I have never been very excited about the brown color of the car. I suppose it had looked pretty good in its original metal flake glory but faded out, it was not very attractive. I decided it was time to do something about that. Here is what I started with.I am fortunate to have painted a few cars. I know the basics and have the necessary equipment. I spray catalyzed urethane paint, sometimes referred to as “2K”. It has some nasty chemicals in it. A vital piece of equipment, for me, is the supplied air breathing system. It has a blower that sucks clean air in from 50 feet away and pushes it into a hood. I guess a facemask would work but with a beard, I can’t ever get a decent seal. I also wear a tyvek suit, which keeps paint off of me and also reduces contamination of the paint job from dust off my clothing. Here I am in my get up.As the 944 is a track car, I did not require a show car paint job. I did want it to look OK from 20 feet. After consulting with my Dupont paint supplier, he advised that I simply wash the car, wet sand it with 400 grit, and shoot it with a single stage urethane. I was thinking of the orange color that Porsche painted 914’s when I was young. I wound up with the orange that Ford is painting it’s Boss 302 Mustangs.
Single stage urethane is what it sounds like. It is applied in one step. This is versus the process where you apply the color as a matte finish basecoat and then cover it with clearcoat, which adds the gloss. The paint is mixed with a catalyst and a reducer. My paint cost was around $250.
The following work took 3 days. For reference, my E-Type probably took 3 months. Like I said, this was not going to be a fancy paint job!
First I evaluated the car as to what to remove. I took off the bumpers and front air dam. I took off the hood to paint it separately. I took off all of the trim. I took out the door glass and the rear quarter windows. I left the windshield installed. I took off things like door handles and light assemblies. Then I gave the car a good wash with Dawn detergent. Then I wet sanded it with 400 grit. Here is how it looked.The above work took up the first day. The next day, I pulled the car into my paint booth and began masking. Believe it or not, it takes a full day to mask a car. It is unbelievable how long a good masking job takes. The following pictures do not do justice to the effort!
The third day, I was ready for paint. This is really the easiest part. As with any paint job, the hard job is with the prep. Bear in mind, I made no attempt to fix any issues with the body work, with the exception of one major rust bubble on the hood and welding in a plate to fill in where the radio antenna had been. That said, the car was rust free elsewhere.
So I laid on 3 coats of orange paint. I don’t have any photos of it but I laid the hood out on sawhorses and spent some major time getting the crumbling foam insulation off the inside. I then painted the inside of the hood white. After it had dried I flipped it over and painted the outside with 3 coats of orange.
As the orange paint was drying, I turned my attention to the bumpers and air dam. I cleaned these up the same way I did the rest of the car. I then painted them with some inexpensive “rattle can” paint from Autozone suitable for plastic and rubber parts. This paint went on very easily and as we will see, looked great. Finally, I came back and carefully masked for my number circles. The rough outline of the circle can be done with regular tape and masking paper. The final taping is done with a very thin vinyl tape, about 1/8″ wide, which can be pulled into a curve.
The next weekend, I spent a day putting the various parts back on. Here is my “gallery” of how it looks. You can’t see the runs,the captured bugs, and the other blems but believe me they’re there. But from 20 feet, no problem! The paint job is a major improvement, to say the least.
And with the low resolution of a computer screen, the paint job looks even more amazing! Wish that car were street legal – you’ve definitely bumped up its curb appeal with the new color. Can’t wait to see it in person!