If there is ever a turning point during a project car build, it has to be the actual painting process. This is the part of the project that when finished, makes all of the cuts and bruises, and hard work all worthwhile. It can also be the biggest headache you could ever experience, especially if you tried to cut corners, but the headache is avoidable.
Any paint job is only as good as all of the work you have put into your project, before any paint even starts to get sprayed. All of the prep work leading up to the actual spraying of color will determine the final outcome, and if you cut corners and took short cuts, the end result will show it.
Rendering by: www.carsbychris.com
When our musclecars were new, the painting materials used were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are today. Years ago, single-stage acrylic enamel paints were the paint of choice. This single-stage process meant that the paint was applied without a protective coating that the newer, basecoat/clearcoat paints of today use. While this single-stage painting process delivered a somewhat durable and good looking shine, it did have its limitations. Over the last several years, painting has shifted to a two-step process commonly referred to as a base/clear paint.
Our project ’Bee is to the point that it is ready for a covering of the factory B5 Blue, but what’s it actually take to paint a car? That’s an article that would take way too many pages for us to properly cover, but if you follow along, we’ll show you some highlights of what you’ll need to keep in mind.
1. If you don't plan to start with a clean surface, don’t even bother. The best way to ge
Like we said, using quality materials is a must, and if you have a local paint-supply house that’s willing to help you work through the process, you can do it. We were fortunate enough that Waterford Painters Supply was close to the garage where we were painting the ’Bee, so getting the right stuff was just a matter of telling them what we were doing. There are a myriad of choices available when it comes to paint, but for our project, we felt that the quality of PPG paints was unable to be matched. We’ve been using PPG products on our cars for as long as we can remember, and the results are repeatable, and great. Now, don’t think you can simply go to the paint store, buy a gallon of paint, and paint your car, it doesn’t work like that. There are a lot of processes and material involved, and mess up one step, and the entire job is in jeopardy. In order to explain what I mean, the following list is the actual paint materials we bought just to paint the body. Keep in mind, that this list doesn’t include items like paint for accessory items like the k-frame and suspension components, masking paper, masking tape, and a whole lot of sandpaper.
2 gallons of basecoat (B5 Blue)
3 gallons of Urethane clearcoat
2 gallons of hardener
2 gallons of Urethane primer
7 gallons of reducer
This might sound like a lot of material, but if you are completely repainting a car from the inside out, it takes a lot of material. Like we said, without actually writing a complete book about painting, there is no way we can show you every aspect of what it takes, but if you follow along as we show you the highlights of what we did, you will have an idea of what a paint job really takes to get quality results. Also, check out www.moparmusclemagazine.com for a lot more images and instruction to help you with your project.
2a. If anyone out there tells you that there perfectly straight car has no “mud” in it, t
2b. If you are looking to get perfectly-straight body panels, you will have a small amoun
3. Once the body was considered straight enough, we covered and sealed the car with PPG’s
4. Some manufacturers will tell you that their primer is a non-sandable type. Personally,
5. So you want to paint your car yourself. It can be done, but keep in mind that all of t
6. No matter what extent of painting you plan to do, dealing with a reputable supply shop
7. Just to give you a head’s up, the average paint job means that there is a base of prim
8a. Do you think we’re done? Actually, we could be, but now comes the sanding and polishi
8b. By gently wet-sanding the car with various grits of sand paper, ranging anywhere from