by Chris Barrington

Installment 14 - Exterior Paint.

This installment is well over-due. I painted the car in December, 2008 thru January, 2009, but wanted to wait to "unveil" my roll-on paint job until I was convinced the paint would hold up and continue to look decent.

A big thanks to Marc, Exit and of course Charger on the Moparts forums for perfecting this technique. I was able to successfully paint my car in my garage (3 feet from my wife's car) for around $100.

After reading a hundred pages (seriously, nearly 100 pages) of the Moparts thread on how to paint your car for $50, I decided to use Brightside yaucht paint, due to it's durability and shine. The color selection with this particular brand of paint was slightly limited, but I found (stole) a paint scheme I really liked that worked with the colors available.

Brightside can be purchased at West Marine, and various online retailers. The rollers and other materials can easily be found at your local hardware store. The foam rollers are High-Density rollers. 2 quarts was more than enough to paint the entire car (1 quart of each color in my case).

Prep for paint is probably my least favorite job, so I just hit the car with a few rounds of 220 grit sand paper. Since I'm rolling the paint, very little masking was required. A hit with some acetone to clean the surface, and it's ready to paint!


The bumpers come off with just two bolts. They got the same treatment as the body.

I couldn't remove the rear lenses for some reason. With the nuts removed, they still seemed to be glued in. I didn't want to risk breaking them, so I just carefully masked them off.

Applying the paint is really something you want to practice. I used an old sunroof to perfect the consistency of paint. I found the best way is to test your application on a vertical surface. When you get the consistency just right (about the consistency of non-fat milk in my case) you should get an even coat (albeit very very thin) without runs or sags. I wasn't able to take many pictures of the process, since I managed to get paint all over my hands for each coat. In this picture you can see the first coat on the right, and the second coat (still wet) on the left side of the roof. The paint looks pretty thick, but looking closely you can see all the roller marks, and the underlying color still.

By third coat (below) I was actually getting a little worried. Even though the paint was going on fairly well, I kept having issues with bubbles and the fact that the coverage wasn't covering much at all was a little troubling. The bubble issue was an easy fix, however. I just needed to go back over the paint a few minutes after it was applied with the roller again, but with no pressure. Just the weight of the roller popped the bubbles and helped level the paint. Blowing a bit on any remaining bubbles did the trick.

By the fifth coat, I was started to feel pretty good about this method. I finally had full coverage of the underlying paint and the paint was starting to get more and more shiny.


After the sixth coat dried, I was getting impatient. The car looked fantastic, and even without wetsanding or polishing the paint, it shined really well and looked smooth. It is a track car after all, so I did nothing but wipe the few bugs that landed in the paint off and began to apply the vinyl stripes.


After just three days of "curing" I had my first auto-x event. In the sun, the car looked even better. Though, my number panels hadn't come in yet.


I ran with the stock colored phone dials, but they really stood out like a sore thumb. I did my best to color match the wheels to the brownish stipe that runs down the side of the car. The prep was similar to the body of the car. Just some 220 grit paper, acetone and paint. Nothing special to the track donkey.


Finally, some action jackson shots. The different color wheels are my spare sets. These pictures were taken in May and June (four to five months after the paint was applied). Keep in mind I haven't washed the car since I painted it. This is at least 8 events and hundreds of miles on the road, to and from.


I couldn't be happier with the way the car turned out, and the durability of the paint. It does chip if you drop tools on it (ask me how I know), but what paint doesn't? Sure there's no clear coat, but I'm not going to cry if I stuff the car into the wall because the paint job cost me a few thousand bucks.

It should be noted that I have gotten nothing but compliments from random strangers at events. One 914 owner had his car painted at a local Maaco, and he believed my paint job was on par with his, and he paid much more than I did (even with doing all the prep work himself). I hope the sceptics of the roller paint jobs will see the car in person before passing judgment.

All photos: