Restoring red paint, tcut?

My (once) red 1988 Alfa 75 had been sat on a drive for about 7 years before i bought it, and the bonnet has faded to almost white. What would be the best way of restoring the paint?
I’ve been over with a few coats of t-cut, and it’s very slowly coming through. But I don’t really want to apply any more coats.

See photo attached.

That’s quite a bit of oxidation. I’m not sure if the paint can be restored to the point where it resembles it’s original state. I would consider having it repainted/resprayed.

Yeah, I agree. The good news is it looks like only the hood is bad. I’d either have it repainted, or see if I could find a matching hood to replace that one with, which might be cheaper if you can find it.

If the only alternatives are painting or replacing, then polishing a small area some more would seem to be a no-lose option. If it works, great, if not, back to the alternatives.


Why is it only the bonnet that has oxidised so badly?
I have applied about 10 ‘coats’ of t-cut so far (as you say the only alternative is painting), and it is clearly very slowly. I’m don’t fully understand the principle of t-cut, however. How does it ‘remove a layer of paint’ when the outer most layer of paint is a lacquer? Should i keep going?

By ‘lacquer’, is that what we call a ‘clear coat’? If that’s the case (the clear coat has failed), then repainting/replacement is your only real option.

That’s why I recommend trying a small (2" x 2") area. If you can’t get it looking good, you have your answer.

I have no idea what tcut is , I guess a rubbing compound type product. Just take the hood off and let a paint shop redo it or if you just want it to look ok from 30 feet sand and spray with a rattle can.

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Engine heat could probably accelerate the oxidation process on a hood. It looks like a single stage paint.

You don’t simply “apply” buffing compound (T-Cut), you must buff the paint with it. This is usually done with a buffing wheel but you can buff the paint by hand with a cloth. Rub the compound with a cloth in a circular motion with some pressure, the compound works like very fine liquid sand paper. You should be able to remove that oxidized layer of paint in 30 minutes.

I don’t know what tcut is either except maybe a rubbing compound. Its used to buff out imperfections in the paint. Often you do a color sand first with 2000 grit or so sandpaper then buff and polish. At any rate, that white is the failed clear coat. There is no way to save it. The more clear you remove, the closer you will get to the color coat which will then be a ruined finish. So yeah, it needs to be repainted. Why just the hood? I don’t know. Sometimes they are sprayed separately but the heat may have had something to do with it. Also possible the rest of the paint is not long for this world too.

Sorry but would you rather we be honest or make you feel good?

T-Cut is meant to remove minor scratches. If you had swirl marks from too many uses of automatic car washes, T-Cut would be useful. T-Cut is not going to be useful for what you’re dealing with. You either need a re-spray or a new-to-you hood from a junkyard.

Thanks for all the advice. Had another go with t-cut today. I applied a bit more time and force during the buffing and it seems to be very slowly coming out. I’ll keep going

Buffing compound comes in different grades, for paint like that “heavy cut” would be used first but you may have to work with what you have.

If you dampen the cloth with water the compound won’t dry out as fast, you will be able to buff longer.

I don’t have anything to say about t-cut . . .

But if you’re using that brick as a wheel chock, I highly advise you to buy a decent set of wheel chock. They’re not terribly expensive

I’ve seen guys gamble . . . and lose . . . that a brick, block of wood, etc. would work sufficiently well. And some of the results have been ugly :fearful:

This is what I use for that situation. Works pretty good on my truck. Not going to give you a show room finish though. Glad to see you are keeping on keeping on w/your Alfa 75. The paint on the rest of the car actually looks pretty good in your photo already. The horizontal surfaces suffer from the effects of the sun the most. Why the hood on your Alfa seems to have got is worse than the top, maybe where it was parked most of the time the top was in the shade. Or (seems less likely) the heat effects from the engine on the hood paint.

That would be my guess

I think there’s no harm to be done by trying more aggressive rubbing compounds or even sanding with high numbered sand paper (wet sand 1500 or 2000). The worse that will happen is the hood will need to be repainted - and we are there now.

If that works, have a go at rattle can clear coat.

Result after many hours using mainly t-cut and some Meguiar’s ultimate compound. Come out great! thanks for all the replies


Any advice on what I should do now to protect the paint? I have applied a coat of wax

It appears this is single stage, I.e. NOT clear coat, paint. To keep it this way frequent waxing. Sunlight fades red paint!
If underhood insulation was removed you might consider replacing it to protect paint from engine heat.

Looks like you did a good job, congratulations.