Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
October 29, 2012

Form-Fitting

If you don't have the right tool for the job, make one. Here, Gillis used a Tupperware canister to form the shape for this gas filler opening. When it comes to using objects for sanding, the key is to make sure that you cover as much surface area on the back of the paper as possible to even out the pressure.

Make A List, Check It Twice

Make a list of all the steps for each piece of sheetmetal for your car. Once you complete a step, cross it off. That way, if you stop working on it for a while you can remember what you did last. It can be overwhelming if you try to work on the whole car at one time, so it's easier to work on one thing at a time than cross it off your list.

Just as we were putting this story together, Rusty Gillis was completing the paintjob on his '67 Mustang coupe. You may have seen it on the cover of the June issue of MM&F. Since everyone who has painted a car has his/her own process, we decided to show you the steps that Rusty Gillis of Gillis Performance Restorations took to paint his own personal car. Granted he has no intentions of it being a six-figure Ridler winner, it will serve as a model for his shop's body and paint prowess.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Like A Glove

When you are finished with the bodywork, wipe it down with 700 wax and grease remover, wait 30 minutes or more, then use a tack cloth and wipe it down. Remember to use gloves so you don't contaminate your clean surface. Whenever you are using wax and grease remover, use two clean cloths--one to spread and the other to wipe it off. You may have to do this a couple of times to get the panel clean.

Extra, Extra

Order two gallons of paint so that you have some left over in case a problem requiring a repaint comes up. Future accidents or even issues with the paint or clear might require a respray. Also, get yourself four clean, empty quart-sized cans, open one gallon of the base and mix thoroughly. Then empty the gallon into the quart cans. This is very important for metallic and pearls, especially if you are painting many of the panels off of the car. It certainly doesn't hurt to do this with solid colors as well. Use the other gallon for the first two basecoats, then use the paint from the quart cans for the final coat. Be sure to mix the paint the same every time, and have your spray gun and air pressure set the same.

Order two gallons of paint so that you have some left over in case a problem requiring a repaint comes up. Future accidents or even issues with the paint or clear might require a respray.

Let It All Hang Out

If you are planning on shooting your body panels off of the vehicle, make sure you hang the fenders, doors, and more as they would hang or sit on the vehicle. This is very important to get a good color match with metallics.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Wax On, Wax Off

The time period for this will differ between paint manufacturers, but the general rule is not to wax the vehicle for at least 90 days or more. The paint needs time for the solvents to cure, and this means the paint finish must be able to breathe. If you wax right after painting, you are preventing this process from occurring, which can cause problems down the road. While we're talking about letting the paint breathe, leave the car cover on the shelf for a while, too.

No Booth, No Problem

If you don't work at a body shop, and can't borrow or rent a paint booth, just build your own. Some plastic sheeting hung from the walls and a good soaking of the floor with the garden hose will keep the dust down and the paint from giving your garage a nice new color. Companies like Summit Racing and Eastwood even sell kits for the DIY'er that accomplish this as well. Keep in mind that if you are in a high-humidity location, wetting the floor can promote solvent pop and paint blisters. Good air movement is key here.

Rusty's Plan Of Action

Just as we were putting this story together, Rusty Gillis was completing the paintjob on his '67 Mustang coupe. You may have seen it on the cover of the June issue of MM&F. Since everyone who has painted a car has his/her own process, we decided to show you the steps that Rusty Gillis of Gillis Performance Restorations took to paint his own personal car. Granted he has no intentions of it being a six-fgure Ridler winner, it will serve as a model for his shop's body and paint prowess.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery