of black poly urethane.
I”ll pick up the car after my road trip to Detroit, to replace the trim – after its been polished. I’ve done a ton of work on the car since I bought in the 90s. Search this site if You’re interested.
My first new car was a 1978 Dodge Magnum. It was triple black with a 360 motor and a floor shifter, but not highly optioned. I’d actually gone to the dealer to order a triple black Diplomat, then saw a Magnum for the first time coming off the carrier. It was the dealership’s first Magnum, and was causing quite the stir so I went out with the salesman to watch it get unloaded. Afterwards, we went inside to place my order for one.
I drove the car for business for about 3 years, selling it with 126,000 miles on it. Over the years I’d bought a couple of nice used ones, but the color, corduroy seats, and/or Granny Shift did nothing for me, and so I flipped them for a profit after cleaning and fixing up.
Around 1998, I decided I needed to find a nice Black car. I located Ginger in Arizona. It was a black car with T-tops, 400ci and leather interior – although the front seats had its leather very hard from being in the south with T-tops. The car had its vinyl top removed and a repaint sometime in the past. I think I paid about $4000 for it, and trailered it back to Texas.
Over the next couple of years I replaced the stock 400 with a forged rotating 400 short-block that was in a local A-body drag racing. I replaced the Leanburn with a Mopar Performance electronic ignition; the iron intake and Thermoquad with an Edelbrock Performer intake and carb; and the V-belt pulley system with a March Performance Serpentine. It’s a very quick Magnum.
I also replaced the 8.25″ rear axle with a 8.75″ Suregrip out or a 74 Charger, and installed 3.55 gears
The single 2.25″ exhaust was replaced with Schumacher headers and a custom bent dual 2.5″ exhaust.
Finally, I mounted a LeCarra steering wheel, the 85 mph speedo dash was replaced with a custom made dash – filled Dakota Digital gauges (much cooler 20 years ago than now) and an Infinity Stereo out of a 99 Durango,
Oh yeah, I bought a set of Keystone Klassics and 235-60/15 Goodrich TAs. I drove the car like this (sparingly) for the next 15 years.
Recently, I’ve made some major upgrades to the care which I will post here, but I wanted to give y’all the background first. Check back as I’ve made a lot of upgrades and will trickle them out.