Q: Painting Base Clear or Acrylic Enamel
For those who may not remember, my 1968 april gold bird was hit in the fall and it is now in the process of getting painted.
I need advice in choosing the proper finish and maintaining its original character (and looking its best).
The last owner painted it in acrilic enamel. I really like the way it looks but the painter says it is a cheap, non durable paint and will be hard to blend if ever needed. The painter suggests base clear, claiming it’s a better quality paint. The only doubt I have is the high gloss finish, will I be swaying too much from the original appearance with base clear, and will it look drastically worse (too much glare) than what I am accustomed to?
Does anyone know how good April Gold looks in base clear, and is there anyone who can convince me to stay with acrylic enamel.
A: I hope you get the answer you want on what the modern finish will look like. I will tell you from the modern paint jobs I’ve seen, the advances in chemistry make it almost essential to invest in the best you can buy. Even “inexpensive” paint will cost a bunch, since most of a quality paint job is in the labor. This is no time to go cheap!
The original paint GM used was, as I understand, RM acrylic lacquer. That’s what I used to use when painting anything of mine. I am told that I would be wasting my time with that today however, because those paints do not have the same chemical makeup they had back in the day.
A: I think you are a little confused in what the painter is talking to you about. I think the painter is talking to you about using a basecoat, clearcoat combination. That combination is available in a wide range of types of paint including Lacquer, acrylic enamel, urethane and other high-tech finishes.
For the record, I would use urethane basecoat / clearcoat. It will cost you $100 to $200 more for the paint (and maybe more for prep) depending on what needs to be done to apply the finish. I’ve been using urethane since 1988 and have had excellent results. It’s extremely durable and will give you a very deep gloss.
As far as originality, there were no acrylic enamels when our cars were built. It was either lacquer or regular (synthol) enamel which are both inferior finishes from a durability standpoint. I wouldn’t worry about originality of the type of paint unless you are going to a concours event. Just use an original color.
A: Sanding and polishing the clearcoat will essentially level out the finish. The end result is that you will have a deeper mirror like shine. It is well worth the effort, but if I was going to spend that much, I most certainly would spend the extra on a urethane paint job. By the way, you can sand and polish the paint yourself. It doesn’t take any special talent other than patience, lots of water and a rubber sanding block along with some ultra fine grit paper (600 to 1000 grit). If you decide to do it yourself, go out and buy a book on painting cars that has pictures in it. That way, you’ll learn the tricks before you make a mistake on your fresh paint job. Heck, it’s worth the $30 to learn about paint jobs anyway. You’ll find that that if you bone up before you talk to your painter, you’ll probably get a better paint job at a better price.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve painted more cars than I care to admit…. and I continue to make my fair share of mistakes. Probably the single biggest problem for a newbie to auto painting is getting the surface prepared properly. In fact, when you look at paint jobs done at the chain body shops, the reason they look “average” is because very little time is put into preparation. A general rule of thumb is that if a cars surface looks imperfect before painting, it will look even worse after painting.
Sorry if I’m preaching to the choir, but as I said, I’ve made and continue to make my share of mistakes and they are very costly in time and money… So, before you spend any money, read a book on auto painting (and make sure it was printed within the last year as the finishes keep changing). Good luck!!
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Content last modified: January 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm