Preparing and then painting a car must rank among the most challenging of all automotive skills, not least as there’s nowhere to hide; any runs, nicks or other imperfections are destined to be on show for all to see forevermore. It’s enough to set the nerves of even the most seasoned of bodywork pros on edge!
The good news is that we’ve always been deeply committed to ensuring that every single one of our projects receives the time and attention it deserves in this respect. The even better news is that in Gaz and Marc, our paintwork techs, we’ve a seasoned team well versed in bringing even the most archaic of paints back to life, or as if more often the case, starting afresh.
It’s worth taking a closer look at some of our more recent projects to get a good idea of the kind of thing this pair are capable of, with the Alfa Romeo GT Junior, the Mercedes W116 S-Class and Stratos Zero all sporting shades as stunning to behold as they were tricky to apply correctly. It’s worth heading over to the projects section of our website all the same, if only because we’ve recently updated it with more compressive information on the cars themselves.
This project may for one of the motoring industry’s leading lights, but the process involved is one that is applied to every Retropower project regardless of make or model. The freshly stripped shell was initially baked and given its first media blast, before being etched primed in readiness for the extended metalwork phase. This done, the Escort was treated to its second media blast, followed immediately afterwards (within minutes) by the the zinc metal spraying step, then a coast of epoxy primer and careful application of seam sealer. Following initial block sanding the shell then received an application of spray surfacer, and the underbody treated to a coat of Raptor (an ultra-tough Urethane coating) tinted to match the eventual exterior colour.
The keen eyed amongst you might well have spotted that not all aspects of the Escort’s interior are as Henry Ford and Co envisioned, with both the bonnet and boot panels having been replaced with carbon fibre equivalents. Ensuring that the finish of these matched that of the remaining steel panels was another in-depth undertaking, largely as they were ‘off the peg’ items and required a degree of ‘finessing’ to meet our (and Gordon’s) standards.
We’ve touched upon our use of Raptor as an anti-corrosion system previously of course, but applying it to the Escort was a more convoluted process than you might first have thought, and it’s all down to the wings. These are weld-on panels (and something of a water trap from the factory) and the inner portions therefore had to be Raptor treated ahead of the rest of the exterior and in the same session as the underside.
Yet it’s still not over, not quite. At the time of writing, Gaz and Marc are flatting back the Escort shell once again, first with 120 grit, swiftly followed by 180, 320, and if required, 400 grit, after which the exterior wipl be sealed with an epoxy primer before wet sanding to 800 grit. Only them will the end (and the final coat of Ermine White) will be in sight. The icing on the cake? A comprehensive flatting and polishing session. We’ve no doubt that the finished article will be well worth the wait.