Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
March 1, 2011

Now we're not saying all of this to scare you away from painting your own car-not in the least. No, we're just being upfront and honest about the cost, equipment, time, space, and ability needed to do it right. Many magazines are guilty of cover words like "paint your car for $299 in a weekend," but there's a big difference between a $299 paintjob and a $10,000 paintjob. If you want to tackle the paint and bodywork of your own project, you have our utmost respect, but know going in that you'll easily spend that $299 just in tools and sandpaper if you plan to do your car right. It can take weeks to fully prep a body before one drop of color is mixed to paint it. It's a lot of back-breaking, finger-bleeding work, but the results of your hard work (or that of your paint and body guy) are the first thing people see at a cruise night or show, so don't go cheap with the products. Use name-brand paints, primers, and sealers and you won't regret spending the extra money.

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We've all heard the stories about someone's project being in "paint prison" before. Often, a shop takes restoration-type paintwork in as filler between insurance panel work. While this may sound like a great solution and a way to save money, you'll most often regret it; and whatever you do, don't tell the shop to take its time! Better yet, search out a restoration facility that specializes in classic cars. It will take much less time to complete the work, it will know how to properly mask and paint a classic car, and you'll be happier in the long run. Just know that these shops do charge more than your corner spray-booth-job shop.

In the case of our '68 Mustang fastback project, we ran into some delays getting our paint figured out (choosing a color is one of the hardest decisions you'll make in your project), and when we finally had our ducks in a row and our arms full of PPG materials courtesy of Auto Body Color & Supply (the same shop that provides paint materials to RTM Productions TV shows like Trucks!, Muscle Car, and Horsepower TV), we were deep into the summer months here in Florida. Unfortunately, that meant that Classic Creations of Central Florida, our local shop responsible for all of the body modifications and prep work to date, had a full roster of customer cars being worked on, restored, and painted, and we went to the bottom of the list. While unfortunate, it does happen and no shop wants to hold up other customers for one car. So we waited, patiently, until our time came and now we're back on the project in full force. Check out the beginning of our final body prep this month, and next month we'll tackle a few final modifications we're making, and then it'll be time to spray some color!

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