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Car Craft
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Paint Your Car at Home

If you're into looking good on a budget, dive into this primer on basic bodywork and creative use of color.

Photography by ,

`Face up to it right now: Paint and bodywork is just plain expensive. The days of pulling up to your buddy's body shop and leaving two weeks later with a car-show paint job for $5,000 is over. Today, the cost of materials can easily run $2,000 and up if you want to use top-notch materials and do the job right. Labor cost? Expect to pay $60 per hour minimum. If you can get the job done for less, consider yourself blessed. You get what you pay for.

So this leaves the budget-beleaguered car crafter with one alternative--do it yourself. You've probably heard all this before, but it demands repeating. The key to a quality paint job is all in the prep work before any color ever finds its way onto the car. Quality work involves taking your time and doing the work carefully and deliberately. It's also maddeningly tedious and very discouraging when dents keep showing up that you swear you fixed last week.

To show you that we're capable of taking on a project instead of just writing about it, we're willing to step on a few landmines firsthand. We jumped in with our buddy Jim Peterson as he was just embarking on a backyard '65 El Camino project. Jim enlisted the help of his pal Tyrone Williams, who offered his expertise in exchange for a Peterson-built 327 small-block for Tyrone's personal '66 El Camino. We offered to work with them. Isn't that how cars get built--by leaning on your buddies and trading your expertise in exchange for their help? Ya, we thought so.

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Car Craft