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Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: When did a single can of spray paint transform your car (good examples only)

It's pretty easy to lift up the look of 1980s cars with some black paint, as so many cars from this era eschewed chrome trim for European style flat black. I am wondering if anyone else could do the same with other eras of classic cars.

 

My 1985 LTD Brougham (with a 5.0 HO swap, so it's kinda quick) came to me with a pretty sorry looking set of silver toned headlamp bezels and front grille, and since I had to go in there to rip out those awful eBay Chineseium headlights (that were wired incorrectly!) I went a step further...

 

...with a can of $3-4 semi-gloss paint from Home Depot. 

 

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59 REPLIES 59
Rob1
Instructor

No question a definite improvement I use to be more chrome the better guy and not very flexible until years back in my motorcycle days the kid next door grew up and bought a Night Train i stood there looking at it and ended up luving the look,small changes as you are messing with Sajeev just end up making huge differences its just tough to be selective and some things once changed can not be reversed easily great job.Cheers R

Sajeev
Community Manager

Well said, Rob! Luckily the changes I did are mostly reversible by switching back to silver paint (there are horizontal chrome bars in the grille that I scuffed with sandpaper so the paint would stick) but overall I am blown away with the change in the car's look for only the cost of a can of spray paint. 

JimR
Instructor

I like it too. Can’t say the car is exactly “mean looking” from the change. But a definite understated “edgy side” with the new grille, wheels, and knowing about the out-of-sight 5.0 HO.  👍

Sajeev
Community Manager

Yeah but don't worry as I had no intentions of making this meaner looking. Just a better looking sleeper. 

JimR
Instructor

Perfect!

Off-topic apologies, but wondering how a Cobra IRS would fit under the back. 🤔

Sajeev
Community Manager

Good question, I bet it fits even better in the LTD than it does the Mustang, as these are a coupla inches wider so you have more options for wheels. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I say go for it. Let me live vicariously through your LTD.

Guitar74
Gearhead

A single can of black spray paint made the tail light bezels on my Cougar go from being a nice used ebay set to like new. So $42 for the bezels and $5 for the rattle can. 

 

I like the new look of the grill. Is your a 5.0 a roller engine or the earlier one with the flat tappet cam?

Sajeev
Community Manager


I like the new look of the grill. Is your a 5.0 a roller engine or the earlier one with the flat tappet cam?


Not entirely sure (since I didn't do the work) but odds are it's a roller motor from an 87-95 Mustang. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I was gonna say, if it is, then an E cam would wake it up nicely without any real decrease in street manners. I have had very good results with that particular cam and auto trans applications. I love sleepers though. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

To be honest, I've never been a big fan of the Ford Motorsport letter cams. The 5.0 Mustang magazines at the time always found better aftermarket cams, even found one that idled better than an "E" but made more power. I'd buy a used one for a dirt cheap price, but its gotta be dirt cheap.

 

Wish I could remember that specific "E-cam vs. others" issue right now!!! I think I saw it in Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords, that was my fav magazine of the genre. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I know the issue. I just have had great luck with them. And yes, a LOT of manufacturers make more power. But....I have yet to have a cam failure from the Fomoco catalog. I can't say that for a few other makers that I will not name. (although to be fair they were flat tappet cams that failed during break in).

hyperv6
Gearhead

Can’t say it ever did on the exterior. But in the engine compartment I have used them well. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Oh yes, that's a way more relevant place for a can of spray paint! 

Rob1
Instructor

Iam with Guitar74 on the sleepers I have been caught in the past off guard by cars and trucks I dismissed as a slug,one was a 1970 F 100 Ford with plenty of patina and dog dish hubcaps only indicator was dual exhaust and widened factory steel wheels come to find out a well massaged 428 under the hood and highly detailed engine compartment with the driveline to back it up.Cheers R 

richard2
Intermediate Driver

My MGB was originally a pastel yellowish color. It had been repainted red, then body rust, etc... I had the body restored and repainted a turquoise green. But the engine compartment was still that yellow. Fast forward 20 some years when I was applying for classic car status. The requirements are 'all original, pristine look'. They had no problem with the new paint, but the dirty yellow engine bay was a no-go. One can of engine clean and a power wash, followed (when dry) by a can of flat-black high heat paint and the engine compartment looked great. Passed the classic requirements with no issues.

Tsaxman
Detailer

While in college in 1975, I used a rattle can (probably two) to paint the wheels on my 1971 Vega (Please don't condemn me for trading my '67 327 Camaro RS, there was a gas crisis going on). The black wheels, with the trim rings and disk hubcaps, then looked like baby moons. As unlikely as it seems, I heard actual compliments about the custom look.

DublD
Intermediate Driver

I used a matt black rattle can to spray the trim between front and rear doors on my '96 Explorer. I bought the can at an auto supply store, it was meant for that sort of thing. After a quick buff and spray, it looked like new. The old black was fading to a pinkish/gray colour and the rest of the Explorer still looked good.

bblhed
Advanced Driver

There are a million bits and bobs on a car that I have hit with a rattle can at one time or another. Bolt heads, screw heads, speaker grills, a bunch of engine parts, whole engines, a myriad of interior parts, brackets, wiper arms, calipers that I just couldn't get as clean as I wanted, the battery hold down, some hose clamps, ash trays, the list could go on for days. Who among us never spray painted a set of brake drums with some high heat paint? If it is small and needs some refreshing a rattle can might be your best friend. No, I have never painted a body panel with a rattle can of anything but primer.

Guitar74
Gearhead

I recently used a satin black on the tired grey grill of my '95 F150 as well as the headlight bezels. Really freshened up the front end with very little effort.

NITRO450EXP
Instructor

My transformation.

 

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Sajeev
Community Manager

Well done @NITRO450EXP!  Love the before and after pics

RetroRock
Intermediate Driver

Had a 1971 Ford Torino 500 Coupe in a metallic medium copper brown.  Put a GT hood on it and got to work with a can of satin black.  The hood scoop, lower rockers (with a stripe above) and rear panel between the tail lights got the shaded treatment and it really set it off.

On a college budget you couldn’t beat it!

Trashboat
Pit Crew

Love your LTD! Always wanted one! 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Get them while you can! I am shocked at how popular they are getting and how their prices are rising! 

TonyT
Instructor

In my younger military days, I popped the trim rings and center caps off of my '68 Corvette's rally wheels, scuffed the light silver finish and rattle-canned them gold. When I replaced the caps and rings, the car was transformed! At least to me. Of course, everybody knew my car, so I couldn't claim it wasn't me that did the smoky burnout behind the PX...

DanC
Pit Crew

Flat black plastidip on the grille of my '99 Tahoe hid 20 years of stone chips in the plastichrome, two years later it still looks like new, and looks like it belongs there.

Pat413
New Driver

Painted the rims this past fall. I just didn't like the black wheels and was looking for more of a 50's look. Doing the grill this spring. ~Pat20190914_140819.jpgF100_TJ.jpg

Sajeev
Community Manager

Crown Vic wheels look great in a period 1950s color!  Nice job! 

NITRO450EXP
Instructor

Another one.

 

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Nitro

JohnnyD
Intermediate Driver

I purchased a 1999 Chevy cavalier on eBay in 2012 with only 4800 miles on odometer from the estate of an elderly Florida lady who kept it in garage. Twas a "Time capsule" except the base model gray plastic bumpers covers that had a pasty aging plastic appearance. I purchased and carefully applied on coat of that application-specific matching vinyl paint. Holy cow! Brand new car! Ran like a top and friends marveled at what a can of paint could do!

Donpinkal
New Driver

#6 for hagerty 1-25-21.jpg

How about one quart of Rustoleum saftey yellow and a brush and roller. Worked on my VW street machine!

Don

 

 

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's a great story! Musta been a new car after that, inside and out! 

Jost
Intermediate Driver

I like it. Definitely a cleaner, more modern look without changing the appearance.  It is subtle. If you didn't know the ltd you would think it was stock . I like the wheels also.

MoparMan
Advanced Driver

Good Job! Looks superb! And I like the wheels, too! Does this car have the rare 5 speed transmission?? I just saw one for sale on one of the many sites that I frequent. Can't remember right off which one it was though?! It's a terrible thing when your minds goes bad, LOL!! 🙂

 

Sajeev
Community Manager

There are too many places to sell a car these days!  No I don't mean that, as it's great to have all these resources.

This is still an automatic, hasn't been converted to a stick. There were no factory sticks on these, just factory floorshift automatics. 

MoparMan
Advanced Driver

Found it! All eight were firing today! Here is the link to the five speed car I referenced:

https://barnfinds.com/five-speed-5-0-1985-ford-ltd-lx/

Sajeev
Community Manager

Oh yes! I have seen that one on a Facebook group for these cars.  It's done pretty well, even easier because the LX has the factory floor shifter. 

TG
Instructor

I had a white 87 Buick century that I got for $300. Great car, it had just seen better days body wise. The headliner came down, and i couldn't see paying nearly the purchase price of the car to replace it, so i got some grey spray paint (interior was grey) and sprayed the foam fuzz left behind from the headliner grey. unless you looked directly up (which no-one ever does) it was indistinguishable from a normal headliner

Sajeev
Community Manager

That is actually what I am thinking about doing on this car!!!  It has the wrong color headliner, and I have ZERO motivation to rip everything out to get a new one put in. 

MaverickNutron
Intermediate Driver

Nice subtle change that makes one 'pause' and take a closer look when encountering this ride "in the wild"...are those LSC wheels I'm seeing? 

Sajeev
Community Manager

You have a good eye!  The wheels from a parts LSC I had many years ago. 

FlatheadsFoe
Intermediate Driver

No question! Really a nice period correct improvement! Nice touch on the wheels too! Also, nice choice on the car. There are plenty of Pony and Muscle Cars in the hobby. It is always nice to see something else get some love too!

Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you both @FlatheadsFoe and @OLDERbastard1 

OLDERbastard1
Detailer

Excellent job Sajeev! Amazing what a little paint & some ingenuity can do!

NITRO450EXP
Instructor

Sajeev

Great Job really makes the front pop, and changes the look completely.

Like the wheels too.

Nitro

67CougGuy
Pit Crew

Hi Sajeev, 

You did a fabulous job on the front of your sleeper '85 LTD. 

 

I've had great experiences over the years 'restoring' different areas of my classic Cougars, by means of a spray-bomb (or three) of paint. On my first-ever attempt (when I was 'just a kid') I was motivated to 'eliminate' a 4"-long by 3"-high ragged hole in the rocker panel of my first-ever '67 Cougar XR-7 -- forward of the right-side rear wheel opening.

I started by wire brushing the rotted area of the rocker panel to eliminate the loose-bits. I followed this operation by "flooding" the roughened sheet metal with a 'Rust Stop'-type topical metal treatment. As instructed by the Rust Stop can's label, I had waited to witness the sprayed sheet metal go thru a color transformation from 'purple' to 'decidedly-black'. 

I followed-up by overfilling the treated hole with part of a spray-bomb of expanding-foam. I recall that I had really-liked the idea of the foam creating an "Impenetrable Seal", **when applied according to the instructions on the can**. Once the resulting 'foam blob' had fully-set after 24-hours, I 'sculpted' it to match the flanking lines of the rocker panel. 

I completed my right-side rocker panel 're-do' with a splash of matching navy-blue paint, then clear coat, a-la-can-de-bomb. 

 

I regret not having access to the BEFORE and AFTER photos I recorded on the day.....

[It was long enough ago, that I probably employed a "Kodak Instamatic" camera..... with a "Flash Cube".....  Alas, it was that long ago... ] 

 

When all is said and done, As Long As You Didn't Look Too Close(!!), my '67 Coug's right-side rocker panel had been transformed. The jagged, gaping 'orange hole' had become a continuous-appearing sheet metal body line. I held onto the car for years afterward. The 'orange' never reappeared at the site of my 're-do'. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you for your kind words! I have seen those rust stop treatments in action, they are pretty cool. I like the addition of spray foam behind it: that's a very cost effective way to fill a body!  You've clearly accomplished a lot since you were a kid, but I gotta say, you were a pretty sharp kid to start with!  I never woulda known about that stuff when I was a kid! 

wentwest
Intermediate Driver

Thanks for this boost to the rest of us.  For years I've been doing what I call "5 foot" restorations of old Honda and Yamaha scooters and Honda bikes.  They run well, anyone can use them and they look good from 5 feet away.  Rustoleum 2X spray paint has been very good at getting the job done once you finally learn how to use it.  The textured spray really works well on things like rocker panels that are just never going to be smooth again.