Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
November 14, 2006
Photos By: The 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Staff
Believe us when we say our photos don't do this paint job justice. You'll have to head out to the NMRA World Finals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to see it for yourself. The flames fade from a light gold to red, and horizontally the car fades from white to yellow to orange. The base Lemon Yellow is retina-searing bright.

It seems everyone wants to know how to get their cars in the magazine. The only question that comes close to "How do I get my car in the magazine?" is "Can I have a license plate?" Our standard line is, the car has to be really pretty, really fast, or-preferably-both. It's that simple. Unless you built the entire car for 10 bucks, rebuilt the engine in your kitchen, or found a way to run it on light beer, it better look good, or have impressive performance for its given level of modifications.

We certainly hope our little Project Real Street will end up with a bit of both, but just to make sure we were setting a good example in at least one category, we wanted our former four-banger to look the part. We started out with a rat-trap coupe we bought from Rob Kinnan before he left Florida and 5.0&SF for California and the NMRA. Rob paid $500, so we thought $400 was a fairly good deal for a running car. The only problem with it was a blown tranny, but we didn't need the drivetrain anyway.

What we did need was a solid, cheap basis for a race car, and that's what we got. Of course, the yellowed headlights, busted taillights, rotted weatherstripping, faded paint, and dinged body panels didn't exactly scream magazine quality. In addition to showing the kind of flash needed to attract jaded magazine types, we also wanted to show a good way for racers to attract attention for their sponsors-which is important. And, a good paint job is a great way to start.

Here's the raw material Rob Kinnan left us with before heading back to sunny Southern California. The car ran, but it was in rough shape. It looks so different now, Rob probably doesn't believe it's the same car.

Of course, we tend to do things a little over the top, so we wanted to go beyond the cool-but-safe monochrome scheme. Flames are cool, and I like yellow, so I came up with the basic idea for the flamed front and yellow rear on the car-sort of a reverse of Don Walsh Jr.'s trick Pro 5.0 paint. From there, we thought what better company to help us with a wild paint scheme than House of Kolor. Though known for show car, street rod, motorcycle, and other flashy paint jobs, the House of Kolor representative we initially spoke with indicated the company's paints were capable of covering more than just show queens, and the company would be game to help with Project Real Street.

Apparently because of its reputation for high quality, House of Kolor is unfairly considered an expensive paint. Our local rep, Ernie Banfalvy, explained the company's product is not that much more than competitive paint-it's simply most often used on custom jobs such as our flamed and faded Real Street car. For example, the paint supplies for our car cost in the $800 range, but by the time you do wild paint such as ours, you're looking at a $6,000-plus job thanks to all the labor. However, you could do something cool such as a monochrome job in the Lemon Yellow (the brightest yellow we've seen) basecoat we used, still look cool, and not spend nearly as much.

Before hauling the car off to Auto Specialty for its rebirth, we added a 4-inch cowl-induction hood from Cervini's Auto Designs. The extra-tall hood gives the car that racy look, yet remains under the 5-inch legal limit for Real Street hoods. Cervini's gear isn't the lightest stuff around, but the fit and finish are excellent.

From there, we had an illustration created so the painter would have a better idea of what we wanted. Of course, having a skilled painter working on a custom job such as ours was key. One of the guys in our sales department turned us on to Abdullah Baker and Auto Specialty Custom Paint & Body in Longwood, Florida. There, Kevin Busby and Patrick Daharm of Bermuda's KP Custom Design do high-end work for many of the athletes and entertainers who run their SUVs and sports cars through Auto Specialty and its sister car stereo shop, Audio Excellence. With the illustration in hand, Kevin and Ernie came up with a wild combination of paints to make our car stand out-and keep the paint in great shape for years to come. Then we replaced our worn-out exterior gear, and beast became beauty.

Horse Sense: As you can imagine, the Real Street class features a strict rule set. The body section of the rules begins as follows: "Must retain original appearance and body profile. Exact original OEM body shell type and dimensions required. This is a zero-tolerance area. Chopping, channeling, sectioning, or any other alterations to contour, lengthen, shorten, widen, stretch, or modify any area strictly prohibited. Only allowed lightweight body panel permitted is a hood..."

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