Don't wreck your mad new paint job, read this first!
So you've just had your car painted and it looks rad to the power of sick. But now you need to put it back together, and this is where the old saying "preparation is key" really comes into its own.
After all the time and expense of having a car painted the last thing you want to do is chip that fresh job, so you need to prepare your work space and your car before you race back in and start bolting bits back together.
The first thing you need to do, even before the car gets home from the paint shop, is buy a box of good quality 60mm-wide (2in) automotive masking tape and get hold of as many old towels, thick flannel bedsheets and removalist blankets
Wash the sheets and blankets before you throw them over the freshly painted panels to protect them, and tape them down so they don't slip off. Remember to put 3 or 4 layers of tape all around the edge of each door, down the sills, and around the boot and bonnet
Clean all the parts you need to fit back onto the car (including running a wire brush over old bolts to clean them up), so you're not handling dirty old bits covered in slime. Once they're looking fresh lay them out on blankets somewhere people aren't going to be walking (so they don't get stepped on).
When it comes times to actually start putting the car together buy a box of black nitrile gloves. Unlike many mechanics' gloves the nitrile ones will let you do fiddly jobs like starting bolts by hand, and you won't get hand prints in the soft, fresh paint.
Marty has had a few cars painted now (like his new STi coupe, HERE), and he's turned into something of an expert at the process of putting them back together, as you can see in this week's video HERE.
His toppest tiperoonie for getting through the refit process is to bag and label everything you remove when you pull the car down before paint, so you're not sifting through a giant bucket full of bolts when you go to put the car back together weeks, months or years (if you're me) later. Marty also warns that you will break stuff when the car goes back together, but the Internet is a beaut source of cheap one-off clips, doo-dads and whoosiewhatsits.