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Paint job


Milt
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I need to paint my Avanti. Looking at sites on painting the other fiberglass car (Corvette) I see that most strip down to the fiberglass with chemical stripper. They say that Corvettes did not have a gel coat. Do we have a gel coat and do I have to strip off the old paint? Then they say to use an epoxy primer before the regular primer. Is this necessary?

Any recommendations on painting will be highly appreciated.

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I don't believe Avanti's came from the factory with a gel coat. When my '70 was repainted it was chemically stripped and gel coated. It makes for a better job when painting fiberglass. I can't say when Corvettes began being gel coated...I don't believe they did for years but eventually did. I'm guessing they did in the early 1980's when the old St. Louis plant was closed and production moved to a modern plant in Bowling Green, KY. That's when they began with base coat/clear coat paint.

You can certainly paint your car without stripping the old paint first, but don't expect the best results unless that doesn't concern you. Preparation is paramount when repainting a car. The finished product is no better than the surface that's under it and how well it was prepped. Unless you're simply doing touch up repair, my own feeling is you're throwing away your money without stripping the paint and doing it correctly. Any flaws will show through the new paint and when you strip it, you may well find stress cracks in the fiberglass that require repair before refinishing and repainting.

As far as what kind of primer, that can be the personal preference of whatever shop you ask. I would suggest sticking with one system of paints...PPG or whomever. Sticking with one brand will guarantee everything is compatible. EPA, state and local regulations can dictate what paints you can and can't use.

What some people will do is strip and prep the car themselves and take it to a shop like Maaco and have them shoot it. There's recently been a lot of controversy on doing that on a Corvette forum I frequent...some vociferous opinions being aired about that. A lot of pros and cons to that. A shop won't guarantee the work if they don't do the complete job, but some won't care.

It's your car, your money...do as you like and don't worry what anyone else thinks.

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Though I have painted cars when I was young I will have a shop do my Avanti. But I plan to do the grunt work and think I will strip it. The paint job I had was about a 15 footer that would not hold a shine. Then in storage I had some gas burp out the filler and ruin the paint below the filler. So it wasn't much of a paint job to begin with.

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