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#3426715 - 07/16/14 05:20 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: djb]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 12570
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: djb
I've read that many European consumers prefer orange peel because it suggests a thicker, longer-lasting paint layer.

This is more perception than reality, but perception is important for selling a new car.

My observation is that water-based paints resulted in easily chipped coatings when they were introduced in the late 1990s, but that they improved by 2002 to resist chips but still have peeling issues.



Orange peel is the byproduct of mass-production paint processes. A good body shop can get you a "thick, long-lasting" paint job like OEM without the orange peel. In fact, most body shops can easily surpass an OEM paint finish.

The only exceptions might be some of the very high-end exotics that are meticulously examined by hand and corrected, but I have been to enough car shows to know that even brand new Ferraris have orange peel.

Orange peel is actually a good way for me to tell that the car probably has the original paint. Body shop paint jobs are often too perfect.
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#3426717 - 07/16/14 05:23 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
cashmoney Offline


Registered: 03/23/13
Posts: 208
Loc: TX
Current factory paint is a lot better and longer lasting than paint jobs on 60s and 70s cars. GM silver paint on my 1979 Grand Prix was complete trash. The silver paint burned up and oxidized in about 4 years time and the car was washed and waxed regularly and garaged! That experience permanently cured me of purchasing GM POS cars.


Edited by cashmoney (07/16/14 05:24 PM)

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#3426736 - 07/16/14 05:40 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
stro_cruiser Offline


Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 477
Loc: Coconut Creek, South Florida
My buddys Audi A6 floors me every time I see it, the paint looks an inch deep....its one of the best ive seen.
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#3426758 - 07/16/14 06:04 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
7055 Offline


Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 273
Loc: KS
Did cars from the 60's and 70's have orange peel on them though? I have heard that they didn't but I was not around.
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#3426837 - 07/16/14 07:34 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
Volvohead Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 3550
Loc: SE Pa
Yes, orange peel has always been present to some degree on just about every car. But how it is handled varies.

Coating technology has improved enormously since the '60s. Many years ago, if you spilled alcohol on Duco, you had a problem. The later lacquers were a bit better, but still had UV issues. Applicators got around these problems by laying down a heavier coating, to permit more corrections as the paint aged. Today's urethane paints are really durable. My body man didn't like the recent changes in some water-based products, but they haven't seen a problem with durability.

Paints are so good today, people forget how hard it was with silver paints.

Good urethane auto paint is quite expensive. The issue has always been how much paint a manufacturer is going to "spend" per vehicle. That affects how to deal with orange peel. Chrysler owners from the mid 80s into the '90s know all about not enough paint. They were too worried about it peeling off the car to even think about orange peel.

But as you move up market, you get the highest grade coatings, and more of it. That extra coating depth allows more margin for corrections, including removing residual orange peel.

Some owners of near exotics and exotics will spend four to five figures with top detailers to bring down the clearcoat to remove every last hint of orange peel. These cars do not have thin coatings. The cars look beyond incredible.

I had my detailer do that on a much lighter scale on our R129 when we got it. That car has the paint depth to do it. But I don't think I'd ever even attempt that with our '11 Chevy truck. The paint is very good . . . but there just isn't enough there for serious corrections. Like everything else, the more you spend, the more you get.

Corrosion resistance is more a matter of the panel content and prep than the coatings. You can chisel the paint off an old Volvo and it will take forever to rust. If you nicked a late '70s Honda, rust spread like the plague.


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#3426842 - 07/16/14 07:39 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: dparm]
Volvohead Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 3550
Loc: SE Pa
Originally Posted By: dparm


Orange peel is actually a good way for me to tell that the car probably has the original paint. Body shop paint jobs are often too perfect.


Very true. A good shop will almost always lay down a thicker coating than factory. And savvy car brokers know this too, and can measure the differences in paint thickness to detect collision work, which is never good for value.

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#3426865 - 07/16/14 07:56 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: eljefino]
Volvohead Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 3550
Loc: SE Pa
Originally Posted By: eljefino
. . . and some real junkers like the "Ford Escort Pony" came with dull paint as well.


My wife bought a new '88 1/2 Escort Pony, in red. She loved it. The paint was not dull, but we kept it polished. Admittedly, it did not have a lot of power and was a little crude. But it never broke down and was the only car we ever sold where we got back a thank you card.

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#3426955 - 07/16/14 08:58 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
hattaresguy Offline


Registered: 06/01/11
Posts: 5239
Loc: CT
Modern paints seem to hold up quite well.

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#3427207 - 07/17/14 07:38 AM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
supton Offline


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 5073
Loc: NH
My Toyota's have junk paint, chip easily. At least the undercoating/galvanizing isn't bad. My Jetta had better paint but it too got chipped. IMO unless if you garage it the vehicle is consumer item, expect the paint to go bad eventually. The paint is just one more thing to go wrong, like any of the mechanicals.
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#3427314 - 07/17/14 09:32 AM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
morepwr Offline


Registered: 01/17/12
Posts: 1329
Loc: ventura, ca
I am not a huge fan of the two stage paints. Most of the time when you see a paint job going bad it is because the clearcoat starts peeling off. At least on the old single stage paints, you could buff it back to a shine in most cases.

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#3428783 - 07/18/14 08:55 PM Re: Have factory paint jobs gotten worse or better? [Re: 7055]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6935
Loc: Florida
I was used to V6 or turbo FWD cars from the 80s getting very little of life from the hood paint. Were the auto makers much less careful about underhood temperatures back then, or is the newer paint that much more resistant to heat?

I think maybe the former is true, as those kinds of 80s cars were unreliable when compared to the nearest RWD car, the 80s Nissan Maximas are an excellent exapmle of this.
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