Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 11, 2012

Vintage Mustangs might be "old" but they still have their fair share of plastic components in the interior, from consoles, kick panels, and small trim parts to the huge quarter trim and fastback trim parts found in the rear of the interior. Okay, some of these panels were fiberglass in their original form, but they can still be a pain in the spray can when trying to refinish them. Of course, reproductions are made in newer plastics and can be difficult to get proper paint coverage and adhesion too.

While you can order many trim parts today in molded colors, rarer colors aren't reproduced, leaving you with the option of buying a neutral color and then refinishing it to match your interior. Some reproduced parts are available only in black. Lastly, we've seen some trick custom interiors that used stock or restomod parts (speaker kick panels, for example) that had to be refinished in the custom interior color to match.

No matter your reason or need, properly prepping plastic trim parts for refinishing is essential to having a nice, even color and a surface that lasts and doesn't flake, peel, or easily rub off.

National Parts Depot can help you achieve paint perfection with not only their full line of interior paint colors, but they have now added a line of professional level plastic and vinyl prep and cleaning products to their catalog. These prep and cleaning items will help you prepare your plastic and vinyl items to accept the finish color of your choice. The trick, if there really is any, is proper use of these products and following their instructions to the letter.

We had a reproduction '67 Mustang console, which comes assembled and only in black plastic, in need of a correct interior color spray. With a call to NPD to order their plastic prep materials and a can of '66-'67 red interior paint, we were ready to make our new console match the rest of our '67's interior.

With materials under one arm and our console under the other, we dropped everything off at Classic Creations of Central Florida, where Merv Rego adeptly handled our console upgrade. Classic Creations of Central Florida specializes in classic Mustang console restorations and repairs, so we knew we were in good hands.

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What Type of Plastic?

There are several types of plastic used in Mustang interiors, both in original and reproduction parts. It's imperative you know which type of plastic you are working with so you can use the proper products to clean, prep, and paint the plastic parts. So how do you know what type of plastic you're working with? You can perform a simple test with acetone, as found in nail polish remover. Place a little of the acetone onto a hidden/inconspicuous section of the plastic you are working with (just a drop or two) and use your finger to rub the acetone into the plastic surface. If the plastic melts/smears with your finger, it is ABS or PVC plastic (like the plastic model kits you used to build as a kid). If the plastic is not affected by the acetone, then the plastic in question is a thermoplastic, such as TPO or EPDM. Now you'll know which prep products to use with the plastic you're refinishing.

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