West Coast Report 27th Edition by John Gilbert

Fiberglass Tech – Rustin’ Gold – Dodge my Garage

Outlaw Rodder

Fun With Fiberglass

Here’s yet another tech installment on the Hot Rod to Hell. If you’re starting to get your chops working with steel, then you’re really going to dig how easy fiberglass is to work with. I was at church early last Saturday, that’s the donut shop at the corner of Magnolia and Adams in Huntington Beach, CA. when a fabricator buddy sniveled about fiberglass making him itch. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was probably his personal hygiene, and not the ‘glass. Well, that’s not completely true, working with fiberglass does seem to effect gremmies when they start messing with it, but that goes away in a few weeks. Kind of like that new girl you started seeing when you made the mistake of introducing her to your weird friends too soon. Especially Wally, that guy’s a real screw-up.

Here it is the #50766 USC Fiberglass Repair kit, its all anyone needs to get started learning all about using fiberglass. The directions are pretty easy to follow. Unless you built a lot of model cars, and airplanes when you were a kid you’re going to want to work in a properly ventilated area.

I wish I could remember which edition it was of the West Coast Report, but somewhere back in the archives there’s a tech feature on how I went about cutting out the floor on the Hot Rod to Hell to make more room for my big feet. Onward and upward, after I got the opening cutout the next step was to hold a piece of cardboard from inside the firewall and trace the opening with a Sharpee (just like the ones celebrity welders sign autographs with) to make a template.

Here’s my trusty Makita, I prefer to use battery powered as opposed to running a 5-horse 220-volt compressor to power a die-grinder. It’s a lot cheaper on electricity bills that way, quieter too.

I sketch my cut-line out with a Sharpee, and then use masking tape to create highly visible cut-line. Not only that the tape lays a straighter line to follow.

OK, I’ve been mixing resin and I forget what this photo means. I guess it means I should turn the exhaust fan on. Oh yeah this photo shows how I used the old fiberglass hood sides to make the repair sections. * See aluminum hood.

Has anyone ever used a cat for a hood ornament before, I’ve seen big rubber rats on the hoods of rat-rods before. Those big rats are real and they’re know as Nutria. Google Hairy Bikers Nutria.

Alright my head’s clear and its time to get back on it. Notice here how I used… what’s the name of that green s#*t? Everglass. Look to last week’s West Coast Report to see how to mix, and use Everglass.

You can’t bend cured fiberglass (at least I can’t). I made the part in two pieces. Here I’m tracing the second half. Notice the top portion has been sanded with 36-grit. Rough sand Everglass before it cures completely, or you’ll be yelling at your dog, and she won’t know why.

Any dirt, oil, grease, grime present and the fiberglass will not bond properly. PRE works perfect for stripping all that evil greasiness off.

I’m sorry I didn’t take shots of laying the glass and soaking it with resin, but sticky resin-coated hands and $5,000 cameras don’t mix.

After the patch was all glued together, and held in place with Everglass, I laid fiberglass mat over the entire area. Maybe not perfect work, but good enough to go Hell.

Alright, I’m done, and Ruby’s got the garage covered. And here’s a handy tip. The Martin 13 piece fiberglass body and fender tool kit is not for doing body work on fiberglass bodies.

Its time to go look at cars… Yeah that’s it, cars.

Garages Customized Into “Ram Caves”

Does My ’86 Dodge Ram Count?

Warning! this baby is chocked full of hyper-links: I can’t tell you guys how much I wanted to tear into this canned press release with a few slight content alterations like I used to do at Tailgate magazine, but I’m going to display a rare moment of willpower and abstain. I do think I might enter this contest. How’s about a lame picture of my black ’86 Dodge Ram with the two wives and the dog poised next to it wearing Legalize Polygamy Now T-shirts. Anyways check it out, what’s to lose besides a contest? Enter now the contest ends October 6, 2013. Beyond here be Dragons.

  • Three grand prize winners will have their garages transformed into a customized Ram Cave

September 12, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – The Ram Truck brand is working with top home improvement and men’s lifestyle influencers, including Bob Vila (Bob’s cool), Timothy Dahl of charlesandhudson.com and Brett and Kate McKay of artofmanliness.com, to showcase how Ram Trucks can assist with home improvement projects through the “Ram Caves” contest.

Now through Sunday, October 6, Ram Truck fans can enter the contest at www.ramcaves.com for a chance to win a custom garage makeover with onsite design and renovation consultation from one of the three experts.

“Ram Truck is proud to partner with Bob Vila, Brett McKay and Timothy Dahl to offer our fans a unique opportunity to bring the style and design of Ram Trucks to their home garages,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO of the Ram Truck brand, Chrysler Group LLC.

“The Ram Caves contest was built to engage fans and to celebrate the spaces where owners come together to spend time with their vehicles.”

Starting today, Ram Truck fans can enter the “Ram Caves” contest by submitting a photo and short essay that explains why their garage deserves to be renovated into a Ram Cave. Entries will be open for public voting through Wednesday, October 9. Following the public voting period, the three influencers will serve on the judging panel and will score entries based on creativity, public appeal (appeal as in a public outcry not to do my garage?) and cause for garage renovation.

Three grand prize winners will be selected by a combination of judges’ scores and public votes. Renovations for each grand prize winner are slated for mid-November. Each renovation will be filmed, and video of the process will be released for public viewing in December on the official Ram Truck YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ramtrucks). For more information on the “Ram Caves” contest, please visit www.facebook.com/RamTrucks.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Ram® Trucks Caves Contest starts 9/12/13 at 10:00 A.M. ET and ends 10/6/13 at 11:59:59 P.M. ET. Open only to eligible legal residents of the 48 contiguous U.S. States/D.C., at least 18 years old at time of entry. Click on Official Rules for entry instructions and requirements, prize details, restrictions, etc. Void in AK, HI, North Korea, and where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Chrysler Group LLC, 1000 Chrysler Drive, Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766.

This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administrated by, or associated with, Facebook.

About Ram Truck Brand
The Ram Truck brand continues to establish its own identity and clearly define its customer since its launch as a standalone vehicle brand. Creating a distinct brand for Ram trucks has allowed the brand to concentrate on how core customers use their trucks and what new features they’d like to see. Whether focusing on a family that uses its half-ton truck day in and day out, a hard-working Ram Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its commercial vehicles every day, Ram has the truck market covered in goodliness, and wonderful goo.

The Ram Truck brand has the most innovative lineup of full-size trucks on the market. Ram Truck has emerged as a full-size truck leader by investing substantially in new products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and features that further enhance their capabilities. Truck customers, from half-ton to commercial, have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to provide high levels of capability. Ram trucks are designed to deliver a total package. Package must fit inside bed, observe all safety rules, and always brush your teeth before you go to bed.

I recognize her artillery… Janet from State Farm at 3 O’clock in the morning? A friend of mine recently commented just how radical the difference is between my office in Irvine, CA. and what the inside my of house looks like. Yeah, its true, I can just imagine a show on HGTV with some plus-sized inactive woman dragging some poor little squeak husband behind with them both all aghast at how much updating my pad would need. Especially all of that solid oak I put in the kitchen back in 1986. It didn’t matter that I spent a month hosing gallons of Deft on the oak to seal it, it still soaks up greasy fingerprints.

I don’t deny it, anyone can tell I take a lot better care of my tools, and garage than I do my house, but that doesn’t make me a bad man. With exclusive Tweets from the cast… Gag, puke, barf.

The thing is if a guy runs any kind of business at all he’s got to inspire confidence in his customers. I think that means not turning an office into a 14 year-old kid’s dream bedroom, but what do I know.

An impromptu shrine one might say. I’d love to drag this little table to Antiques Roadshow some day. I flamed the fatbob  tank next to it in 1993. The plaque commemorating the most popular photo ever in Tailgate was made by Billy Winburn of Crestwood, Kentucky. http://www.streetrodderweb.com/features/0604sr_1937_ford_sedan/viewall.html

Here’s my extensive WW1 German helmet collection that I started in 1959 when Grandpa Gilbert gave me the gray helmet at left. The other one I bought in Calgary at Crown Surplus for $35.00 a long time ago.

I didn’t start out to become an abstract expressionist painter, it just happened one day when I plucked the rear window out of my ’66 Chevy C10 and went to town. Later that day I drove into town without a rear window.

This sign from my custom paint shop has hung in every office including the corporate ones that I ever worked in. A guy has to have his traditions.

I scored that newsstand out of the old Popular Hot Rodding office in Placentia when they were going to toss it out.

The mural on my Snap-on box was a limited edition Snap-on offered painted by Dave Bell. I kept telling Dave Bell I was going to have him sign it one day, and then after too many years had passed it was too late. Less that be a lesson little shavers, don’t put off for tomorrow something you should have done yesterday.

It’s Hell to get old, my hair is abandoning me, and blubber is overtaking my bones. Alright this is the lobby, please notice the dual-quad 312 Y-block and full-house flathead are maintained in dust free condition for your protection.

My office is in “Boss” Bob’s Garage. Bob is a true patron of the arts. Otherwise if it wasn’t for Bob, I’d be working from an office in Santa Ana, with rats eating my toenail scraps, and buzzards combing my hair.

From the Vicky Deuce looking back it’s pretty easy to tell Bob is a big Ford fan. The ’56 Buick is Bob’s only GM car. The ’59 Olds is just a guest… a rather large guest.

There’s Bob enjoying a cigar that probably cost more than my GMC did brand-new. The Boss 429 Mustang is Bob’s only stock vehicle in the lot.

A real famous guy bought this painting from me, but he didn’t want me publicizing the fact. Too bad, I hear when that happens you start selling paintings like crazy.

Google “Love Forever Changes full album” and prepare to have your brains transported to a riot on the Sunset Strip circa 1968… or whatever year it was.

Oh yeah that. I know it seems like I have an abundance of Kobalt rollaways, that one is my filing cabinet. Next to it is my favorite abstract hanging on that part of the wall. I use the RC controlled Harley V-Rod as a drone to deliver air-freshener to minimize the effects of gaseous warfare emanating from the restrooms after Taco Tuesday. All righty now, it’s time for the serious stuff.

Hot Miscellanea

Radically Hacked ’58 Chevy Caught Jamming North

Photo by John Barkley, Street Rod Group Associate Publisher Chevy High-Performance, Custom Classic Trucks, Muscle Car Review: You never know who’s looking. I mean not like the cameras that are hidden everywhere one goes in public, and maybe even few places that aren’t in the public domain. I’m talking about those things that look like a cigarette pack or a hockey puck that people carry and point at things catching their eye. That’s exactly what happened to John Barkley, checkout the home-built ’58 Chevy Big-Window Xtra-cab longbed Fleetside John spotted heading North on a California freeway.

Rustin’ Gold

Julesburg, CO. Dream Shop / Home with a Junkyard View

I don’t know if horny is a good word to describe how bad I want to get back out on the highway, but it works good enough for me. Looking back I’m glad I’ve spent a life out on the road seeing the countryside, and dragging old cars, trucks and motorcycles back home to California. The first photo is of the extremely low-mileage blown Buick Riviera I drove from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Julesburg, Colorado. Look behind it, and there’s a vacant restaurant I’d turn into house with a shop in back so fast it’d make Carlos Danger run for mayor of New York City. OK, maybe not that fast, but you get the idea, it looks like the perfect dream shop to me.

Across the highway there’s a fenced lot full of rusty old vehicles. Some look savable, and some are terminally rusted out. This GMC longbed Fleetside based on what’s visible is either a ’62, or a ’63. The red and white Chevy in front of it is definitely a ’62… one year only grille.

The faded Palomino Tan paint looked to be original. I’d prefer a Big-Window shortbed Fleetside, but this cool in its own right. Notice this is a Custom Cab.

Try finding the side moldings this thing has intact on both sides. Hood off and in the bed of the truck, a tune-up, or oil change gone bad?


  1. Hey, thanks for taking the time to read it. I checked out your website, it was good to see what’s up body shop wise down under.

    — John G.

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