February 27, 2013
Except for the chassis and scuttle, all of our painting is done. We've painted or repainted just about everything on the car, and it all looks pretty good, although some pieces might've looked better if we'd plated or polished them. But paint is cheaper and/or less work, and you can get some pretty bright silver-colored paint these days. We think once the car is all put together you'll hardly notice the difference. At least in pictures.
We spray painted the exhaust, and also part of the house unfortunately, with silver paint that's supposed to be good for up to 2000 degrees. We don't think our exhaust will ever get that hot, and probably the house won't either, but we've heard this paint holds up really well in everyday use. Which is important, because our exhaust system is highly visible and already looks kind of tacky with all the welds. We hoped the paint would improve the looks of the exhaust, but it actually doesn't, and so we're still going to need a big, shiny heat shield to cover as much of it as we can.
We had a major breakthrough this week on the chassis paint. Last month we ordered an expensive spray can of 1967 MGB British Racing Green from an online custom-matching paint store. It looked very close to the color of our 1967 MGB, as best we can remember, and it also looked better than the expensive 2K urethane BRG that our local auto paint store mixed up for us a few weeks ago. But the spray can was even more expensive than the 2K urethane, and we needed about three quarts of paint to cover the whole chassis, which works out to about $500 worth of spray cans.
So that was way too expensive, and in any case ordering that much spray paint would've probably put us on some kind of environmental watch list. We already went through that last year with the exhaust system, so we resigned ourselves to order some more 2K urethane from our local auto paint store. To make sure we got the right color this time, we painted a small piece of sheet metal with our expensive spray can, and hoped the paint store would be able to use their fancy electronic paint-matching equipment to duplicate it.
Unfortunately, it turned out that three quarts of 2K urethane with all the activators and reducers would cost around $300. This would put us slightly over budget, or actually way over budget, so we started looking for options, just like we did back in the days when we built parts for the chassis and found out afterwards they didn't fit. One of those options was Rustoleum Dark Hunter Green, available everywhere for only $20 a quart. Earlier this week we picked up a spray can of the stuff from our local Ace hardware, and as soon as we got home we painted half of our color-matching sheet with it.
Incredibly, we couldn't tell the difference between the two paints. It turns out that Rustoleum Dark Hunter Green is a perfect match for expensive custom-mixed 1967 MGB British Racing Green. It's so close that were I the suspicious type, I might wonder if the expensive custom-matching paint store stuffed some Rustoleum Dark Hunter Green into a spray can and passed it off as an old MGB color, figuring no one would be able to match it anyway because the paint on any car that ancient wasn't going to be original, or if it was it'd be faded beyond recognition.
But we're not the suspicious types, so the fact that we won't be ordering any more spray cans from the expensive custom-matching paint store is only because we found a better source. We're now all set to finish painting the chassis, after we sand it all silky smooth, and we're pretty excited that not only will the frame end up a much more vintage shade of green, we'll also be able to paint all the bodywork the exact same shade, and in the future we'll be able to get all the paint we ever need for touch-ups and repairs, at least so long as the good folks at Rustoleum stay in business.
In even more good news, our MGB engine is once again the proper shade of black. You may recall that sometime in the past a previous owner of our donor M.G. thought it would be a good idea to paint the cylinder head orange and the valve cover purple. Neither color was particularly pleasing and the combination was painful to look at. We replaced the purple last year with M.G. red, but we left the cylinder head alone because it looked like it might be hard to paint with all those holes and ports and machined surfaces that would probably be better off without paint.
But last week we cleaned the engine top to bottom, and the orange cylinder head still didn't look any better, so we wiped it down with acetone, masked off everything we could, and painted it with semi-gloss black Engine Enamel. It didn't come out perfect, we got a little overspray here and there, but it looks better than it did, and hopefully we didn't introduce too much paint into the oil galleries, water jacket, valve train, and/or intake ports. And hopefully the spark plugs will still fire. Although that's not necessarily a show-stopper.
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