Well, the wood might be trashed, but that just means you get to make all the changes you thought about when you were learning how to do it the first time. Something you might consider is, when you are finished sanding and staining, laying fiberglass mat and resin over the wood to seal it. This has been done to wood strip canoes and simply looks like a high varnished finish, while sealing and protecting the wood... just something to think about. For what it's worth, I wouldn't channel or lower the car, I love it just the way it sits! Big thumbs up to you for wanting to do all your own work too, when you're done you'll be able to say, "Yes, I DID build it myself!", and no one will be able to contradict you!