Painting Your Classic Car: What You Need To Know

If you’ve ever been involved in classic car customisations, you’ll know that every decision needs to be carefully made. When you’re restoring a classic car, you’ll often come across problems such as dented panels, rust or faded paintwork. This means you don’t necessarily have a choice about repainting your classic car.

But how do you choose which colour? And should you try to paint-match the original colour or choose something completely different?

Our classic car paint job guide will tell you everything you need to know about classic car painting.

Does painting a classic car decrease its value?

If you’re a classic car lover, you want to make sure that any restoration work you carry out honours the timeless design of your car. This leaves some car owners worried painting their car can actually decrease value.

Painting your classic car will rarely impact the value of your classic car. In fact, a good classic car paint restoration job can add to your classic car’s value. You need to be careful though, as some colours are more popular than others for classic cars.

Research will help you understand which cars will add the most value to your specific classic car model, or speak to a professional for their advice. You can get in touch with us if you’d like advice on which colour will best suit your car.

One thing that can take away from your car’s value is changing your car from its original colour. Many classic car collectors will look for cars by their original colour so choosing a new colour can make it less desirable.

Photo via Unsplash

How do you choose the right colour for your classic car?

Choosing the right colour for your classic car will depend on what you want to do with your classic car later on. Generally, it is better for the value of your car to restore the original look of your classic car than choose a more modern colour.

A classic car paint restoration will help your car look like it’s fresh out of the factory. This tends to be more popular with other classic car collectors.

Custom paint jobs allow you to put more of your own personality into your classic car. This can be a popular choice for customers who want to modernise their vehicles. If you’re interested in a modern take on a classic car, you can also consider classic car resto-mods.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong colour to paint your job but you should be aware of how it can impact the resale value. If your heart is really set on a more unusual colour, like baby pink, you can always repaint it when it comes time to sell.

Photo via Unsplash

Is it cheaper to wrap or paint a car?

In recent years, vinyl wraps have become a popular alternative to painting a car. They make it far easier to apply patterns and bold graphics so they’re often seen as a very modern choice. Wraps have actually been in use since the 1950s. At the time, wrapping was incredibly expensive so the process was usually reserved for high-end vehicles.

The rise in popularity means they have become more affordable for many people. A classic car paint job can be more expensive because it’s more time-consuming. Each layer of paint will need around 8 hours to dry and almost all paint jobs will require multiple coats. In contrast, vinyl wraps only take one layer and they’re then finished. Because of this, vinyl can be a cheaper alternative to paint.

It is important to note though, vinyl wraps can only be applied if the paint underneath is in good condition. If there are any rough spots, dents or rust spots, the vinyl wrap won’t be able to cover this. It will also make it harder to get proper adhesion on the vehicle.

Despite taking longer to finish, paint tends to remain the more popular choice for classic cars as it has a more timeless look.

How much is a good paint job for a classic car?

It’s understandable that you would want to make sure you’re paying a fair price for your classic car paint job. What is important to note though is how much your paint job will cost depends on a variety of factors including:

  • Does your current paint job need to be stripped?
  • Is there any rust on the body?
  • Is it an exterior job only?
  • Do any body parts need to be replaced?
  • Are you choosing a custom colour that needs specialist mixing?

It’s difficult to give an accurate price without knowing your car’s condition and if it’s part of a wider classic car restoration project. You can contact us with details of your car so we can get you a more accurate idea of the cost.

How to maintain car paintwork?

Painting your car is only the first step towards a beautifully restored classic car. If you don’t maintain your car, you’ll find sun damage and environmental factors can ruin your car’s sheen.

Making sure to dedicate some time to maintaining your car’s paintwork can help keep it looking glossy and brand new for longer.

Here are our top tips for maintaining a classic car paint job:

  • Regularly wash your car. While it might not be the most fun, it will help stop any dirt and grime buildup on your car. Wash with automotive soap and a foam sponge in straight lines, rather than circular motions. After you’ve rinsed it with clean water, dry it with a microfiber towel. Air drying your car can leave behind minerals from the water that can cause paint damage.
  • Wax your car. This helps provide a protective barrier for your car’s paintwork that will guard against pollution and dirt. You’ll need to wax your car every few months as the wax will wear off naturally over time.
  • Try to keep your car out of the sun. You might think this isn’t something you need to consider in the cloudy UK, but you’d be surprised. Even a small amount of sun damage can cause discolouration. Sun damage will fade the paint of your car, taking glossy reds to faded salmons. If you don’t have a garage or shady place to park, you can buy a cover for your car to protect it.

Restoria Classic is a specialist British classic car restoration garage. We work on everything from made to order project cars, to minor bodywork repairs and classic car servicing and MOTs.

We’re based in rural Norfolk but offer a collect and drop off service for our customers across the UK. This means you don’t need to worry if you’re based further away or your car isn’t roadworthy yet. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help with your next classic car restoration project.

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