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Powder Coating

I have the entire front of my e-type disassembled for repainting and wanted to ask about powdercoating. What is the usual position of concours judges re powdercoating vs. paint? I am thinking about getting all of the parts that are usually a semi-gloss black powdercoated. They have a powder which is relatively close to the original color. I know that powder is much more durable (and expensive). The car will never be a "concours trailer queen", rather a driver. I would like to preserve it as much as possible, yet keep it as nearly "correct" at the same time. If I were to enter it in a concours, would I lose points for a better than factory finish? Thanks in advance.- George Cohn '70 OTS

George, I voted for paint last time and maintain that position. In fact, the subtle addition of a flattner doesn't hurt. You mention driving it, which depending upon where you show, could hurt your position simply because it's a helluva lot more difficult to keep the resto looking fresh and clean. Assuming your driver gets placed next to a trailer queen and the trailer queen is the obvious first place winner, you shouldn't get beaten up by the judges as there would be no point in dwelling deeper into the car's defficiencies (of course, there are others who think differently). Should your driver and another very close car show up, the difference between a noticeable powder coated part vs. a painted part could break the tie to your disfavor. Your decision to powder coat should be based on how important winning is. - Steve Kemp 62 OTS

Dear George, Powder coating is "paint". It is paint applied without solvent. I can show you two parts, one finished with powder coating, one sprayed with a solvent based finish and you could not tell by eye which was which. A tried and true way of telling is the "acetone wipe test". Take a piece of cotton cloth wet with acetone, and quickly wipe the painted surface. The solvent based finish transfers the greatest amount of color to the cloth. A good quality powder coat finish will yield almost no color. Do the judges at your concours do test paint by wiping them with solvent soaked rags? Powder coating is generally more durable because for one thing you can get a denser coating (you do not have the microscopic voids created by evaporating solvents). But on a poorly prepared surface, and with a poorly applied powder coating is no more durable than a solvent based finish. If you get a powder coat finish on the any exterior parts be sure you have a zinc rich primer applied first. Because of air quality standards in my part of southern California it cost me the same whether I specify powder coating (solventless painting) or solvent based paint to finish a part. Powder coating is not a miracle paint (Bill Hirsch sells that). Who applies it is just as important as what is applied. I won't trust anyone who says you don't need a primer on chassis parts and who can't get you the look of a solvent based paint. Lastly, are the judges at your concours deducting points for the use of polyurethane acrylic exterior finishes? Because if your are loosing points for using this modern, not original paint to finish the exterior of the car then might just deduct points for the use of powder coat finishes. Take care, Robert Paulson 1966 3.8 'S' type, 1965 3.8 MK2

Where I've seen the difference in powder coating is exactly as you describe, a total lack of small voids or any orange peel. That's usually what gives it away. If you could somehow ensure a little peel, that would probably do the trick and hide the fact. I don't think it will be plausible to deduct points for acrylic vs. lacquar (never could spell that word), as most states EPA have outlawed the high VOC of lacquar. However, there is a big difference between parts shot with a single stage urethane vs. a base coat/clear coat and this should be cause for deduction. - Steve Kemp 62 OTS

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