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How Paintless Dent Repair can be Part of the Restoration Process for Classic Cars

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2018-02-28 Hot Rod Network Staff

Paintless Dent Repair came about as an alternative to traditional body work to fix dents in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost normally required to repair dents in newer vehicles. A major application of this technique is repairing hail-damaged cars on dealer lots. It didn't take long for someone to figure out that this process could also greatly increase the value of original-paint muscle cars by removing dents while preserving the factory paint surface.


Quality restoration shops like Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin also began to see the value this process could bring to their restoration process. No, they're not saving original paint. That is usually long gone before they see the car. Rather the benefit is saving original sheet metal and minimizing the use of body fillers.

Many, if not most, cars being restored today are experiencing their second go around having been "restored" somewhere in the '90s or so when most restorations were not performed at the standards available today. That meant that most small dents were simply mudded over. The panel looks perfect until it comes back from being stripped, then 40-plus years of dents and dings suddenly reappear.

Of course doing PDR on a bare metal or an e-coated panel is not the same repairing one with shiny, undamaged paint. Obviously, bare metal lacks the shiny paint reflections that enable the technician to actually see the dent and the progress being made. The striped reflection panels normally used to see when the dent are useless with bare or even e-coated metal.

Unlike conventional PDR, the panel is going to be painted so if the dent can be reduced to something that will be naturally filled during the usual primer/filler block sanding stage then additional body filler can be eliminated. Also, because of the thicker sheet metal used with cars of this era, the process is a bit more forgiving. It takes a bit more effort and time to push out a dent but the thicker more rigid metal also makes it harder to overdo the repair. If done with the right goal in mind, PDR can produce a better result and actually save time during the bodywork phase of your restoration.

001-paintless-dent-repair-restoration© Hot Rod Network Staff 001-paintless-dent-repair-restoration

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