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Painting Our Project AMC Rambler - Show-Car Prep

Think you're done when the paint is dry? Finish the car with a little Show-Car Prep

We stood in the faint outline of blue that surrounded the Rambler like an upside-down halo greeting the unusually high number of gawkers that came to see the art. "This paint on the decklid looks a little iffy" was the first comment to break the silence.

We understand that right after you paint a car, you are going to get attention. So we were prepared for everyone to look down the body and make mental notes of each warble of paint and each unworked paint chip just so they could point them out. Since the price of a good paint job has easily crested $5,000, the expectation of perfection has become absurd. But right after you tell people you did it yourself, for around $1,000, in the garage, they usually stop complaining and you get a little credit.

For the CC/Rambler, we chose a dual-stage metallic called Barbados Blue. Because it's a dual-stage, a flat base-color coat is applied followed by a clearcoat. There were some mistakes in the Rambler's basecoat we laid down in last month's issue, and since we hadn't applied the clear, it wasn't too late to fix them. We were also going to use the secret weapon often called the cut-and-buff that from the days before the advent of catalyzed and single- and dual-stage urethanes. Since old-school lacquer used to go down dull, shops would use a pasty compound to knock down high spots and remove imperfections. When that was covered with a huge coat of wax, the job looked great. That same technique can be used on the clearcoat on a two-stage urethane job for the same effect. Here's how to do it.

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Car Craft