Painting An Old Car/Part 5 - "Choosing The Right Colors"

        Since last month we have completed our garage project, creating 600 square feet of much-needed workspace. Our '51 Packard is now in this shop and in final stages of paint prep. I really like Ditzer's K-200 primer. It covers well and blocks out so much faster and better than the old red oxide. When choosing the colors for the '51, we ordered original paint chips with mixing formulas. These are available from many of the old car literature guys. We got ours from Lloyd's (1-800-BY-A-BOOK). After getting the paint codes from our driver's doorjamb, we matched them with the color chips. The car originally had a Sunset Red top (code L) with a Packard Ivory body (code T). The interior is Indian Maroon. We decided to change the top color to Matador Maroon (code U), a dark wine color correct to the '51. A color study helped us to determine which colors were right for us. This can be done by photographing your car and scanning the photo into your computer, then creating an outline of the car dropping all color. Then re-color using the colors you like and print. But being from the old color and design school myself, I shot a photo of the car, laid a clean piece of acetate (plastic) over it and outlined with a fine point Sharpie pen, then turned the acetate over and painted in my colors. Let this dry and flip the acetate back to the right side and VOILA! A color rendering of my car! I then posted it on the shop bulletin board and lived with it for several weeks. When it became better with age, I knew it was the right combination. This saves a lot of anguish later. I remember years ago painting a '52 Chevy Station Wagon what I thought was deep maroon, only to have it look like cranberry in the sunlight. It went back into the shop and was color-studied then repainted. I always like to buy more paint than I need so I can shelve some for later touch ups (of course, keeping the formulas on file and hope the EPA doesn't discontinue that line of paint). This time we're using PPG's Ditzler Acrylic Enamel with hardener and will power buff the finish coat. My thanks to Mike at Tower Paint (800-779-6520) for custom-mixing and Auto Color (423-265-5999) for all of our paint supplies. See you next month with more on the '51.