The “purists” will scream–not because of the color choice; you could order a 1960 Dart with a Pewter Iridescent body and a white roof. But because I used . . . Rustoleum and a brush! I know that sounds crazy, but let’s see how it turned out . . .
First, a little background: Back in 2017, I had this 1962 Mercury Monterey which was in amazing original condition, including the paint. The problem was, having a car painted all solid tan (actually “Desert Frost”) wasn’t too inspiring.
So I went to Maaco and had them re-spray the roof “Sultana White” which I think really improved the car’s looks. Incidentally, Maaco did an excellent job–the finish was super-smooth, but it cost about $475.
In September of this year, I bought this 1960 Dodge Dart Phoenix which had a dull battleship look. Not that Pewter Iridescent is a bad color choice; it just has to be used artistically. However, the paint on this Dart, unlike the Mercury, is still somewhat tarnished and flawed even after my best efforts compounding and polishing. It has a “patina’d” look, which may be part of the charm. A fresh, professionally painted top just wouldn’t look right with the original lower body paint. And Maaco probably wants $500-$600 to do the roof job today–and I just didn’t feel like paying that.
So I starting thinking, “What is a car roof? It’s a piece of sheet metal. Can’t I paint a paint a piece of metal with a brush? It’ll leave brush marks. But I can sand them out, right?” Well, let’s see.
Brief summary: I started out with my 3″ natural brush and a quart can of Rustoleum Gloss White. I started painting the car, and it looks horrendous (“What have I done?!!”) But hey, it’s just the first coat. Next day, sanded it down real smooth. Applied second coat. Looking better, but still a lot of brush marks. More sanding. Third coat: I discover that by dipping these little applicator pads in the paint and flowing it on in little swirling motions, it goes on smooth as cream! I now have a thick enough layer of white paint to aggressively sand down with a sanding “brick” and Comet cleanser. Then finer sandpaper, compound, and a heavy layer of solid carnuba wax.
So that’s it. Whole job cost me about $20. It’s not perfect, but perfection was not needed. I may do more work on it to make it smoother yet, but I think it’s good enough for now. From 6+ feet away it looks almost new, but I would only recommend this method for older cars showing “honest wear”. Also, doing just the roof is one thing, but I wouldn’t want to paint a whole car this way.
Here are some before & after views so you can see the full effect. I think the white makes the gray “pop” in a new way that is more attractive than before. It also accentuates the sleek styling of the roof itself:
To paraphrase the great Earl Scheib: “I’ll paint any car (roof), any color, for $29.95–no ups and no extras!”
Well, that was how they used to do it before they started spraying paint in the 20’s. And maybe the other good thing is that you have avoided messing with clear coats which have become all but mandatory in any home spray job.
I wonder if 1961 was the zenith of the white roof on a car of a different color?
Here’s a video of the Dodge assembly line c. 1920, seems like they hosed the paint on by then. My grandfather’s next door neighbor had a Dodge touring car like this one. Painting starts at 8:40.
Looks good! Enjoy your mini-tank!
I found a better shot of Deutschman’s ’60 Plymouth:
The white roof looks a whole lot better on the Dodge. But, then, there’s not a whole lot you can do to help the looks of a 1960 Plymouth.
Perhaps park the Mopar next to the same year Ford?
Touché. 1960 wasn’t exactly a watershed year of styling for any of the Big 3.
Job well done, looks good.
I will be probably one of the few who likes the original look better however, but it is a good thing we don’t all have the same taste, would be pretty boring out there!
POP! The two -tone makes the look!
Agreed. The newly painted roof really helps the overall aesthetics!
It looks quite good, then again I like the look on newer cars too, especially/primarily ones where the roof is designed to look like a separate element from the body.
I really didn’t think this was something you’d do, my notion was that you were more a traditionalist and would not modify a car to be different from how it was. I now wonder what’s next!
What it does especially though is highlight in a good way the vents (?) if that’s what they are on top of the roof, I had not noticed them before due to the color of the roof making them blend in. Maybe that’ll be the next trend in modern car design.
That’s the nice thing about less desirable old cars (particularly sedans): they’re not worth all that much (even in cherry shape) so deviating from stock isn’t the huge faux pas that it might be with something considerably more valuable (and better looking). And an experiment like using brush-on paint to create a two-tone roof working out so well is just icing on the cake. TBH, I can’t imagine anyone ‘not’ liking the outcome on this car.
It reminds me of a story about a nice looking 1st gen Mustang Sprint 200 (six cylinder) at a car show. One of those typical knowledgeable guys approached the owner and informed him it wasn’t a real Sprint because it had the fake quarter panel vents (original Sprint Mustangs did not have them). The owner proudly stated that he added them, which obviously decreased the value since it meant drilling holes in sheetmetal. The observer flatly stated, “You’re an idiot” and walked away.
You’ve been quite successful in making your Dodge look even better! That is very good work. Your perseverance has paid off nicely.
I like it. The ol’ Dodge looks leaner and more athletic.
This reminds me of my oldest brother’s first car, a 1963 Impala convertible that had been painted with a roller by one of the previous owners. They did a very neat job, so it was pretty good looking from about 10 feet or more. Up close, there was little or no paint on the trim. Not bad for a young man’s car back in 1973 or ‘74!
That looks fantastic. Much better than just solid gray. I’ve been contemplating doing the faded roof of my beige van in white. I actually did the hood, top, trunk in black on my VW Passat about 4 years ago with Rustoleum. I thinned the paint out about 1/3, applied it with a fine foam roller then knocked the paint back with a fine 3′ brush on long even strokes in one direction. I saw the technique on a video of a guy restoring horse drawn coaches. This car sits outside and the time and the finish has held up.
Good job! The white paint really brings out the chrome. The car already looked good, but this improves the look 100%.
I recently painted the bed of my ’02 Silverado with the exact same paint. It’s not at all the same color as the OEM Olympic White, but hey, it’s a truck bed. And because of that, it doesn’t need to be smooth, either. I convinced myself that any texture in the paint would have anti-slip properties 🙂
I think the thing that sets off the white roof is the rear door/quarter panel chrome trim.
To paraphrase Jeff Lebowski, “It really brings the whole (car) together”.
I approve, both in budgetary as well as aesthetic terms.
A most pleasing-to-the-eyes improvement.
How long did it take for the applicator pad coat to dry?
I let it dry overnight. The can says the paint dries in 24 hours.
Early December is a good time to paint a car outside–no bugs, no falling leaves, no pollen. Luckily we had a few warmer, sunny days!
The fake vents on the roof are so cool! I had never noticed them before.
I think only the top-of-the-line Phoenix had the roof vents.
You also listened to that same great auto paint philosopher, the Earl of Scheib, who also said “You auto paint now!”
Great job! And very cost-effective.
Your ad for “Wype” reminds me of this product that was also widely advertised in the 1920-’50s. Maybe it was even the same stuff, just rebranded. But accounting for inflation, the $3.95 cost for these products would be more expensive than your $20 Rustoleum-and-a-Brush job…
Referencing the WYPE ad I posted, it appears that 2214 Dolman St. has somehow survived the urban blight and highway ram-throughs of St. Louis. It’s got a nice coat of red paint on it–maybe they used WYPE?
I’m glad to see that the Wype Global Headquarters building has endured through the years!
Looks like Wype Corp. had a pretty short lifespan – just a few years in the late 1940s. It was owned by a man named Albert Kaysing, who also operated a poultry supply business out of the same building (unusual mix of uses there). Wype Corp. marketed the painting product, and also a few different types of wax. At some point, the business moved to another location about a half-mile away (2241 Gravois Ave.), but appears to have gone out of business by 1950. Mr. Kaysing passed away in 1955.
It looks great! I am a big fan of inexpensive cosmetic repairs to vehicles that value wise
do not merit a professional repaint. I have used Rustoleum Hammerite paint with great
success in this fashion. The slight texture masks various application and surface sins,
and it wears very well.
My 1992 Nissan with hood, rockers, etc done in this fashion.
Well Done! Looks great. Eastwood offers a new paint base system that’s rollered on. Epoxy sealer and primer though. More sanding for sure, but no need for a spray gun or compressor and less wasted paint. Hoping to use it this Spring on my LeSabre.
I just resprayed the bottom half of my Hillman the roof is yet to be done but I’ll spray that too its an off white creamy grey colour so getting the paint matched should be fun but I know a guy.
When I first started reading Practical Classics in the late 80s quite a few restorations were brush painted because inexpensive spray equipment wasn’t available yet. The British used a technique called coach painting which involved crossed brush strokes and specific paint that produced a very smooth finish.The added benefit was no overspray and lower levels of fumes.
Your job looks great so be proud,
Looks great! Very clean looking…no doubt due in part to multiple uses of Comet Cleanser on the car thus far. 😉
I applaud your bravery in not only plunging into a job like this, but then getting past the “What have I done?!” stage.
You don’t have to be working on a Comet to use Comet cleanser!
I never noticed it before, but it looks like the fuel filler door is a matching chrome cut-out into the rear bumper. That’s the first I’ve seen that and wonder if anyone else did it.
That white top is a very obvious improvement. Fifties cars really look best in two tone. The fact that you did it yourself is an added bonus, The tip to use the applicator pad instead of the brush, is something I’ll store away in my memory. Others have used foam brushes. Hot Rod magazine did a roll on finish on an early Falcon with good results. Multiple coats of brushed on medium with lots of sanding between them is what “piano finishing” is all about.
I used to paint my motorcycles with spray cans, which works well with their smaller sheetmetal areas. After many paint jobs and motorcycles over the years, I found that I could produce professional looking results.
I used to have some guys come up to inspect my bike and they would compliment me on the finish and color scheme. If they asked who painted it I would tell them that I did it, using spray cans. Suddenly they became very critical, looking for imperfections and criticizing the over all quality of the job.
So I tried an experiment. If someone was checking out my bike and asking about the paint, I’d answer the query by saying, ” Oh, I’ve got a buddy that has a body shop in Fresno, and he did for me as a favor.” Their response was usually positive, saying that I had lucked out and the paint was beautiful.
I don’t like to make it easier for haters!
That looks pretty sweet. Nicely done.
Thanks for your bravery, and for letting us look over your shoulder–yeah, that was the decade of two-tone, it’d seem. I appreciate the how-to lesson, specifically the difference that all the sanding + multi-coats makes.
Your Earl Scheib reference prompted me to read the Wiki article–a good illustration of inflation, with the “$29.95” hanging in ’til the late 1960s, and then notching upward to the $99.95 in the 1980s, etc. IIRC, my hometown paper had the ads on Sundays, 3-4 pages into the Sports section. Thanks!
Rustoleum Topside Marine paint is even better. Aircraft are even painted with it, in a similar fashion as you painted cars, without spray equipment. But, not low VOC, so not available in California.
Looks good and practical for a car w/o AC. In the Desert Southwest school buses almost universally have white roofs.
Not crazy at all, not even a little bit. Years ago a guy put up what became a giant thread on the Moparts board about how he roll-paints cars with Tremclad (which is how we say “Rust-Oleum” in Canada). Really good technique advice. That thread suffered link rot and other age-related degradation, but it got widely mirrored all over the web, and here is a substantially-intact copy of his original post with pictures (though they have the obnoxious Photobucket stamp across them).
Yours looks terrific!
I assume this is always a garage kept car?
I remember my Dad speaking one time about a car he or he and his brother painted with a puff ball or something like that. He knew at the time he was telling me about it how absurd it must sound, but said it came out ok for the era. Must have been late 30’s, early 40’s, just prewar.
As far as the current day and Rustoleum, I know a guy who did it. Looked good he said. Until a year or two later when it started oxidizing. Now I wonder if you could do that with cheap auto paint, which is much tougher than Rustoleum.
I painted my 1972 Toyota Hilux this way, and it fit the look perfectly since it was a rust-challenged pick-up with pop-riveted pizza pans substituting the floor pans. I worked with this paint before and knew how to apply it without runs.
Looking good here .
There are multiple web sites about the “$50 paint job” , it’s fiddly but doable for sure .
In the early 1970’s I home painted many vehicles, some looked O.K., all looked better than they did before =8-) .
The shape of the car looks like a missile. The gray roof ruined the lines. The white roof has the same effect of a convertible. The roof disappears a bit and the gray missile look takes over. Big improvement. But it still hard to believe that they went from the simple flowing lines of 1957 to the stubby stodgy looks of 1960.