Body panel assembly order and adjustments?

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Sep 13, 2016
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My Car
71 Base 6 cylinder, and 72 Base 351C
I am finally getting back on my project! No, really, this time I swear!! lol 

Been about 4 years since I tore it all apart.  I have all the bolt-on panels off. The basic body, I changed a quarter panel, patched the floor, and am about to paint the shell in primer, then color. 

I am assuming it would be best to paint the fenders, doors, ect while off (After I do a little bodywork on them). I also have new hood, decklid, and bumpers, which are chrome but want to paint body color. 

But my thinking is it would be better to bolt everything on the car, to figure out spacing/shimming, ect,, then take the parts off to paint. I'm afraid if I paint them first, I will scratch them up trying to fit them on the car. 

This is a new project for me, never having taken a whole car apart to paint, ect. What is the best order to bolt stuff on, to adjust? Do I start with doors, and align with quarters and rockers, then fenders to door, ect... Or just bolt everything on and adjust here and there till stuff all fits? 

I bought a bunch of body shims, and plan on bagging and noting all of them when it comes apart to paint to help re-assemble.  

Or, am I overthinking this, and I should just bolt and shim it all, leave them on, and paint like that and call it good? (Still have the order question though)  Just going to be my daily summer cruiser, not a showcar, and don't plan on selling it. 

I will be updating my build thread when I start back on it, I have it in the garage, and as soon as fall and winter prep are done on the racecars and yard, the Mustang is next. Been planning on it for like 4 years, but keeps getting pushed back for other stuff. But THIS time, I swear, it is going to get done, lol!

Thanks! Earl