Should the rubber filler strip between the body and the rear bumper be painted or left unpainted (black)? I'm trying to duplicate original.
I'm almost certain it is unpainted from the factory. I had a "63 Impala and I remember that part. I'm sure mine was not painted.
That was a time when bodies were all steel and bumpers were chrome. The rear body panel that bends to lie under the bumper is body-color. I don't recall any such rubber filler on Chevrolets in that period: it was just body roll tucked under the chrome bumper.
I worked on lots of those cars. Most of the GM cars of that era, probably up till the late 60s, maybe even into the early 70s had the rubber filler attached with staples of all things to that body panel that Ed recalls. Obviously they were or a heavier gauge steel, but they looked just like the staples that come out or your desktop office stapler.
Thanks for the info. We've had the 62 Nova convertible in the family since my wife purchased it from the dealer in 1962. The restoration is just about complete, but I couldn't remember if the rubber filler was black (unpainted) or painted. When I started the restoration, the rubber filler was painted, but that might have happened subsequent to a minor fender bender repair. I've produced new staples and I'm about to drill the holes to complete the installation of the filler strip.
That's quite possible. Body shops wouldn't likely have made too much effort to mask parts like that off, especially if the work was done back in the day when it was just a car and possibly nothing special. Having said all this, I could be wrong. I'm going on my own 40-50 year old recollections about the details of these cars. I owned and painted lots of them, but same as yours, they all had lots of history on them by the time I got to them, and of course the memory can fade. If you want to be 1000% sure discussion forums on sites like Haggerty would be a good source. The good news is that putting them on unpainted allows you to go back and paint them later if necessary. Good work fabricating those staples. Most restorers attach them with rivets or glue them or skip them altogether. Congratulations on owning that car all these years. That alone makes it a rarity. I'd love to see the finished product.