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Painting a car

i have a 1970 mgb which i am going to have painted…the person who is doing the work suggested an enamel paint with an acrylic…that this would have a brighter shine and be easier to care for than a 2 coat iwth a clear coat…what do you think?

If you’re trying to keep it as authentic as possible then it’s not a bad idea. However the modern method will yield a far better quality job. The absolute cheapest paint job the much maligned corporate chain Maaco’s absolute cheapest paint job uses enamel. What does that tell you. And yes I know that prep work is half the job. But if you’re going to do the prep work you might as well have a real paint job as well.

Edit: For a high quality profesional paint job, expect to pay at least $2000 or so.

Go with the clear. A much more durable paint job. The problem with shooting a clear coat paint is, it requires two paint guns. One gun with a tip for the base coats, and one gun with a tip for the clear coats. Two quality paint guns and tips, more expensive.


At the factory, paint is applied by robotic machines that can do a PERFECT job. An aftermarket paint job is NEVER perfect and shooting clear-coat by hand is very difficult. Your painter knows his skills and limitations and is trying to make you both happy. With paint jobs, you get what you pay for. I’ve painted two cars in my garage and they came out “pretty good”. Perfect? NOT!

Who said anything about “PERFECT”?


I’d go to a local Brit car club meeting and see what the folks with the good-looking cars had done.

Agree with advice others gave. Assuming cost is not a factor in your decision, your choice here is between originality and durability/ease of care. If it’s important to you that your restored MG be period “correct” you can’t use a modern base/clear, they weren’t around in 1970. But if that isn’t a major concern for you, using the 2-stage (base/clear) paint process should give you a more durable finish that should be easier to care for in the long run.

I agree with Daddy except for the “prep work is half the job.” I would say it is more like 80%.

My opinion would be to use the former as it’s closer to the original finish. Properly painted and taken care of it should last the life of the car.

Whenever I’ve shot acrylic enamel I’ve always used a spoonful of hardener with each cup of paint. This hardener will stiffen up the enamel quite a bit and greatly increase the paint’s durability.
I’ve even shot a few motorcycle paint jobs with acrylic enamel rather than lacquer and had no problems with gas eroding the paint around the filler caps when the hardener is added.