Paint Progress – Part 2: Exterior Guide Coat

Paint Progress – Part 2: Exterior Guide Coat

June 11, 2015 – Exterior Guide Coat Application

Over 50 years of use, body panels get wavy.  An elbow on the fender here, a door ding there, every flaw gets in the way of a mirror finish paint job.  The guide coat is a crucial step in the finishing process because it serves as a test to see how many high and low spots remain before applying further coats of paint.  As they say, a good paint job is all about the preparation.  And the more time the body shop spends smoothing out those minor imperfections, the better the finished product will be. That’s the main difference between a quality job and a cheap one.  I once heard that at Maaco they have something like 90 minutes to prep a car for paint, and that includes washing it and stripping the old paint.  An hour and a half to do what takes other shops days or even weeks of stripping, filling, sanding, filling, sanding, smoothing, checking, and filling some more.  That doesn’t really leave any time for a guide coat, or even a checking of the smoothing process.  Slather on the body filler and shoot it!  That’s about it.  And while I briefly considered going to one of the discount body shops, I’m very glad I didn’t.  The care and patience Bill has taken with my car has been extraordinary.

Black is one of the most unforgiving colors– it will show the most minor imperfections– so it’s only fitting that Bill chose to double-check his smoothing work by spraying the body black.  Much of the black paint will be sanded off before he puts on another coat of epoxy primer, and then he’ll start spraying the initial color coat.  This will be a modern clear-coat paint job, so hopefully the finished product will be nice and durable…unlike my Packard which has single-stage paint that chips if you sneeze.