There is something really pleasing about seeing old, oxidized paint shine again. Even if there are a few spider cracks and a little paint patina it just adds to the character of the car when the paint is freshly-buffed and shining. It is important first to determine what type of paint is on the car. lacquers and enamels would require different compounding and pads than modern base/clear coat. When our '37 Packard Super 8 (painted in its original Indian Maroon nitrocellulose lacquer) began to dull and develop some small rust blisters in a few areas of the paint, we knew it was time to act while they could still be sanded out. Even though the car is garage-kept, condensation can form on the paint and cause rust to form. The important thing is to stop it when you first see it! Eliminate it and put a good wax on the car to protect it from moisture. Restorer Jeff Coe and I looked the Packard over and set up a game plan.
Jeffs tools for the job were a variable speed buffer, microfiber towels for waxing, wet/dry sand paper in 1500, 2000 and 3000 grits, sanding block, dishwashing liquid and green automotive tape. He began by. . .
1. Washing and drying the car
2. Taping all raised and sharp edges, pinstripes and door edges to keep compound out of the door jambs.
3. Then blocking and sanding the car with wet 1500 grit. Always spray the car first with a squirt bottle of water mixed with 2-3 drops of dishwashing liquid, then wet-sand with 2000 grit, and finish with 3000 grit.
4. Now, compound by setting the buffer on low rpms and applying the compound directly to the cars finish with a 2" fine-bristle paint brush, working an area approximately 3'x 3' Jeff uses a wool pad and PPG's DRX-25 (white compound) for lacquer and enamels.
5. After compounding, wash and rinse the car.
6. Now polish with a swirl-free polish. On our nitrocellulose lacquer, he used Meguiars M-8232 polish, applying it directly on the car in a row of several dabs, then spreading it with the buffers wool pad before starting the buffer. Care must be taken not to take off too much paint during the buffing and polishing process.
7. Now, Jeff hand washed the entire car with soapy water, then rinsing getting all of the body crevices and wiping off the fender welt.
8. When the water dries, white dull spots might show up on the paint. This is normal and can be waxed out by hand, using a microfiber towel (these wont mar the paint).
9. Hand-waxing is the last step, using microfiber towels and a good wax. We used Meguiars Gold. It is important not to leave compound on the car for more than 2-3 days, especially in sunlight, because it could burn through the paint, leaving an acid raineffect.
The '37 turned out great! The rust blisters are gone and it has a deep, rich shine! We're ready for Spring touring! See you next month and keep 'em driving!