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How to Choose the Right Paint for Your Classic Car

Most car owners would never even consider paying for one of the many classic car custom paint jobs Orange County, CA has to offer. After all, modern vehicles come in a variety of sensible colors that are designed to appeal to a broad audience. To classic car enthusiasts like yourself, however, your cherished oldtimer's paint job is a representation of who you are, and should be chosen with as much care as the car itself. With this in mind, you've done your research, painstakingly searched for a reliable classic car paint shop in Orange County, and spent many hours thinking about the ideal look for your beloved ride.

But even after you choose the best shop what about the paint itself? Should you opt for a solvent-based paint, or a water-based one? Do you use enamel, lacquer, or urethane based paint? What about the color, or the additional details such as flames or race stripes? Read on to learn about the pros and cons of various paint types and how they can help you achieve your muscle car dreams.

Water-based vs solvent-based classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA

The carrier liquid in solvent-based paints is a resin, while the carrier in water-based paint is, surprise surprise, water without any solvents. While they're similar in durability and cost, the water-based paints have a different climate control & drying procedure that relies on a specific painting environment to attain the best effect. The main advantage of water-based classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA is that they're more eco-friendly and have a much easier clean-up job.

Urethane, enamel, & lacquer paints

All three of these are solvent-based paints. Urethane is easy to work with and resistant to chipping, making it the superior solvent-based paint. However, it's damaging to the environment and so toxic it requires full body protection, including respirators, during application. Enamel is similar, but it's a lot harder to apply and should never be used by an inexperienced painter. Companies that provide classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA use a special technique called "baking" to apply a proper enamel finish to a car. Its one great advantage over urethane is that it's a lot less costly.

Starting with the early 1920s through the 1960s, lacquer was the most popular paint used in classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA. It's soft and chips easily, but it's also simple to work with and, when used correctly, it achieves a beautiful shine. However, it tends to fade when exposed to direct sunlight and needs lots of buffing and waxing to retain its gleam. Due to the toxic vapor it releases into the air when drying, it's decidedly not eco-friendly and as a result it was outlawed in some parts of the US.

There’s no doubt that solvent-based paints are harsher on the environment than water-based paints. It's up to you to decide whether this is something to be concerned about.

Single vs dual stage classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA

This is another choice that comes down to your preferences. Single stage paint jobs are cheaper, faster, and more beginner-friendly, but they limit your options to solid colors such as solid red or solid black. Dual stage enables you to get a lovely metallic finish, but they're also more expensive and take a longer time because they involve multiple paint coats.

Choosing the right color

The color you pick for your classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA is more than just a matter of personal taste. There's an entire science that deals with the psychological effects of various colors, and what each of them conveys. Gray is seen as practical and conservative, but it can also be viewed as dull and conformist. In addition to its calming effects, a blue car can also seem depressed, aloof, and cold. Red is associated with passion, power, and speed, but it can also create an impression that the driver is aggressive, a speed freak, and even dangerous. And of course, pink or violet are traditionally associated with the fairer sex.

Some insurance companies actually charge less expensive premiums for "safe" classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA such as silver or white, while others charge more for "risky" colors such as yellow or red. It's also said that police tend to pull over red cars with greater regularity than they do vehicles that boast less eye-catching paint jobs. Last but not least, cars painted in unusual colors such as orange or green are less likely to be targeted by car thieves due to being more conspicuous than the standard paint jobs.

It's probably worth your while to read up on the psychological effects of various vehicle colors and take the time to decide which one is right for you.

Best shop for classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA

Chimera Motors is one of the most respected classic car restoration and maintenance companies in Southern California. Our services range from standard repairs to full custom frame-off builds that can transform your car into something that will turn heads wherever you go and make your oldtimer the centerpiece at car shows.

If you have further questions about the different types of paint, paint application methods, or you'd like free expert advice on what look best suits your particular classic car, feel free to dial 714-907-0609. Or even better, visit us at our shop. Our team of expert mechanics will gladly sit down with you and provide deeper insight on the pros and cons of various classic car custom paint jobs in Orange County, CA.

Reach out to us today. We're eager to help turn your classic car into the true road beauty it was always meant to be.


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