Far be it from us to counsel restraint when it comes to piloting one's Corvette, particularly if it's a late-model edition kitted up with all the mod cons that make everyday driving such a pleasure. That said, there comes a point at which even the most dedicated Vette votary has to wonder if perhaps it's time to relegate his (or her) pride and joy to weekend duty.
Consider the case of Mark Dickey's "Orange Krush" '01 Z06, a dazzling, LSX454-powered daily driver that graced the cover of our Aug. '05 issue.
In the years since its magazine debut, the car has been a veritable lodestone for automotive misfortune, suffering a fascia-defacing runinwith an armadillo in the Arizona desert, a high-speed rear-ending by a furniture truck in Tampa traffic, and, most recently, a vicious side-swiping in the parking lot of a local shopping mall. If Corvettes were stuntmen, Dickey's would be Super Dave Osborne.
Fortunately our Mr. Dickey is a stalwart fellow with an excellent insurance policy, and in the first two of the aforementioned instances, he was able to have the car repaired to full pre-wreck salubrity. The side-swipe fix, meanwhile, is currently underway, which brings us (in admittedly roundabout fashion) to the topic of this how-to article.
While much of the mall-crash damage will be rectified by simply replacing the affected panels, some of these items have been discontinued by GM and will therefore need to be mended with an SMC (sheet-molded composite) repair agent. Dickey entrusted this work to the Corvette pros at AntiVenom in Seffner, Florida—the same folks who handled the mechanical portion of Orange Krush's initial build way back in 2007.
Knowing that minor SMC repairs tend to be well within the capabilities of the average DIYer, we tagged along, camera and notepad in hand, to document the process. Let's take a closer look at how the job unfolded.
Note: The repair method detailed here is only applicable to '82-up Corvettes. Earlier models, which were built using glass-reinforced plastic, or GRP, require a different procedure.