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Original Factory Paint Finnish How Good?


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Hi all,


Just having one of those moments when an odd thought comes to mind.


Back in the day, lets say a period from 1965 to 70 ish what was the paint Finnish like on cars as they left the Triumph factory?


Were they as glossy and 'reflective' as modern day paint jobs or just 'polished' somewhat.


The reason I ask is that looking at archive film of Triumph car bodies being sprayed in the factory, it is all done by hand, no robots.


The painters are spraying the paint with a gun that appears to be emitting clouds of paint with probably 70% going into the atmosphere and their lungs.


Footage from the era does not show (at least what I have seen) any followup finishing processes, like using large circular buffing mops to polish the paint.


Was this done but not filmed? Or was the Finnish of the paint straight out of the gun good enough?


Just my random thoughts for the day.

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common practice in the days gone by was straight out the gun,  with some down draft ventilation and extraction over a water trough

and side filters.


any buffing was only to rectify  any runs or overspray etc.

there would be some negative ventilation in the 60s but not like current practice

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So, is that technique used today still?


Only whenever you look up how to spray a car the steps always include flatting and cutting/polishing.


Just wondered why the method was ok back then and changed now, or is that just for DIY respray.


Do large car manufacturers still just spray by (robot) gun and that is it.


Or is it because people expect percent mirror Finnish an all panels?

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Have a look at brand new cars, they are far from mirror finish. They have a light orange peel effect.


The guys who sprayed in the factory were rater good at it, and conditions set up to produce good results. Today a litlebetter.

I have sprayed metallic basecoat (which you spray and leave) followed by 2K lacquer. Looked pretty good to me with no extra work, more luck than judgement I expect. But I doubt bodyshops do a lot of flatting/polishing, too time consuming.

DIY usually need it to get a decent shine. I know I do on solid paint.

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Yeah, but not as quick as Fords!


Thanks for that document Casper. I knew I'd seen something somewhere about Heralds being dipped. I seem to recall being told that the phosphate process was cancelled as part of the British Leyland economies in '72 (??) and that BL also started buying their sheet metal from whomever was cheapest, meaning that '70's cars rusted like you know what. Not so much sheet metal, more sh*te metal.


Cheers, Richard

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Galloping scab seen on capri avenger dollys and many others was down to not controlling the phosphate

processes, think about a basket of peas vs a basket of footballs

the process should give a tight molecular skin if over doing it gave the football effect and corrosion

crept though the open network and rust buckets prevailed in the 70s


well something like that


we had one of the first and the biggest electrophoretic tank in the industry it could take a bus body

took lots of controls to get early E coat techy to be reliable but it transformed corrosion .








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So back to the paint finish then;


Is all the flatting and polishing in 'today's' classic car circles just to have paint that looks like a mirror finish?


Is it 'todays restorers' that are expecting to much or above what was originally shipped when they polish their paint jobs to mirrors?


Just wondering. I know modern restorations look great, but I have found at shows that some cars look over polished and shiny in the paint department.


Maybe because I saw the cars in the 70's and 80's and thats the finish I understand and accept and not todays concourse extravagance.


Still, we have learnt some stuff on this thread already, thanks for all the input guys.

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Dont forget in the 60 70 s it was a routine sunday job to polish the car, and get a depth of shine , black the tryes and go for a run


a many a modern has a lacquer clear top coat and polishing is thing of the past it only cleans the lacquer doesnt improve the shine in the pigment



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This is entirely unscientific, but i can tell you that I cut up my original 68 herald boot lid for repair sections when I restored my car, because it had a nasty kink in it where the hinge had been strained. That panel sat in a damp garage for over a year, with bare metal on show, and hardly rusted, while other sheets of flat steel offcuts taken from the scrap bin at college were coated with surface rust in no time. The conclusion I drew was that the steel Triumph were using at Canley was pretty damn good, and that the rot the cars acquired over time was the result of poor rust protection and built-in rot traps.




Steve C

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I concur.

Cut some rusty metal out of a herald, and chopped a repair panel to suit.


The remains of both left by the garage (as you do)


A year of so later nothing left of the "new" panel offcut, but the original bit looked little different.


I always salvage panels to provide steel to make repair panels myself. It just feels much better when you work/shape it.

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