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Budget PaintJob - The $375 Paintjob

How We Painted This '65 Chevelle for $375.00

By , Photography by

This paintjob project started innocently enough. We ran several races in an attempt to wrangle a spot in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational right after last November's SEMA show. When we didn't finish strong enough at any of the qualifier races, we really didn't expect to get an invitation. We talked about putting in the effort into the paintjob to make it look nicer, but more pressing magazine projects commandeered our time. Then, barely three weeks before the show, pal Kevin Doyle called me and said, "Hey, I just saw the list for the Optima event and you're on it." Two thoughts immediately did burnouts through my brain: The first was elation at being invited to the Optima; the second, which quickly followed, was major dread that we had precious little time to make the car look presentable. The race decals from the 341 Challenge had ripped large chunks of paint off both doors when removed, so we had no choice but to plunge head first into the great paint abyss.

I put out the Bat-Signal to my friends and Mike Paradis answered the call, along with buddies Kevin Doyle, Kris Shields, and CC staffer John McGann, who offered up free labor for sanding and other drudgeries. Paradis has his own small shop called Quarters, Tops, Doors and Floors, where he does sheetmetal work when he's not teaching at West Valley Occupational Center in Woodland Hills, California. Veteran readers might recall that Paradis helped us colorize our '66 Orange Peel Chevelle ("How to Paint Your Car for $750.00," Apr. '09), so we welcomed his assistance. Since we didn't have the luxury of time to strip the old paint, Paradis suggested we scuff the car, fix the major flaws, and paint the Chevelle a single-stage satin. As Paradis observed, "The satin will hide the flaws." It was the perfect solution.

He also suggested we contact TCP Global, which sells a line of single-stage satin paint called Hot Rod Flatz. The paint was more than affordable and comes in a kit consisting of a gallon of paint, a quart of reducer, a pint of catalyst, strainers, and stirring sticks—all for less than $180.00. We found Speed Blue to be the closest to the Chevelle's original hue, so we ordered it online and it appeared a few days later. That's when the thrash really began...

Paintjob: Satin Options
This quick and easy satin paintjob turned out much better than we ever expected, which led us to speculate about another painting experience that was less successful. Back in the Apr. ’09 issue, we did a story called “Paint Your Car for $750.00” in which we stripped and painted our ’66 Chevelle. The Orange Peel Chevelle’s name is well deserved because we really didn’t do a great job on the bodywork. The photos hide the many undulations, dips, and cavities in the car’s single-stage gloss paint, but suffice to say it waves to you if you get close. We spent about the same amount of time on the ’66 that we did on the ’65, yet the results were far superior on the ’65, which led us to believe that applying a single-stage clear satin finish might just save the paint (and the pain) on the orange car. Eastwood sells a Rat Rod Clear (PNs included in the following chart) that might just do the job. All we’d have to do is even out the bodywork a little, mask the car, and shoot the satin clear. Eastwood says two light coats will deliver a 10 to 15 percent gloss.

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