Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

Building the Goodguys Giveaway ’86 Squarebody – Part 4

Color! It’s a high point in any project when you can roll the body (or a collection of body panels) into the paint booth and start applying the paint that will give it a defining, signature appearance. That’s exactly what happened recently at Goolsby Customs when the Goodguys Grand Prize Giveaway Squarebody ’86 Chevy pickup received some dynamic and distinctive color using BASF materials. As you might expect, though, there was a lot of prep work necessary before any of those pigments could be sprayed.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

We showed you a lot of the custom bed floor work in the Part 3 build installment, but we did not show one of the final steps, which was applying undercoating to the bottom of the bed assembly. The Goolsby team hopes this truck gets driven!

Earlier this week we walked you through the highlights of the custom metalwork and modifications the Goolsby team made to this Chevy pickup’s body. It included an all new bed assembly using panels from LMC Truck, a stepped bed floor to accommodate the Roadster Shop Slammed SPEC chassis, plus other custom touches like filled seams, a custom firewall and inner fenders, narrowed bumpers, and a recessed fuel filler in the bed floor. Beyond those mods, the crew paid special attention to aligning, fitting, and modifying panels to achieve a precise fit and panel gaps that are far better than OEM specs of the era.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

As initial bodywork was completed on each portion of the body, that section would be rolled into the paint booth to receive a coating of high-build primer to prepare for the long hours of block sanding to come.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

With everything in primer, the team reassembled the body in preparation for the block sanding process. It was hard to resist bolting up the Billet Specialties wheels and recently modified bumpers to get a glimpse of the finished product. Even in primer gray it looks bitchin’!

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

Masking tape is strategically used throughout the block sanding process. Taping off body lines gives you a good visual and physical edge to sand up to, which results in crisp corners and edges when the final paint job is done. Tape can also be used to prevent sanding through the primer in certain areas. And we’re short-changing the block-sanding process by only showing two photos, but trust us, there were countless hours dedicated to blocking, re-priming, and more blocking.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

There’s a strategy involved in the sequence of painting parts. Two areas that were first treated with color were the dash (only the lower dash is painted – the top will have a pad) and the firewall and cowl area. These sections will be masked off during the rest of the painting process.


Even after all that cutting, fitting, and alignment is done, there are still hours and hours of preparation to put in before any paint can be sprayed. Black BASF epoxy primer was used to cover the bare metal body panels following the custom metalwork, and then a gray high-build primer was applied so the Goolsby team could start the arduous process of block sanding, a necessary step to achieve a flat, smooth finish. The block-sanding process is done with the body panels assembled, and then many of the pieces come apart again in preparation for paint.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

The sequence for multi-color paint jobs doesn’t always make sense to non-painters. For the squarebody, the Goolsby team started by painting the whole truck white. This was done in pieces, and then the body parts were reassembled in preparation for the stripes.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

Next, Jonathan taped off where the orange stripes would go, and masked off the areas that would remain white or be painted blue. The bed had to come off again before the orange was painted so that Jonathan could wrap the stripe around the cab corner.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

Once the orange paint was dry, two strips of ¼-inch masking tape was used to mask off the orange section, which will essentially create three thin orange stripes (rather than one wide one) when the blue paint was applied.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

The Eric Brockmeyer illustration offered good direction for the paint job – a factory-style two-tone of light blue and white, with orange striping separating the two colors. Jonathan Goolsby took that to heart and found the original 1986 GM Light Blue Metallic hue in his BASF color book, matching it with Frost White. The bright blue hue has some fine metallic in it that will give the paint a little pop. Goolsby also went to the extra effort of painting the orange accent stripes rather than using vinyl tape – a decision that added many hours and effort to the project but will result in a much more professional and custom finish.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

The logic of the painting sequence could be seen as the fenders and hood came back off and the masking was removed, revealing the white middle panel and the trio of orange stripes dividing the two primary colors.

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

The body panels were disassembled yet again so that the clearcoat could be applied. The result of this process is that the color transitions are all buried under clear, making for a more custom appearance with no ridge or edge between colors. Slick!

Goodguys Squarebody, giveaway squarebody, goolsby customs squarebody

Of course, things aren’t “done” when the truck comes out of the booth. Next comes the long and delicate process of wet sanding the clearcoat and polishing everything to a smooth, show-ready shine. We’ll show highlights of that next time, along with final assembly and other details. Stay tuned!

The accompanying photos offer a glimpse at what it took to prepare and apply a first-rate custom finish on this pickup. Believe us, there are many more hours in the process than most people realize – not to mention aching arm muscles and plenty of sweat equity. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights. Now that we’re starting to see color, we can’t wait to see what this custom squarebody finished and unveiled next weekend at the Goodguys 23rd Summit Racing Nationals in Columbus, OH!

Photos by Goolsby Customs

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.