The Primer Coat
Primer clears the canvas after all the bodywork is done. It acts as a sealant between the repairs, and the paint that will soon coat the car. We used Summit's Acrylic Urethane 2K primer which mixes 4:1 with one of their universal activators. To comply with California's laws, we used their zero-VOC activator. The first application of primer is also the final check for high and low spots. Before primer hits the car, the entire surface needs to be sanded to a 160-grit finish. To rough-out the filler, we used 80-grit paper before the 160-grit final sanding. We used Summit's Wax and Grease remover and Surface Wash before paint touched the car. If there is grease on the surface, it will keep the paint from adhering and possibly cause distortions in the paint. Because we don't all have access to top-of-the-line paint booths, chances are there will be dirt in the air that will settle on the car. To help keep this under control, we wipe the car down with a tack rag before every application material. This is a cheese cloth fabric laced with an adhesive material that picks up dirt particles on the car's surface.

Color Coat
Though the rendering for project Street Fighter flaunts a simple black and orange color combination, the palate of Summit's paint line gave us inspiration to mix it up a bit. We chose their Bright Orange Metallic to replace the standard orange color, and a Medium Charcoal Metallic in place of the black. The brilliance of these colors proved to give huge impact that the original non-metallic color couldn't touch. Summit has expanded their acrylic urethane line of paints to 40 colors, with plans to add more in the future. These are single-stage paints, meaning the clear is part of the basecoat, making the base color coat responsible for color and shine. For the at-home do-it-yourself guy, this is a great time-saver, and simplifies the process so your garage isn't tied up for weeks on end. Nevertheless, if you so choose (either before or during painting), you can lay clear over this paint, the same as you would a basecoat in a two-stage system.

The vertical panels that were sprayed orange came out flawless and free of debris, so we didn't need to add clear. The metallic gray, however, needed the clearcoat, because it's on the top, and some dirt found its way into the paint. While it was still masked, we added clearcoat so we would be able to sand it later. It should be noted that with metallic colors, you can't sand the basecoat. (If we had stayed with the original gloss black of our rendering, this would not have been a problem, but hindsight is always 20/20.) Sanding on a single-stage metallic will make the metallic blotchy, and there is no way to repair this. If you end up with a heavy amount of dirt or orange peel, you can bury it in clear, then do your sanding on the clear. This makes the paint much more forgiving.

Cut and Buff
If you've done all the right preparation before laying down your base color coat and clearcoat, the cut and buff procedure can be one of the most satisfying experiences of doing your own body and paint. Laying the groundwork for a flat surface is not easy, but if you take that time, it will reward you with a mirror-like finish at the cut and buff stage. If you are in a rush to the finish line and take shortcuts, the cut and buff stage will be more of a nightmare than anything else.

It is important in the metalworking and build primer stages that large, uninterrupted sections of bodywork are leveled properly with sanding blocks and long boards where appropriate. If these areas have been worked evenly, and special attention to the guidecoat has been given, then it will all show up in the cut and buff stages.