john saleeby

Active Member
Aug 5, 2006
I'm requesting guidance from those who have been through the process. The Goal is a very nice paint job, not show quality where if I receive a rock chip I lose sleep. The car is driven once per week. I live in Southern California. Car has no rust or dents. Looking for a painter. Based on the stated goal here are some questions.

1- After sanding to metal, does Primer need to be used and how many primer coats?
2- Does the windshield, rear glass, side glass, doors, hood, trunk lid bumpers need to be removed for a better finish?

3- What paint brand, (not gonna skimp on materials) is best bang for the buck? Is "German" paint a consideration?
4-- What paint code is closest to stock black color?

5- How many topcoats should be applied and should Sanding occur between the coats?
6- Does lacquer need to be applied and if so how many coats? Is lacquer outlawed in CA?

7- Any special considerations for paint as I want to Ceramic Coat the finished and cured paint?
8- Does Clearcoat need to be applied and, if so, how many coats? Should there be wet sanding between clearcoats?

9- Is the available paint in California solvent based or water based? Does one have a better finish than the other? May be moot if solvent base is not available.
10- How long should paint cure?

Lastly, what qualities should I be looking for in a bodyshop/painter?
Thank you all for your expertise and guidance in this process.

Please PM me or call 626 423 2686

John, sorry I just found my note with your fone number on it. Want me to call?
Great set of questions! If you're willing to share your progress and answers along the way, I know many of us would appreciate it.
1. If you car has thick paint on it ( been painted and not stripped) you will have to use a large sander with 80 grit to strip it to bare metal and it will take a long time. I had my GN Dustless blasted and it took about 1.5 hours. The blast material has a rust inhibitor and I did have to prime it for several days. Yes primer will be needed and you will use an Epoxy primer. I chose Nason. You can spray 2 coats on it but some of it will be sanded off in the dent fixing/bodywork stage. That’s where your 2K primer comes into play.
2. I would say yes. Number one reason is cost. It costs time and money to remove those items and you might be tempted to go back brand new (except on the 1/4 windows). But at a minimum I would remove the 1/4 windows , tape lines look like crap.
3. You should get plenty of answers for this question. Again I chose Axalta ( Nason) base coat/ clear coat. I have seen some of the best single stage paint jobs but that body work has to be flawless. The 2 stage seems to be a little more forgiving when it come to imperfections. There are several variations of clear, mine actually looks clear. I have seen clears that were yellowish.
4. Black
5. One coat should be enough but I have seen 2 light coats sprayed. I have sprayed 2 coats of clear, not too many coats, I have seen it where it became brittle and scammer like in some areas.
6. I don’t know of anyone using lacquer, water based paints yes, lacquer no.
7.that process will take months. Soap hasn’t even touched my car in a year. It gets blow dried. No rags or swirl marks here.
8. I did not wet sand between coats , time constrained. Wet sanding before paint, after clear is a very time consuming process.
9. PPG water based paint was an alternative at school, it can produce a flawless finish also. Old school guys like to stick to what they know like their favorite paint gun. Introduce a new product or process to them it throws them off their game immediately.
10. My car sat untouched for a week. Plain old down draft booth with no heaters.

I attend a local college and my classes are 2 nights a week for semesters at a time. Roughly 230 a semester and I have access to every welder, grinder, sanding pads , 20 different paint and primer guns and an assortment of free paint and primers that have been donated to the school. If some one wanted Hot Rod black their paint and primer would be free, that stuff is stacked to the ceiling.
Now I am on project #2, the ttop GN which is much much more challenging.
Trying to post pics but it is saying the uploaded file is too large for the server to process.
I consider myself a very good novice, there are experts with what I call “magic hands” that can feel the high and low spots and cut down on body filler application and time. My limited experience is with PPG and Nason products. I have seen Tamco finished vehicles and they were excellent also.

Be prepared to pay 10K to 12K for quality paint job, even after/if you disassemble the car.

I'm just saying.

PPG water based paint and their best high solids clear cannot be beat for our cars, hands down.

Many here will have their opinion, but I'm shooting you straight.
Thank you TurboTguy. Gathering info is key to making good choices and minimizing mistakes.
So you have good knowledge PPG is good paint? I do not want to skimp on materials.
Thank you TurboTguy. Gathering info is key to making good choices and minimizing mistakes.
So you have good knowledge PPG is good paint? I do not want to skimp on materials.

Penske Automotive has a world wide contract with PPG, and their logo is on every one of his race cars. What's that say about an absolute icon in the auto industry's opinion? :)
Here are his dealerships in the US.

There are some 55 Penske Collision Centers that service those dealerships across the country.

You've seen pictures of just the paint booth area of mine. Happy to provide more of other areas.

We NEVER do this kind of restoration work here, we are PRODUCTION oriented, I was lucky enough to get my boss's ear on this one. Still don't know why he bought off on it........ But it will be done like no one has ever seen.

Maybe it's because I drive my little white T to work every Friday.

He comes out and looks/learns a little about it every time. I think that's pretty cool.

He's a FERD truck guy.

PPG is top of the line, period.

P.S. - I've done some work on a few guys on the board here on the down low. Maybe some will check in here......

Any questions? :)
Last edited:
That's good info. Gonna check out the paints/products available from "TCP Global." For the stock black color, is paint code WA8555 the way to go?
John. I'm not a painter, but have been thru the ringer getting cars painted, in kalif, and AZ.
ME...... I would not use water based, as twice I've had car painted using water base, and twice I've had to repaint them ,using solvent based paint, (different paint shops each time)
I have had the best luck with PPG paints, base coat/ clear coat, (urethane)
I'm not going to tell you how to paint, as I don't do that, I just pay the bill, sometimes repeatedly!!!
I'd find a shop your comfortable with , and will talk to you, and has no problem you stopping by to photo
the progress, ( do it!)
additionally.... strip the car, as any left over paint (sealed or not) will show thru,
sealer....... epoxy primer, what ever they call it, it needs it, as it has to have a base to adhere to,
finally.. it does need to be rubbed and buffed, (color sanded, and all the other terms they use to make it look nice)
all painters have a method, and brand of choice, its what they are used to,
your "ceramic" is after its all said and done, and I like the ceramic look and feel,
you can do it, or have it done, (I've done my cars my self) and love the results,
hope this helps some,
email me if you have questions,, I don't owe anyone anything, and will tell you my 2cents honestly,
Lee, perhaps the water born didn't work on those two cars because of insufficient prep work.

If water born is laid down over an enamel or lacquer based paint, it will crack and peel shortly afterword.

Car needs to be stripped to bare metal.

Lee, perhaps the water born didn't work on those two cars because of insufficient prep work. PPG water born base coat and a high solids clear are excellent product when used properly.

On the one in the shop now we are going to use PPG Water Borne Base Coat Black, Glasurit 923-210 Clear, 929-250 Hardener, and 352-740 Reducer mixed at 3:1 clear to hardener and add 15% reducer. The cool thing about the Glasurit is you can put as many coats of clear as you wish on the car, most products you can only use one or two coats. We will probably do at least 6 coats on the car that's here now.

I'm not a painter either, but I've been in the collision repair business a long time and work with a bunch of very talented, very knowledgeable people on a daily basis.
I have seen the PPG waterborne paints and they are very nice show winners. 2 stage paint that required clear but you had to allow the paint to dry between the coats . I did fail to mention the Glasurit clear as mentioned above, top notch. Every painter has their own style and favorite paint gun and clear gun, most of the time they are not the same brand. A lot of the painters have their favorite brand of paint, I know some that wont ever touch House of Color again, (their words, their reasons). I will see if I can post older pics from my laptop vs. the newer pics on my phone.
Thank you Lee , TurboTguy, and Rag231. The research and homework is progressing nicely. I'll boil it all down when I get to the conclusion so others can have a clearer path to travel.
We will probably do at least 6 coats on the car that's here now.
That's plenty to provide a good "cushion" for cut and buff.
I've seen only 1 car that went "over the top" on the paint process. The owner did the work at his home shop.
The base was sanded between coats, and reapplied. NO BOOGERS! The clear was sanded between coats. Same reasoning.
The paint looked like it was "a mile deep"!
For those getting ready to paint, here is what my research has found:
1. Strip car to bare metal
2. 2 coats Epoxy Primer
3. remove side moldings for cleaner look
4. Remove hood, doors, quarter windows, trunk lid,, and bumpers
5. 2 stage, Base coat/Clearcoat
6. Gonna use PPG, either paint code WA8555 or J89
7. 3-4 coats of Base color and 3-4 coats of clear
8. Allow Time in between coats
9. color sand with varying grits ie start with 1200 to 3000

Still researching painters in SoCal area. I'll update once I find a painter and why I selected them, along with the proposed cost.

Lastly, A. Should I use water base or lacquer base paint? A local supplier of PPG said lacquer was available.
B. What is the Highest quality of Clear in PPG (PPG EC520?)
C. How many gallons of Epoxy Primer, Paint and Clear are likely required for this job?

Thank you for the Input!
Lacquer based is out...
Water based is a totally different process that may/may not be used by some shops.
The material quantities are affected by the mix ratio. IE: 2:1, 4:1, etc.
Bottom line is some shops will want to use their fav brands. Best talk with them to determine the choices you have.
Lots of other than PPG products out there. PPG WILL stick it to your wallet.
Being in Kalifornia, you are going to run into some really chickenshit laws regarding the paint they can spray,