Creating The Perfect Paint Job, Step One: Visualization

DH Automotive

This month we’re going to dive into the first post in a nine part series about Creating The Perfect Paint Job. Perhaps the most difficult part of any classic car restoration is determining what route to go with the paint.

The first step is to visualize the final product, such that your vision of the perfect paint job is planted firmly in your mind. This is the most important part because it sets the tone for the entire process and will help you push through those tough times when everything seems to grind to a halt or fall apart. Simply, you know exactly what you want the finished product to look like.

Now before you jump back to the internet and flood your mind with images, I’m going to give you an approach different than the norm.  You may find this strange, nutty, wacky, even ludicrous but I want you to find a quiet place, sit down, turn off your phone/computer and close your eyes for a minute, visualize your project as it stands right now. Go over the entire detail of the car/truck, front fenders, hood, top, rear quarter panels and trunk, the dents, the rust, the chrome.

Ask yourself if you intend to keep it stock or really take your time customizing every last detail to your liking. If you start to feel uncomfortable just sit with it. The discomfort is coming up for a reason which will reveal itself if you don’t resist. The point is that your mind will guide you to the finished project, the true color, the shine or satin finish.

At first this statement may seem to contradict what I stated earlier in the last blog but hear me out: a few months ago I purchased a 1968 Buick Skylark Custom, baby blue with white vinyl top, the car itself was in pretty good shape but was in need of freshening up, the upholstery was in bad shape, blown head gasket, it needed a little more than freshening up, especially the paint, which was done a few years ago.

There was over spray all over the trim, front and rear bumpers and the trunk and hood were peeling. The minute I brought the car back to the shop I was bombarded by opinions on how I should proceed with the paint process, everything from gloss black, ghost flames, candy blue with silver leaf you name it. I was so overwhelmed every suggestion was better than the last and I was caught in a mind melt on what color I wanted, I knew that the baby blue was not original color so it wasn’t about bringing it back to stock.

That night I couldn’t sleep, the thought of changing the color seemed  way off base, but the thought of leaving it the same color was also along those lines. I decided to get up, go out into the living room sit down for a while. I began to stare out into the backyard, closing my eyes intermittently and then for some time, I must have dozed off, however in that short period of time I saw myself cruising the east side of Manhattan in the Buick, everywhere I went I was getting shout outs on how beautiful the Buick was, then for some strange reason I’m back on the 405 going south in bumper to bumper traffic and again thumbs up to everyone I passed.

I woke up with this incredible feeling I knew what I had to do, when I got to the shop the following day I removed one of the rear fender skirts to have the baby blue paint matched. It’s been a few weeks now since it was finished and I have to admit it came out way better than I expected. In fact a neighbor mentioned it to a friend of his that was visiting from Germany, he was so excited he offered me a incredible price on the spot and asked if I would help him get it shipped back to Europe which I gladly did!

The point of the above exercise is this: allow your vision to present itself to you without being clouded by the recommendations, pressures of your friends or family. You’ll be surprised at the results.