[ROVERNET - UK] Painting My Car - Maaco

Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton smokeandsteam at san.rr.com
Tue Sep 12 06:18:09 BST 2006

It's always nice to think about how beautifully Rover used to finish cars,
at least before BL got their grubby hands on them. No the paint wasn't as
durable nor quite as shiny as modern synthetics, but the application was
first rate. Sadly this all started to go downhill with BL, and there is a
very noticeable falling off sometime after the Series II P6 was released.
Thin paint and orange peel were never traditional Rover virtues and I
suspect they had economized on the teams of polishers that would finish each
car after painting.

Now to Maaco... yes I've used them - we have a seriously beaten up pickup
that didn't merit more than a quick respray to make the doors and hood the
same colour as the rest of the car. I wasn't expecting much and got what
turned out to be a pretty decent job  - there were a couple of places where
the masking wasn't quite lined up right and a couple of spots where a bit
more care in the prep would have been nice, but the paint was pretty
decent... for a $500 special.

I would certainly use them again for painting another work pickup, but not
for a Rover restoration project. They are just too focused on production
line type paint jobs to make a high quality re-spray a good fit for their
operation. (I'm sure there will be individual Maaco shops that don't fit the
generalization, but that's not their corporate business model). Yer gets
what yer pays for and Maaco are cheap...

P6s were painted in the factory with the panels off the car and that makes
repainting at home a little easier. P5s aren't amenable to this treatment
and I would plan on providing a lot of space to work around the car so that
you can get proper access to all the places that need painting - you will
spend a fair bit of time working at low angles to get the spray to hit the
surface at close to 90 degrees so the higher you can get the car off the
ground the happier your back will be and the less chance there will be of
any dust or dirt from the ground being kicked up on the wet paint along the
rocker panels. 

Similarly make sure you can get above the car to paint the roof - I've seen
professional paint jobs where the front center of the roof panel showed the
painters arm wasn't quite long enough to reach the middle and had had to
resort to a quick squirt of paint from too far away and at the wrong angle. 

Use quality paint and equipment and prepare the surface thoroughly before
you paint. Be prepared to do a lot of rubbing down between coats while you
learn how the paint likes to go on - practice on spare panels that you can
strip rub down and repaint until you get a feel for the paint and the gun
and are comfortable in your ability to get the paint on wet but not too wet.
Painting is not rocket science but it is a skill and it takes practice to
pick it up. 

Careful use of fine grades of wet and dry paper (finishing with 2000 and
3000 grit) will get rid of many minor blemishes. Mild orange peel is usually
easier to rub down than a big saggy run so resist the temptation to rush
back for one more pass over that area that doesn't quite look right - let it
dry, run it down and if need be apply another coat. 

If it's very minor the rub down at this stage may be optional - you will
almost always get some dry spots in the paint no matter how good you are and
one trick you can use is to make your sweeps start and end in different
areas on the second and subsequent coats. A final rub down and polish will
blend everything together, but do be aware metallic colours don't always
behave when you do this. 

If you don't like the results with the spray gun, remember that Victorian
and Edwardian carriage and railway locomotive painters used brushes to
prime, topcoat and varnish using hand mixed paint. 17 coats were specified
by one English railway company with painters using brick dust to rub down
between each coat. 


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