Good thing we were open today. The owner of this Ford Explorer received a tail-lamp tint, in the form of a gift certificate, for Christmas and she was at the shop bight and early this morning to collect. Better get cracking then.
The first photo shows the lenses out of the car and in the booth. We only lightly tint the lens’s as we don’t want to dim the tail or brake light because of safety concerns. Having her tail-lamps tinted … good. Having her car damaged because a driver didn’t see the brake-lamps … not good.
After the lens’s are dry we put them back in the car. That’s what I’m doing in the second photo.
You can see in the third photo the lens’s look quite dark and match nicely with the black-out trim on the rest of the car. But while they look dark, they really aren’t that dark and the light from the tail-lamps is reduced hardly at all. The fourth photo shows how the tail-lamps are clearly visible, even during the day, and the last photo, number five, you can clearly see the brake-lamps and backup-lamps.
It is understandable, but most of the people I talk to wish they weren’t having the conversion. After all, who wants to deal with the hassle and expense of having their damaged automobile repaired? But this morning the customer was actually glad and excited to see me. That was a nice change of pace.
I think I need to sell more gift certificates.
The first two photos show the bumper and quarter panel after the base coat is applied. The base coat always dries to this near flat finish. But that’s ok, because as you can see in the next three photos, numbers three, four and five, adding the clear coat makes that dull, lifeless finish come to life. It is the clear coat that is the magic of the two stage paint system, providing not only protection to the paint underneath, but the zing and pow to the finish to boot.
The last three photos are of the custom battery cover going into the car. Not content to have just a stock, black, plastic cover as provide by Ford, the owner of this car has a beautifully crafted metal one.
As nice as it was to look at in bare metal, we kicked it up a notch by painting it to match and complement the colors of the car. Yesterday we paint the cover gray, today we masked them off and added the red. You know, the battery cover looks pretty good right now, but tomorrow, after I clear it, it will look even better.
It is funny … I repaint the nearly half this car and nobody will even notice anything has been done to it. But the minute the hood goes up people are going to notice that battery box and go, “Now that’s cool.”
And that is just exactly the way I like it.
This red blooded, all American muscle car arrived at the shop today for a little TLC before the Mustangs of Burlington car show this weekend. In the first picture the car looks pretty good. But a closer look, in pictures two and three, show a few little minor dings and scrapes the owner wants to get taken care of. After all, who wants to put their car in a car show with even a small dent in the side?
Photograph number four shows the bumper removed and the small dent filled in. We’ve obviously sanded on it, but there is more sanding to go before the car will be ready to paint.
While sanding on the filler, we also sanded on the bumper to smooth out the scuff marks so the bumper will be smooth for the paint that will follow. You can see the work we did on the bumper in picture five.
While the guys were sanding away on the car, I was in the booth dressing up the tail-lamps. We have a process where we just ever so lightly smoke the lenses of the tail-lamps and mark lights. Not enough to reduce the effectiveness of the tail- and brake-lamps, but the darkening adds some depth to the lamps for a subtle, but noticeable, effect.
Photograph six shows the light after sanding to rough up the plastic so the tint will stick. We use a PPG tint that is sprayed on, just like paint, for durability. Like painting a car, the surface must be prepared by roughing up the surface so the paint, or in this case, tint, has something to get its teeth into for adhesion.
Picture seven shows the tail-lamp after the tint has been applied. The difference is subtle but there. The tint is quite light from directly behind so as to not affect the light output from the assembly. But looking at if from a slight angle, as in picture eight, you can see the tint appears to darken up some, which makes the lights appear darker than they really are.
Picture nine demonstrates what happens after the lights are cleared to bring up the shine. The lights gain some depth and pizzazz that is missing from the stock tail-lamps without affecting the performance of the lights or breaking the bank.
While I was busy in the booth, the guys finished sanding the quarter panel of the Mustang, making it ready first to prime then to paint. You can see their handy-work in picture 10. The entire quarter panel has been sanded, making the paint appear dull and lifeless. We will blend the repair across the quarter rather than painting the entire panel, then clear the whole shebang, making the repair invisible.
Blending is a technique for painting a section of the car without leaving a hard line between the old paint and the new for the eye to see. Without this blending of the paints at the edge the eye might detect any slight shift in color from the old paint to the new. It is a little bit of painters slight-of-hand, but it works. The dullness of the rest of the panel will disappear when the clear is applied, restoring the luster to the paint it had prior to sanding.
The last photo, number eleven, is a trick battery cover the owner had made. We are going to paint that to match the exterior of the car … one of these simple, but custom, touches that makes a car special.
Tinted tail-lamps, custom battery holder … simple changes … but a dead giveaway that a true petrolhead owns this car.
In my opinion the G35 needs very little help in the looks department, but like a pretty woman putting on her sunglasses, tinting the tail-lamps just makes an appealing package that much better.
Look at these before and after shots and tell see if you don’t agree that having the tail-lamps tinted, slipping on its shades so to speak, doesn’t make this beautiful car look just a little bit better.