Friday, August 27, 2010

The Rebirth of Ruby Red

I'm extremely sentimental when it comes to my cars and I find it difficult refuse to let go of them......especially when it comes to my dear precious gem named Ruby. I've known Ruby longer than I've know Kim, which is why she understands my love for Ruby. I spent more time and money on this car than probably all my girlfriends combined. I've also risked my freedom and livelihood for this car (i.e. street racing pre-Fast & Furious Days). I even hung on the door of some punk's car while he drove off after my friends and I caught he breaking into my car. Lucky for me, I rolled safely to the floor when I swung from the car and the only remnant is a small scar on my knee.

We've been on quite a journey together. I bought the car in 1998, worked on it constantly for the next six years including two engine changes, three sets of wheels, two face lifts (ohhhh,Buddy Club), two sound systems, interior change, brake swaps, attempted shaved moldings, multiple Band-Aid paint jobs, and a few things I care not to mention.

We parted shortly when I reverted the car to stock and gave it to my cousin. He drove it around for a couple years, took good care of her, and graciously gave it back to me when he left for college in 2006 (Thanks Justin!). Reunited and it feels so good..

Fast forward to present day....

The car needed a paint job bad, and I couldn't justify spending a couple thousand for it. The quick, cheap Miracle and One Day paint jobs are atrocious. There seems to be no happy medium for this dilemma until.......... I read about the $75 Paint Job. There are threads upon threads that cover this topic. The results aren't perfect, but for what I was expecting it was more than enough. In case you're not familiar with the $75 Paint Job, it's basically a paint job using household Rust-O-Leum paint in a can and rolling it on the car with a small metal roller. ***Insert Laughter Here****

Did I say roll it on???????? YES, I DID!!! I was hysterical when I first read about this technique, but I was convinced after doing more research. Instead of rolling it on, which requires much more sanding, I decided to use 4" foam brushes after reading about the technique from another blog.

I started with some prep work, sanding the body down to make a smooth surface. With nothing more than Mineral Spirits, a few foam brushes, and a quart of oil based, Sunrise Red Rust-O-Leum from Home Depot, I painted my car like Daniel Son. I could hear Mr. Miyagi saying "UP....DOWN....UP....DOWN"

I was probably too anal retentive since I sanded the car in between coats. In the grand scheme of things, I didn't need to do this. I could have saved lots of time by painting a few coats before sanding. I used 600 grit for stubborn drips and overlay and a brief 800 grit over the rest of the car for the paint to adhere better. On the final coat, I worked with 800 grit for the large flaws then moved up to 1000 and 1500 for the final sand. If I didn't have any large flaws, I would have gone straight to 1000 grit. After the 1500 grit, I was ready to buff the car. I realize the point of this is to create a smooth surface. Each level of sandpaper takes out more of the scratches to create this surface. Smooth surface = mirror finish.

After the physical sanding, I went to buffing the car with Rubbing Compound using my orbital. The compound takes out medium scratches made from the 1500 grit paper. Polishing Compound followed. By this time, I could see the shine. The more I buffed the more I saw my reflection, the more I saw the fruit of my labor. I finished with a car show shine followed by carnuba wax.

The Verdict:
I am super pleased with the results and surprised by how good it looks. Is it perfect? FAR FROM IT. There are flaws due to my carelessness, and you can see the brush marks if you look close enough. Hey, even ugly people look good from far away. In all seriousness, my roll on job reminds me of a restored factory paint job. At first glance the flaws are hidden and this paint job sure looks ten folds better than it did originally. Knowing that I can grab touch up paint and redo any section provides me peace of mind. I'm so stoked about having Ruby around again. I can't wait to make it look the way I've always wanted to. My CTR front and rear lips are in the process of being painted, and I'll be installing my JDM fog lights soon.

The paint job is such a burden relief. I'm so hyped that I feel like going on a late night cruise right now. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE......


  1. dude whats up with the license plate surround?!?!

    i need to see this soon, looks good man.