63 Impala / Overall National Champion

I started this project like any other. It began with the customer wanting nothing but the best for his show winning car. We decided to create some custom kick panels and to mount the CD player in the glovebox so the original chassis was not cut. It was delivered right out of the paint booth. I didn't have any part in the engine build or the body which was fantastic. I only built the sound system, but put my all into it.

I began the kick panel molds by spraying one side of foil with contact cement. Once the glue on the foil was partially dry, I applied the sticky side to the kick panel of the Impala. Then I applied fiberglass resin on the foil. Once the resin was dried I removed it from the kick panel. I then built a wood frame for the speakers on top of the mold. Once the frames for the speakers were set, I stretched some fabric over it and stapled it to the back of the kick panel mold. Once the fabric was set over the frames I applied a coat of fiberglass resin with pieces of fiberglass mat. Once the resin was dried I cut out the speaker holes.

These kick panels were going to be wrapped with vinyl to match the rest of the car so I filled in all the small gaps with some bondo and sanded it smooth. Once the kick panels were smooth enough to not see any bumps showing through the vinyl, I dried the surface with some alcohol to prepare the surface for the contact cement. I applied the contact cement on the kick panels and the back of the vinyl and let it set for a few minutes. I heated the vinyl to the proper temperature with a heat gun and began to stretch it over the kick panels. Once the kick panels had the vinyl stretched over it, I stapled the vinyl to the back side of the kick panel. After I fitted the speaker molds into the kick panel, I secured it with a few screws and wired the speakers to the amp in the trunk.

Mounting the CD player was going to be easy in this Impala because we were not going to cut the factory dash which comes with a two knob radio which usually needs to be modified for modern radios. We cut a small piece of wood to create a faux CD player mount and covered it with the color match vinyl. We placed the mount inside the glove box and installed the CD player with plenty of mounting straps to keep it in place.

The trunk was wrapped in the same color match vinyl. Rey Reyes was working with me to get the trunk completed in time. We were tasked with working around the freshly painted air tanks that were mounted in the trunk. We mounted the amps in the spare tire well and created a seamless trunk area that incorporated the Impala logo. In order for the logo to appear behind the vinyl we cut out the Impala logo in 1/2 inch foam and glued it onto the trunk panel with contact cement. Then, we covered both with the vinyl after heating it properly.

The car was completed just in time for a national automotive competition which it won first prize in. The end result was fantastic. I was happy to be a part of another award winning team. Thanks to all of those that helped.

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