Raptor. It might sound a bit like an impossibly awesome Jurassic Park spinoff (“clever girls…”), but it’s actually the name of a UK-based automotive protection system, one we’ve been using on every one of our ground-up builds since 2011 – just 3 years on from our official opening. We’ve worked hard to devise a means of applying Raptor that’s both easy and effective, and we feel that there’s little to top it in terms of rust protection, particularly when twinned with a hot zinc spraying process.

Careful masking – one of those all too often overlooked (yet incredibly important) paint prep tasks

Originally developed as a protective lining for the flat-beds of pickup trucks, Raptor dries to form an incredibly hard-wearing protective coating, one that’s impressively resilient to stone chips and any other debris kicked up and thrown at the underside of a car.

Re-purposing Raptor wasn’t completely without issue. We had to experiment with various viscosities, painting techniques and designs of gun before we had it down to a fine art, meaning we can now apply it via a gravity-fed gun and in a manner that’s almost totally smooth. It’s a far cry from the coarse, grip-like texture it’s intended to have when applied to pickup truck beds.

The Escort as it entered the spray booth – masked and ready to go

There’s another upside to using Raptor in this manner, and that’s the fact it can be tinted with conventional 2K paint. This might sound like a relatively minor point but it’s actually very significant; it means that it can be tinted to match the exact same paint as used in other areas of the exterior bodywork.

The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating, which is why we were keen to try our Raptor application process in some of the harshest conditions a car is ever likely to find itself in. This was how we came to apply it to the underside of the Subaru Impreza rally car of Revolution Wheels, a car that spends a large portion of its life being unceremoniously thrown up gravel special stages, taking innumerable stone chips and gravel rashes in the progress! The results have been very impressive and the car (and the Raptor) has withstood everything that’s been hurled its way.

The Escort emerges from the booth sporting a fresh coat of Raptor

We thought it only right that we apply said coating to our most high profile project to date, the Ford Escort Mk1 we’re currently building for Gordon Murray. There are any number of reasons for using it on such a significant build, not least the stature of the eventual owner. We were also very aware that Gordon plans on using the car properly, in all weathers, seasons and conditions, meaning it’s destined to be about as far from a ‘trailer queen’ as you can get.

Gordon’s intention of using the Escort on a semi-regular, near daily basis meant that Raptor made a great deal of sense. We actually applied it very soon after the aforementioned zinc spraying stage, the Raptor thinned by 10% and applied via a 2.5mm primer gun. Raptor has since been sprayed on all non-visible interior surfaces, namely the roof, floor pans, parcel shelf, inner wings and bulkhead, not to mention the underside of the car in its entirety.

Last but by no means least, we’ve had a selection of Raptor treated samples sent off to be salt spray tested and hope to have the industry standard results back within the next few months.

The entire underside of the Mk1 has been coated in body tinted Raptor

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