R.  Bodywork Complete - Time For Some Paint

Post date: Nov 02, 2015 2:11:55 PM

This El Camino  came from the factory painted in Tuxedo Black on both upper and lower panels and with a black interior it is known as "Triple Black" and quite striking - at least when new!  The goal of the work on the Shop Truck is to restore it as faithfully as possible to the condition as it came from the factory, so a 2K basecoat clearcoat Urethane paint in Tuxedo Black is being applied.

To do the work a temporary spray booth was designed and constructed in one of the shop bays.  A 1,600 cfm fan was sized so that that air would be exchanged in the booth every 90 seconds.  The booth approximates a downdraft by having the inlet air filter high and to the back of the booth with the fan being low at the front of the booth.  It worked quite well with dust almost non-existent and any overspray was gently removed from the atmosphere.  Given the booth size, painting is being done in 2 batches - as the pictures show the first is the components that were removed from the truck.

The process is to first seal the 2K Urethane primer with Sealer and then paint the Tuxedo Black basecoat over that.  Here is a shot of the parts after Sealing and Basecoat was applied.

Once cured (about 35 minutes per coat), the clearcoat was applied to the parts after tacking them off.  There were two coats of Sealer, two coats of Tuxcedo Basecoat and three coats of clear applied in total.  Here the parts are after the final clearcoat.

While it would be wonderful for the paint to be complete, but now the task of wet sanding and buffing the parts had to be taken on.  With the paint system used the manufacturer strongly recommends sanding and buffing within 48 hours (after waiting 24 hours) as the cross linking of the Urethane begins to make it difficult to achieve a good result otherwise, so before the painting of the body, work got underway with getting the parts finished.  It is labor-intensive as you first block with 1,500 wet sandpaper, then move to 3,000 grit.  Once the surface is level, then the 3M Perfect-It compounding and buffing system was used with an electric buffer. It is amazing just how trans-formative the process is!  Here is a fender after sanding, but before buffing:

Here is the same fender after buffing:

Now that all the parts have been cut and buffed, the Shop Truck body is in the booth and will be sprayed in the next few days - stay tuned!

Well the El Camino is now all one color.  The first order of business was to paint and clear the bed to minimize the risk of leaning into wet paint trying to cover the entire body.  To do that the doors, windows and front end were masked.  Then the entire car except the bed was masked.  The final steps before paint were to wipe down with grease remover and then tack.

After Sealer, Basecoat and Clearcoat here is the result.

After 24 hours the bed was then masked off and the rest of the body painted with the same process - here it is after the basecoat was applied:

And the final result after Clearcoat and the spray booth partially disassembled - It's all one color just as it left the factory in November of 1969.

With the paint work complete, the next step is to wet sand it to 3000 grit, starting first with 1500.  This is done mainly by hand, however the 3000 step is done with a DA sander.  It took about 9 hours to sand the body, but here it is after the 3000 step, ready for the compounding and buffing steps.

Note that the surface is a bit hazy, but it is now very flat and when viewed from a shallow angle the finish is a bit easier to see.

With the sanding complete buffing began using 3M's Perfect-It system.  This system is easy to use and works very well and fast.  The three step system begins with a compounding step followed by Machine Finishing and finally Micro Polishing step.  This process took about 2 1/2 hours to complete and the results are very good as you can see the the sail panel reflection.

The cutting and buffing is now complete for the entire Shop Truck marking the end of the painting phase.  Assembly can now commence!