Under the Hood
- Written by Daniel Livingston
One of my planned winter projects was repainting the air cleaner. My father-in-law had, at one point, repainted it with a silver paint. While the silver was close to the original, I was not sure what brand of paint and exact color he used. In an attempt to save the original "Use Genuine FoMoCo Replacement Parts" decal* on the side of the air cleaner, he taped over it before painting. The tape was still covering the label and it was pretty much sealed tight by the new coat of silver paint.
I carefully pealed it off but the label underneath was in pretty bad shape. Now, I want to keep things as original as I can but, I was not going to be happy with how it looked, fresh new paint and a old beat-up label. I'm not sure if my father-in-law knew there were reproduction labels available. Since I planned on repainting the air cleaner anyway, I figured a reproduction label was in store. It turns out several of the Ford Falcon/Mercury Comet reproduction parts dealers offer a label kit of all the labels needed. I ordered one of the kits which "contains all of the labels" needed for a 1962 Comet. Unfortunately, it didn't include this particular label. A quick email to the company with the photo on the left attached showing them that this was indeed on the original air cleaner, netted me one in the mail.
Looking around on the net, I found out that Ford/Mercury had a particular color called "Argent Silver" that was used throughout the 1960's for many parts on on their various cars. Further research found that Motorcraft (Ford) still sold this color in spray cans. While not cheap at $12/can, I was glad it was available. While there were dozens of silver paints available and even several Argent Silvers out there, I figured I'd stick with the Motorcraft brand.
I removed the original label and stripped the two layers of paint using a premium paint remover made by Jasco. It made quick work of the paint. You just brush it on, wait 15 minutes and gently scrap it off. Some additional stripper was needed in the nooks and crannies. A thorough rinsing in water and then wiping it down and letting it dry before going into the paint booth.
One of the niceties I have is a home-made bench top paint booth. Having built many projects over they years, I found a need for a place in the house where I could spray paint small(ish) items without smelling up the house. Also, it's nice to be able to do this year-round as the dead of winter in upstate NY is not the time to be painting something outside. The booth is a "down-draft" type with a two stage filter and a vent to the outside. I have a light inside to help illuminate my projects as well. The air cleaner is about as big a part I can fit entirely in the booth.
A coat of metal primer and two or three top coats of Morotcraft Argent Silver came out quite nice. What I have not shown is the air cleaner bottom plate which got the same treatment. I also cleaned up the rubber gasket attached to the bottom plate which had some over spray on it from a previous paint job. It cleaned up nicely, just like new. What it totally cool is that I still have the original FoMoCo (Ford Motor Company) air filter that came with the car. It's a little dirty but looks great. I'll get a newer one if I expect to put some miles on the car, but will keep the original as well.
Next I applied the two air cleaner decals. First on was the "Use Genuine FoMoCo Replacement Parts" decal that I mentioned earlier and then the all important "170 Cubic Inches" decal. I think they came out great. Now in todays world 170 cu. in. does not seem like much when all you hear about are the big engines is 350 cu. in. or 409 cu. in. But, in reality, it's a 2.8L, and can more than hold it's own with some of today's smaller engines.
* - Side piece of trivia: The word "decal" is actually short for decalcomania. I learned this 20 years ago from a friend at work. Blew me away when I heard that.