After the base is allowed to flash and set, it's time for the money coat-the clearcoat application. Here we need to apply enough material to allow the clear to be sanded and polished later without breaking through to the basecoat or leaving the remaining clear too thin. Three coats are generally plenty of clear for cutting and polishing, but with every coat there is potential for more texture or orange peel to build. It is not practical to cut and buff every inch of the paintwork of a car, so the quality of the finish off the gun is important. While the exterior panels will invariably be color-sanded and buffed, areas such as the gutters, hinge box, and jambs will forever tell a tale of how nicely the finish came down. Frankly, if the texture in the clear is really excessive, even cutting and polishing will never remove all traces of the roughness. The painter must strive to get the clear to flow to as glass-like a finish as possible with the clearcoat. Variables here include the solvent mix, the equipment, air pressure, and technique.
We were quite happy with the way the Planet Color base and Ultra 7000 clearcoat laid down on our L88 hood. The final look is nothing short of magnificent, and will only get better when given a final cut and polish. Shooting the loose panels first gave us an opportunity to identify any potential problems in a more confined situation than if we had begun with the main body first. With the results of the paint here, it looks like we are well on the way to the type of outstanding paint we think our Corvette deserves. Paint is one of the most time-consuming projects that an enthusiast will get into on a vehicle, and also one of the most rewarding. Here we demonstrated the techniques, and our project car's paint will be completed and polished in a future issue to show the final result.