Paint ;

                      Without a doubt, it is the very first thing you notice when you look at a classic Corvette.  Your eye then jumps about from here to there as you pick up the reflections on the glass, the chrome and the brightwork, but it will come back to the paint once again. This time, though, you've walked closer to the car and are ready to give it your close scrutiny.  Nothing on the car will be more judged than the paint, and this single line item will have the deepest impact on the classification of your Corvette;  as one of quality, or just a driver

The Restoration Station will take your Corvette's paint beyond the level you expect, and onto the podium. 














But how should the paint on a Corvette look? That depends on two things;  where you are going with your car, and how you expect it to doMost would agree that you should see the perfect reflection of an ordinary car in the shine of an extraordinary one, as seen in the quarter panel of this '70 Corvette.   That is the standard at The Restoration Station, but that 'broad strokes' plan doesn't fit all criteria.  For N.C.C.C events, Concourse d' Elegance and even the local show-n-shines, that plan will work flawlessly. 































                  Corvettes For Sale


Enter                       This is a land where "best paint", "best in class" and "best color combination" terminology doesn't exist. It's a slightly different language than what is spoken in the mainstream car show circuit -  and we speak it well.  In fact, it's our first language. Sure, the Corvette restored for NCRS or Bloomington judging specs is also a beautiful, shiny Corvette  - but it differs in that this car is an accurate representation of typical factory production.  Not of today, but of 1958 for a 1958 Corvette, or 1965 for a 1965 Corvette, or whatever the production year in question. Our restoration of a Corvette to NCRS judging specs starts with techniques and specific order of steps, and ends with an accurate visual representation of the materials used in the day.  Some of these materials have not been available for many, many years.  Others - never available outside the factory floor.  Success in the authentic restoration of a Corvette  comes in the form of awards called "Top Flight", "Duntov" and "Gold", and are highly sought-after and coveted.  Success in the restoration business comes from producing restorations that win these awards time and time again.  The Restoration Station achieves this by designing combinations of today's materials and executing tested techniques that produce the finishes and patina of yesterday - where nitrocellulose lacquer and bake-only acrylic lacquer are distant memories that only we "seasoned" restorers remember.



















So, how does this NCRS - type restoration look? Take a moment and look at this Panama Yellow 1958 Corvette looking out at the lighted shop from our darkened paint booth.  Across the upper fender you see a nice reflection and a deep shine.  However, in the hinge pillar and forward door jamb area closest to you, not so much.   This area wasn't shiny when it rolled off the assembly line in 1958, and it isn't shiny when it was accurately restored in our shop 50 years later.


As we restore a car for this type of judging, we are aware of how each step was accomplished at the factory, which therefore dictates how it should look. Take a quick look at the rear valence area of our '58. When this body left the bake oven after final paint at the factory, areas of the body were lightly sanded, then buffed.  The heavy buffer with the 12" wool pad on it never got near a style line or a lower valence, so these areas, among others, shouldn't glow with shine. This '58 has the lacquer look  -   without the lacquer.

Staying ahead of the curve with today's technology; where today's "lacquer" needs to be put into quotation marks because it is such an abomination -  merely a namesake of what it once was.  Replicating the original look without the quality lacquer of yesterday is not an illusive goal.  It is day-to-day business.  Are you insisting that your Corvette is painted with  lacquer?  We can certainly do that  -  but first, we need to talk. 

















 The original material applied to these classic Corvettes was a "bake - only" lacquer that was exclusive to the factory floor for the production of Corvettes.  Key words: exclusive, factory floor. Any lacquer sold beyond the factory level - either from the dealer or an independent paint jobber, was an "air cure" lacquer. This means, if you took delivery of a brand-new Nassau Blue 1965 Corvette on the 27th of April 1965, and immediately walked to the parts department of U.S.A. Chevrolet to buy 2 gallons of Nassau Blue paint - you know, just in case you wanted to restore your Corvette 45 years later, the paint you just bought was already different chemistry than the paint that was applied to your car at the factory.  Noteworthy is that fact that those two gallons of lacquer paint - 45 years ago - was pretty good stuff.  But not any more. The environmental protection agency has mandated changes to lacquer paint over the years, and in the 80's these changes started to become very evident.  Gone was the lead, the chromium and the higher volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that lacquer contained.  Gone was the attribute that each successive coat of paint melted deep into the prior coat of paint during refinishing.  Also gone was the resiliency and elasticity that helped it to resist chipping. As more changes were mandated over the years, lacquer became much like a bag of Quickcrete that has had the Portland cement removed. 




So what do we do?  Well, we continue to adapt.  And we turn out some of the most beautiful Corvettes ever to show themselves on the judging fields of NCRS and Bloomington Gold.

Here is a 1954 Corvette - one of only a handful of black '54s ever produced.  The shine to most of the upper body is correct, as these cars were sanded and buffed - in certain areas - to a high shine at the factory.  But look at the dashboard.  The lower dash (Polo White) is not as shiny, more of a semi-gloss.  Then the upper dash (Sportsman Red) is even duller yet. The trunk, valences, soft top compartment, wheel lips, gutters, shadow areas and the underside of the panels are the same toned-down gloss, just as this car was when it was new.  This is accurate, and it has the correct look of typical factory production for a 1954 Corvette.















































The shine of lacquer after polishing was a beautiful shine, but not the deep, wet look of today's urethane. Lacquer was a high-solvent material that flowed out to a pin-grain peel and not much build.  It laid out flat at the edges of panels without forming a "bead". Just the opposite is true for today's urethanes.  If you over-reduce today's paint to try to copy the formulation of the old lacquer, you'll just end up with a failing paint system that has so much die-back that you'll end up stripping and painting again.  A quality paint system that incorporates "the lacquer look" is achieved with a combination of materials, techniques and steps.  For this type of judging venue, The Restoration Station goes the extra yard to stay true to the authenticity and historic significance of the classic Corvette.  But  -  with the use of today's superior materials.  































The Restoration Station  250 Hiawatha Trail,  Springboro, OH.  45066  (937) 743-3007

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