Preparing an original steel-bodied hot rod for paint is a big job. If it served time as a jalopy racer, as my '32 five-window did, it's going to be an even bigger job. Once I had the old Ford body beat back in shape, I took it to the Spade Brothers' custom paint shop in Huntington Beach, California, and started the sanding process.
After some filling and sanding with coarse sandpaper was done, the first fill-primer was sprayed and things got a little easier. I went over the body several times, starting with coarse 80-grit paper, and worked my way up through 150-grit, 220-grit, and finally 320-grit (using dry paper equaled 400-grit wet paper). If you're planning on shooting metalflake as I was, make sure all the gaps around the doors, trunk, etc., are at a max-imum, because the 'flake and all the clearcoats builds up in thickness.
Once we got to 220-grit paper, we weren't making things much straighter, but we still used a guide-coat, which makes it easier to see that everything was sanded. The coupe was sanded once more using 320-grit paper and then given a last fine work-over with Scotch-Brite, which is like 600-grit paper, before it was rolled into the paint booth.
These days, you almost need to be a chemical engineer to understand all of the paint that is used. To simplify matters, we used all the products from one manufacturer, PPG, which makes it easier to avoid mistakes by mixing different brands.
We planned for a dark red or maroon Roth 'flake for the car color, which is not on the regular color chart, so it had to be mixed. "Uncle-Bob" Spina, a Roth 'flake expert, gave us a hand with some test spraying. It's not easy to get the 'flake itself mixed to the right color, so we took the easier way to get it done, using candy on top of silver 'flake. Shaun Spade then sprayed a black PPG base color, which made it easier to see when the 'flake fully covered all parts of the body. Shaun layed down six layers of the Roth 'flake to get a satisfying final result, and then a few more layers of PPG clear were sprayed to top it off before it was baked in the booth.
After the clear had been given a couple of days to harden, it was wet-sanded to smooth it out. It was then time for the final color-the red PPG candy-and more layers of clear. The result was stunning, and better than I could have imagined. It looks like something you would hang on your Christmas tree. All the hard work is starting to pay off; I can't wait to get it all assembled and on the road. Stay tuned.