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Hot Rods Early 50s style paint help.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Aaron D., Nov 19, 2020.

  1. Norris McCarty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2007
    Posts: 309

    Norris McCarty

    1CC4F735-DAB2-4BBF-AD3A-14FA50A005FF.jpeg Painted in ‘72 with enamel
  2. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,757

    from Raytown Mo

    You’ll nail it man. Single stage enamel in a color that makes since, do your best and it’ll fall perfectly in line with the rest of the car.
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,344

    Rusty O'Toole

    Use your favorite brand of single stage (not clear coat) enamel or lacquer and pick a color from the charts of early fifties cars. Buick Ruby Maroon was a favorite, but there are other nice colors. 56 Lincoln Wisteria, and there was a Studebaker President 2 tone green combination that popped. Bright pastel 2 tones and 3 tones from 55 to 58. There were metallics but they were subtle, not like metalflake which came along about 1961.
  4. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,854

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I'm "only" 63 YO, but I learned body and paint from an old time customizer. Good paint, even back in the day, was shiny. As shiny as you could get it. I don't know where all this satin, flat, not so shiny stuff came from. Must be a modern interpretation of the old days (like tattoos on rockabilly chicks).
    My mentor was really great with paint. But sometimes he'd get real lazy, or just want to take the money and run. I remember one paint job, on a rare big block 63 Galaxy. The owner was super anal about stuff, and insisted on us doing the car in "40 coats of black lacquer". When it got to the point of painting, he shot it in black Centari (acrylic enamel), with the last 2 or so coats done, mixed half and half with clear Centari. Sanded and buffed..... 20 years later I see the guy at a car show, he remembers me being the shop helper, and now I've got a shop. He asks if I could touch up his car. Told him it wouldn't be easy, being Centari and all. He was either very disappointed, pissed off, or didn't believe me, he still thought it was lacquer.
    Point is: all the better paint jobs from back then were rubbed out lacquer. Not, it's not as plastic-y shiny as modern clearcoated paint, but it was very shiny. You can duplicate the finish, somewhat, with single stage uro, paint until covered, then a few more coats mixed with clear. I've done it on several cars, recently, and it still works. Only with solid colors, though! No metallics or pearls!
  5. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,961

    from Burton, MI

    @Kirk Hanning built it a few years back. Maybe he'll chime in.
    Aaron D. likes this.
  6. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,010

    Bandit Billy

    This is an excerpt from a Hot Rod article I saved a few years ago about the perfect black paint job, this is from Charley Hutton
  7. 54chevkiwi
    Joined: Jun 28, 2020
    Posts: 79


    i cant help myself, no contribution to the thread but ..... i just haveto say, that car and that colour are stunning!
  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,887


    Being one day from 74 years old and having a memory for cars in the 50's customs and hot rods were SHINY then. Even the lacquer paint job shined. The nonsense of flat paint in the old days comes from the way the magazine photos were printed and the paper that they were printed on rather than the actual paint. Not all cars were black either.
    If you go though an old paint sample chip book there were no satin colors all were gloss. Some didn't stay glossy long but that was paint quality more than original appearance.

    My 51 Merc had a Metallic Emerald Green paint job on it when I bought it in 1963 and the paint shined great if you kept after it but that included keeping it polished and waxed on a very regular basis. I went though more cans of wax on that car than everything I have owned in the 57 years since I bought it.

    Main thing is if you are changing color (s) pick a color that jives with the time frame that you are shooting for. It may not have to exactly be an old color as New Jeeps and Toyota trucks and a few more have some quite traditional colors that shine great but don't look gaudy.
  9. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 715

    from TX

    Is it not required to use the mothers vacuum cleaner to spray the paint for the 50's look?

    Just asking for a friend.
    Bugguts, Tman, catdad49 and 2 others like this.
  10. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,344

    Rusty O'Toole

    Chopolds you are correct as far as it goes, but most young guys could not afford "40 coats of hand rubbed lacquer" from a custom shop. Most prepped the car themselves and had a local body shop paint the car with a color they picked out of the RM or DuPont book, or from a car they saw on the street or a local new car dealership. Sometimes they would add a little something to change it just a shade but mostly they were stock colors. In this case I think the OP wants a typical fifties look of a car a young guy could have built at home and that can best be achieved with a stock fifties color.
    He said he was thinking of a dark red, and I know Buick ruby maroon was a popular choice for hot rods and customs back then.

    Sometimes they had to drive around in primer until they saved up for a real paint job, and sometimes they would paint the car in the driveway with a putt putt compressor and cheap spray gun or a paint brush and hardware store enamel. But most were done by a local body shop and maybe got some pinstriping or scallops later as the owner could afford it.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
  11. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,120


    My coupe was painted Match 2020. It is acrylic enamel, the colors were chosen off a pair of color charts, no metallic involved. I wanted shiny paint that is still going to look good in 10 years if I take care of it. I only hope my body work holds up that long. Gene

    Attached Files:

  12. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,653

    from Zoar, Ohio

    In happy with the acrylic enamel with the gloss hardener I used.
    Has just enough orange peel to stay off the bathtub look.
    The second pic was years later after curing.


  13. Model A Gomez
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,378

    Model A Gomez

    I shot my coupe with single stage urethane from PPG because I didn't want the base clear glassy look. It laid out nice and looks good but is costly. I used it on my 30 pickup almost 20 years ago and the truck sat outside for at least 15 years and the paint was starting to die. I just sold the pickup last month to a friend and you can see the paint has faded but really held up well.

    running.jpg pickup.jpg
  14. X2 what @Rusty O'Toole said. Painting it a period correct color will give your coupe instant credibility as an early '50's hot rod.:cool:

    Here's a website that shows paint colors and codes for each year for all the manufacturers.
    For example, 1950 Ford car & truck colors:
    Aaron D. likes this.
  15. big bird
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 59

    big bird

    Thing about the old single stage enamels and lacquer is the clean way the light reflects off it. Modern BC/CC has white highlights in the reflections.
    AHotRod likes this.
  16. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,209

    from Australia

    gee , thanks, I was sitting here thinking "this shit again?" paint should be shiny. You only have to look at good quality photos of fiftees cars, look at the beautifull paint and the reflection of anything nearby in it. Free beer in the fridge for you two.
  17. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,607

    anthony myrick

    Spray it yourself.
    If ya go lacquer, that’s super easy to spray.
    It’s available but not at your regular paint store.
    Straight enamel will give ya the “not to shiny” look.
    Any decent auto paint store can hook ya up.
    I took red oxide rustoleum and had it matched in enamel.
    I also like industrial paints. They can be bought in oil, enamel and urethane.
    I like enamel and urethane better than oil due to oil not being the best product to dig back into if needed.
  18. PPG Industrial Single Stage Urethane used here. Painted in my folks garage. Last big paint job I did. This was minutes after the last coat flashed. Only required a tiny amount of rubbing. Dad and I picked a light blue that would have been available in the 59-62 era. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Just Gary and anthony myrick like this.
  19. Damn, looking at those shots I can't wait to paint again!
    -Brent- likes this.
  20. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,607

    anthony myrick

    I have used their industrial stuff.
    Really like it.
  21. This was Urotec, I think they changed the name of the line?
    anthony myrick likes this.
  22. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,607

    anthony myrick

    Haven’t used that.
    I have used the Essentials and Performance Coatings.
    We sprayed a test panel with their Alk enamel.
    Cut and buffed it.
    Looked good.
  23. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,632


    Sign me up for acrylic enamel as well. I'm a fan of Limco, their enamel was a great price and gave a nice look, although I haven't bought any in quite a while.
  24. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,939

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    I painted these all in TCP Global acrylic enamel, except the '39 Coupe, it's old lacquer.
    32SEDAN, Aaron D., Elcohaulic and 2 others like this.
  25. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,607

    anthony myrick

    Another trick is 3000-5000 grit sand paper.
    Modern clears have an old enamel look sanded with these and not buffed.
    Tman likes this.
  26. Nice tip!
  27. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,607

    anthony myrick

    Add a little spray detailer
    Looks good in my worthless opinion.
    Tman likes this.
  28. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,115

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Painted my old hot rod 3 times between 1959 an 2007. Painted in back yard each time,rust-oleum gloss black,add a little( 1/2 rec.) enamel hardener SW. Let dry for a month,then buffed. I keep doing it the same way,it was good enough. My buffing has got better though !. Yes ,I've done other cars with higher $ paint. My old Bobtailed "A" ,I try to keep close to how I first built it though,that makes me happy. Even more so,if a young lady ask to get in.

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