How To Prep A Classic Car For A Paint job

Undoubtedly the paint job is likely to be one of the biggest tasks that will need to be completed during a classic car restoration. Go to any classic car show and you will see cars that are many decades old with unbelievably beautiful paint finishes. More often than not, these finishes are as a result of serious restoration work. While you may find rare cars that have been garaged all of their life, many classic cars were once a daily driver; this means that they had to put up with years of rain, grit and stone chips that are the nemesis of any beautiful paint finish. Thankfully, here at Restoria Classics, we have a range of classic car restoration services that can bring your classic car back to showroom condition.

Due to the complex nature of respraying, preparation work can take significant man-hours. If you are looking to cut down on these man-hours (and save yourself some money), you could work on prepping the body of your classic car in advance. Though, if you are unsure, why not get in touch and let us give you an estimate on completing the whole job?

Preparation Is Key

There’s no getting around it: preparation is the key to a good finish. In the following sections, we will give you some advice on how to get your car in perfect condition to receive a paint job that makes the car look as good as the day it was first sold.

Bodywork Repair

The initial stage of a preparation job will be repairing body panels. Depending on how lucky (or unlucky) you have been, this could either be a small job or a huge one. Due to the nature of some repairs (such as filling holes, rust removal and pulling dents), it is ideal to ensure that all of your panels are in perfect condition before sanding the body down.

As well as repairing the panels, you will also need to remove brightwork such as bumpers and trims at this stage in order to ensure that the whole chassis is painted. This will also keep your shiny bits safe from potential harm.


The next stage in the process is sanding. Sanding a car ensures that the primer has a good “key” (a very slight roughness that the paint can stick to) and ensures a flat, level surface so that there are no imperfections. This stage is by far the most time consuming, as any flaws will become noticeable once the car has been primed ready for paint. The tried and tested method is to use 1,200 grit sandpaper to remove the clear-coat (top coat) and the paint layer. Certain modern paints are incompatible with older primers/paints, so you may need to go back to the bare metal. Depending on the current quality of your finish, you may get away with only fixing certain areas or panels; if this is the case, you will use 2,000-2,500 grit wet & dry sandpaper to remove scratches and surface damage. If you are unsure about sanding, get in touch and speak to us about lending a hand.


The final stage of the bodywork preparation is priming. Priming gives the paint a uniform surface to adhere to and also forms a protective layer underneath the paint. If the bodywork has been repaired properly, you will be able to admire your handiwork! Priming will also show if there is still work to do, and gives you an opportunity to repair it before sending the car off for paint. Once you are happy with your work, give us a call and let us do the rest.

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