Whatever to do about the paint

My '86 has been a well-sorted car for the last 14 years that I’ve owned her. On most horizontal surfaces, however, the paint has become horrific, especially the hood (from the heat, of course).I don’t drive the car anywhere near as much as I’d like because the paint is so bad. I love the car but it would just be irresponsible of me to spend $7500-$10k to have the car painted. Maybe in five years that would be OK, but that is a lot of maybes.

I keep toying with the idea of stripping the car down and painting her myself. Has anyone done this in the last five years or so? I ask with the time restrictions as I suspect that paint formulations and availability has changed a very great deal in the last few years. Given the changes in paint systems I am assuming I will gave to go down to bare metal or very close to it, by sanding. Can you do it without pulling the glass? Any advice? Or, conversely, am I overestimating the cost?


I assume your 86 has thermoplastic paint. That stuff is a bitch. The best way to bare metal that stuff is to first scarify it with 3M Roloc 80 or 60 grit disks. The point is to just scar the paint badly, but don’t hit metal. Then take a buffer with 80 grit and just sand the remains off.

Option 2 is don’t strip anything and get a cheaper paint job. Maaco it, you’ll get five good years out of it for $2500 or so. Won’t be terrible.


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A couple more things… pull the glass, because it’s not hard.

On paint systems… your location matters. Where I live you can get PPG Deltron and wow what an easy paint for someone like me that never painted a car. You could fix any mistake. Orange peel was easily sanded off and buffed back. I painted in a plastic pipe and plastic wrap tent… got bugs and dirt in the finish… And you just scrape them out and buff it up! Amazing stuff PPG Deltron!

I’m wondering how well you could do with a combination of your own work and the Maaco cheap paint job. Remove all the trim yourself, do as much block sanding as you can handle, then take it to Maaco and have them slap paint on it.

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Hi there, check out this guy he sends his S type in for a el-cheapo spray job at Maaco. There are several vids about the paint job pros and cons so check out his channel.

This all depends on the color of the car. Do you really want a Maaco job on a black, blue or BRG car? …the lighter the color, The easier it is to do. Dark colors require lots of preparation, in between preparation and someone who knows what they are doing…I think the XJS is such a angular car, specially on the sides, that a perfect paint job is critical, specially for a dark car. . Is it possible to find a really good shop that will be able to do it in parts? Like do you hood and trunk and roof first. The new do one side. Then the other.

The paint game has become ridiculously expensive. …I wouldn’t hire a body shop at any price…they lean to insurance jobs that pay well or well healed car collectors. …my rocker panels get chipped so a spray can of good black for my black 88 is what I do…maybe its time to sell to someone that wants to spend big or else a home job will be lots of work and you might not be happy in the end.

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You can also check with your local tech college that has a bodywork degree, some of them will paint cars if you supply the paint. You can get a good job done, since they have a “professor” supervising them it can come out OK.
Just don’t take it to Pebble Beach!

My ‘88 had peeling clear coat on the horizontal surfaces; OE paint was waterborne (which has been perfected as time has gone on. Pulled all the glass and moldings (doors are hardest, believe it or not). I disagree with the “bare metal” necessity; I was able to remove large areas of clear with razor blades, being careful to not scar base coat. Sand the base and remaining clear first with 320 on a DA, then 500. Seal with a wet on wet system sealer.
Two-pack urethane or wet on wet base/clear coat is available in limited colors from Summit Racing. Single stage is definitely more repairable. I had about $700 in materials for base/clear coat non-metallic red…

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Not so sure about that. My 83 was done in the Thermoplastic years. later Jaguars were done in bas- clear… Mine has done fairly well over the years. Imperfect for durn sure, Faded on the bonnet!! Effort and polish followed by high Carnauba wax content shined it well.

If there is no crazing, it has promise, short of a repaint.

Prep it and find a painter to 'shoot it". Spot paint can work… An entire panel…


[quote=“Kirbert, post:4, topic:381272”]
I’m wondering how well you could do with a combination of your own work and the Maaco cheap paint job…

Great idea. You will need to do the “detail” work yourself, i.e. door jambs, trunk and engine bay etc. You can have matching rattle cans made at your local auto paint store.

I think this is the best option, and what I will work toward. While I am doing that work I will ask around and see if any local folks know some good under the radar painters – my father did a similar thing with the sheetmetal on our old tractor and it was very good work. Else I’ll check out the three local Maacos and go that route.

Incidentally, the reason I feel like I have to take it down to metal is because the paint on at least the hood, and the tops of the fenders is cracked, and, at the edges of the cracks, is pulling up and flaking. It’s really bad.

And scrimbo, the Jag is the last thing I will ever sell. My father bought it for me at a hard time in in our lives when he realized that he could actually buy me one of my dream cars (with a loan, albeit). This was in the early 2000s, and at the time I was DD’ing a 30-year old car, so a '95 civic would probably have been a more practical gift but the Jag was a more loving one. I will never let it go.


I still have my first car, which is a 1980 Malibu. When I took it for estimates before I was told, by pretty much every shop, that it would need taken to the metal because the paint was “dead”. My one friend said that he had stripped his one car down to metal using aircraft stripper, or something like that. I still have to get that painted smh!

My 86 with thermoplastic paint was in wretched shape on top and on the trunk. It responded well to 2000 then 3000 grit sanding while running the hose on it. Rubbing then polishing compound to get it swirl free. Both are now acceptable, take wax well and look ordinary from 10 feet. They will last until next summer. That thermoplastic paint is thick. Applied by dunking iirc. But use caution on the edges and corners!

My plan for repainting to original color on a budget is to strip the car in the garage. Glass out rubber off. Primer at home, sand, and repeat until perfect, buy a spray job from a Maaco-priced but better than macco local shop, sand that until it’s perfectly flat. Take it back for a second coat, sand, polish and wax.

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This thermoplastic paint (which seemed to be used from '83-'88) is apparently a real bugaboo – very, very, very hard to strip (some have luck with stripper, some don’t). It apparently heats up and softens when sanded – most people seem to have success with 3M Roloc Green 36 grit (!!) to take the paint off to the primer, then usual sanding techniques. Other paint really doesn’t seem to like to stick to it. I am OK with sanding all the external bodywork (or at least I understand the process), but how can you sand down the doorjambs and the like that far? I was not planning on doing that. Am I missing something?