By: John McGann, Photography by Wes Allison
There’s a lot to like about Mike Nagel’s Torino—from the Ram-Air shaker scoop on its 429 Cobra Jet engine to the perfectly restored interior—but the thing that stood out most to us was its stunning black paint job. “I’ve got at least 400 hours in on the paint and body,” Mike says. He’s a former painter/auto body technician, so he knows what he’s doing. But he built this car at home, spraying the paint in one of those add-on garages usually reserved for parking your lawn tractor. Impressive, huh? We thought so, too. So much, in fact, that we handed Mike the Best Ford award at last year’s Car Craft Summer Nationals. Mike is the third owner of this car. He bought it mainly because he’s owned several Mustangs and wanted something different. He found it for sale on www.classiccars.com, hitched his trailer, and drove to Southern Illinois to buy it. It had been sitting for several years in the second owner’s barn, so it was filthy—but rust-free.
Upon returning home, he rebuilt the braking system. He also removed the engine and transmission for a thorough cleaning and rebuild, returning them to OE specs because they were original to the car.The following year, he stripped the paint because, “I got tired of looking at the wavy body panels.” Mike later acknowledged that the waviness was due to a few door dings that infested the car’s flanks, leading us to believe he’s pretty picky about his car’s appearance. There’s nothing wrong with that, either.
Mike soon had the Torino taken apart and stripped to bare metal, scraping the paint with a razor blade instead of using a chemical stripper. Torino parts are very hard to find, and they cost a fortune when you do come across them, so Mike basically had to metal-finish all the original panels back to factory fresh. Once done, he primed and block-sanded everything, then primed and block sanded two more times until the sheet metal looked better than new. He painted it in pieces in his make shift paint booth because the whole car couldn’t fit with the hood and fenders installed.
One might think Mike would now be terrified to take the car out in public, but that’s not the case. He drives it to local cruise nights, estimating that he puts about 1,000 miles on it during the summer. He’s just very careful where he parks it.
Source: Car Craft