Sealer & Base Color
To keep thing simple for ordering, and for any potential damage repair due to track use, we went with standard OEM colors in ChemSpec's Metalux line of paint. ChemSpec is not widely known in the hot rodding and customizing world, but they are huge in the collision and refinishing world. Adkins loves the quality and spraying capability of the Metalux line of primers and paints, but is especially fond of how consistent their OEM colors are. He knows he can order with just a paint code and get a can of paint that will dry to a perfect match.
Before spraying any paint, the surface needs to be as clean as possible. Adkins begins by washing everything with either a solvent wash like Eastwood's Pre Painting Prep to remove any contamination like fingerprints with skin oils or dust particles trapped in the sand scratches. To dry, he only uses clean virgin paper shop towels; never reuse a shop rag for this; you will deposit contaminants from the dirty rag back onto the surface.
Before the base color can be sprayed, Metalux sealer primer is applied in one medium coat and allowed to flash for a half hour. Adkins inspected the finish and removed any dust nibs or texture by lightly scuffing with a Norton Soft Touch Sanding Sponge Pad (No. 03076) in 600-grit. The small amount of dust is removed via air blasting and a tack rag. The Arctic White Metalux Base Coat mixes at a 2:1 ratio with the same ChemSpec 1155-222 reducer used for the primer. Three medium coats are applied, allowing 15 minutes flash time between coats.
Stripe Layout & Clear Coat
Our redesigned paint scheme for Max looked much more aggressive and vintage Trans-Am, but it also complicated the painting process greatly with multiple stripes of different color. It takes not only multiple rounds of careful masking, but a mastery of perspective to ensure that the stripes look correct on the car. Fortunately graphics are something Adkins excels in creating. After the third coat, Adkins let the base cure for about an hour before laying out Max's stripes. (There is a lot to consider in getting the right look, so watch for a full tech article on designing and laying vintage-style racing stripes in an upcoming issue of PHR.)
Once satisfied with the striping, everything was cleared with Metalux 9354 clearcoat activated at 2:1 with 9352 2K hardener and 10 to 20 percent 1155-22 reducer. This clear is not like a traditional clear in application; it only requires a coat and a half for a 3 mil film. Adkins recommends starting with a moderate tack coat, not really worrying about getting a flow at this point, just even coverage. Then after allowing a 10-minute flash time, he follows with one good wet flow coat. The Metalux clear flows extremely well, lays flat, and has enough film build to almost level the stripes even before wet sanding and buffing. Adkins advises to resist the urge to lay this clear on extra thick, or add extra coats, as it will likely cause issues such as solvent pop or die back. This is solvent-based paint, so make sure to allow for good exhaust airflow for at least 20 to 30 minutes after spraying to evacuate and dissipate solvents.