Owing to the nice and straight body panels before the primer was applied, the block sanding process was completed in a single hit, without having to apply a second coat of the PCL Poly Primer. Once the block sanding was completed with 180-grit paper, the car was resanded with finer paper to sand out the relatively coarse sanding scratches for a very smooth surface texture. Primer at 180-grit will show very visible sanding scratches in the final finish. After completing the initial sanding stage, Sean applied Eastwood’s aerosol guidecoat to the primer and resanded the primer with 360-grit, then 400-grit sandpaper. The net result of all this sanding was a primer surface that was very level and smooth. After all of that sanding the car was ready to paint.

The Finish Line

As with the initial primer, the car was handed over to a professional paint shop for the actual spray painting. Max Gilmore at South County Auto Body and Paint in Lake Forest, California, agreed to handle the gun work, using BASF LIMCO Supreme basecoat and Matrix Systems AG 40LV Clear. When the Pontiac arrived at South County, Gilmore was impressed with the quality of the prep work. In fact, he pointed out that the body was looking much too nice to simply mask and hit the car with an exterior paintjob. With a little more disassembly, the quality of the result could be taken to the next level, finishing all the interior surfaces and jambs for a detailed and restored look. To that end, Sean, with the help of his dad, removed the bolt-on panels including the doors, trunk lid, and hood. While the crew at South County shot the undersides of these panels and jambs, Sean worked the engine bay, detailing it with Eastwood Chassis black for a clean underhood look. Once these areas were refinished, the panels were hung back in place to proceed with the final paintwork, with the exception of the valance panels, spoiler, and nosepiece, which were finished separately and off the car.

With the inner surfaces painted to a high standard, the masking for the overall refinishing becomes much more intensive, closing all of the gaps to avoid overspray on these freshly painted areas. The actual paintjob was a multistepped process once in the booth, starting with a thorough cleaning of the panels with wax and grease remover, and then tack cloths and filtered air to remove any possible contaminants. The first material sprayed was PPG DP48LF, a white epoxy primer sealer, which provides a uniform base for the color coats. This sealer goes on very smoothly, actually enhancing the surface, and reduces the potential for solvent swelling of the sanding scratches in the color coats. The key when spraying primer sealer is a velvet-smooth application.

Once the sealer coat flashed off and dried to touch, the car was again dusted down with tack rags to remove any wayward debris in preparation for the next step, the basecoat. The basecoat is the color, and it too must be applied with skill for a smooth result with minimal texture, while giving uniform coverage over the entire car body. Three medium coats of base were applied, with only a short flash time in between. This time the base was allowed to set up, and then it was tacked clean in preparation for the final step, the mid coat clear (PPG JC780 Polyurethane Speed Clear). This mid (or inter) coat is necessary to protect and seal the basecoat, allowing the car to be taped for the graphics without the potential for marring the base color coat. When the mid coat cured, it was sanded with 1,000-grit paper to scuff and smooth the surface for the application of the graphics.