When I bought my BMW 528e in January, one of its more obvious deficiencies was the paint; one of the previous owners had had it resprayed for what must have been a good reason, but whoever did the work did an absolutely lousy job of prep work before the painting, and even the paint left a lot to be desired. The paint had not been given a clear coat, and a few years of neglect had taken its toll.
Having paid only $800 for the whole car, having it professionally painted didn’t seem to make a lot of sense, since a decent paint job would probably cost twice the purchase price. So an alternative was in order. I had picked up an issue of Hot Rod Paint & Body a while back that had an article in it describing how to Paint A Car With A Roller For Only $98 — they used multiple coats of Rustoleum paint thinned way down to the consistency of milk — and that seemed interesting.
Searching around on the Internet yielded what seemed to be the origin of that concept on a moparts.org thread that was started back in 2006. Someone was looking for a
cheap affordable way to paint a car, and one of the users chimed in with this method. He said he had painted a number of cars this way before, and the photos of a ’69 Charger he linked to were pretty impressive.
I figure with the BMW, I don’t have much to lose; it needs paint, and I can either try this or pay an arm & a leg for a real paint job. If I try this and it doesn’t turn out, I can resort to plan B… So I dove into the project headlong last week. The next-door neighbor was going to be out of town for a few weeks, and I got permission from her to use her largely-unused large garage while she was away. I had originally planned to just work on mechanicals, but a brief discussion of the subject with Yvonne convinced me that I ought to go ahead with it. I picked up some Rustoleum Burgundy at Menards, along with some high-density foam rollers and a few other needed items, and set to work.
My decision to go with something other than the original color, and a non-BMW color at that, probably won’t earn me any brownie points with the mye28.com purists, but who cares. I chose that color because I like it, and because Bryce liked it, and it just may end up in his possession sometime soon (more on that later.)
As expected, much of the time in the last week was spent on prep work; stripping trim, bumpers & lights off of it, fixing the odd issues with the paint, and sanding it all down. Looked pretty scary after the sanding was done! But that was nothing compared to what it looked like after the first coat of paint. The author of the Hot Rod article (Christopher Campbell) wrote, “That first roll is by far the worst part, and the finish that greets you immediately afterward will likely make you want to reconsider the whole affair, but keep the faith!” Wow was he right; that first roll I laid down yesterday looked absolutely awful and gave me a pit in my stomach. I was so discouraged I didn’t even take any pictures of it.
So far, I’ve got two coats on it, and I have to say that with the second coat it’s looking better. There are runs in it, and lots of other imperfections that I probably haven’t yet seen, but all that will get fixed with sanding and additional coats. I hope. I probably should have sanded tonight, but it was raining all day, and the boys and I went to see a movie, and it was dark by the time we got back, and the lighting in the garage is less than wonderful, and… Ok, so I mostly didn’t feel like it. But I’ll do it first thing in the morning, let it dry a while, then put on the third coat. With any luck it’ll be dry by tomorrow night & ready for a fourth coat tomorrow evening. No photos yet, but I’ll take some in the days to come. Watch this space for updates!
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