There are many important steps in the painting process, but every painter will tell you that the most important of all is starting with a solid, clean base. Your final paintjob will only be as good as what's underneath it.
Sometimes the start of a good base paintjob can begin with just a good dual-action sander to remove the paint, followed up by some hand-sanding to get the tight spots, however if you're hoping to go past just the exterior panels and also want to get the interior down to bare metal or get the chassis free of old paint and undercoating you've really got your work cut out for you.
That goes doubly so if your project has several coats of paint, old repairs, or rust, and trust us, you don't know about all of them. If you truly want a clean slate to start from on your paint and body project, forget steam cleaning followed by days or weeks of sanding, scraping, and grinding, it's time to call in the pros and get blasted!
To be honest, we should have done this before we started the first modifications on our Max Effort 1967 Cougar project car. Clean steel is so much easier to work with, but we had been overeager to make it look like a more complete project through the build to help you see our vision for it.
We recommend you don't follow our example on that; make your life easy and get your project blasted before you tear into it. We're finally ready for paint and body on Project Max Effort, so we've stripped it down and placed it in the hands of Kevin Garcia and his crew at Pacific Coast Powder Coating (PCPC). They service some of Southern California's premier hot rod shops and private builders, and make life oh-so-easy with their door-to-door pickup and delivery service.
There's just nothing like working with clean, fresh steel when you're building a project. No paint, filler, grime, oil, or any other gooey contaminants; you get to pretend it's brand new. We'll always regret not doing this to Max from the start. We're not even exaggerating when we say that getting your car blasted could be one of the best and most satisfying expenditures you lay out for your project car.