The True Value of Original Paint
Author: Andre Clemente, Founder of New Old Cars, LLC ©
About the author
Last updated: July 16, 2020
Keep in mind that the cherry old cars you see on this site don’t just look that way because they sat untouched in a massive collection their entire life. Vehicles in this condition require a smart, patient owner (and yes, a garage to sleep in when not in use). Someone, for example, who knows how to properly wash and dry a car with care. Someone who knows how to keep the paint protected both when driving and in storage. Someone who knows to never “over detail” a car (or detail it too frequently), wearing down the paint. Possessing this kind of knowledge is more important than owning a massive climate-controlled garage, as there are big collectors out there who don’t have a clue as to how to maintain their vehicle’s paint.
You see, it’s one thing to keep a car mechanically running strong for 30 years (we applaud you). But it takes someone uniquely special to keep the original paint looking beautiful for that same period (while driving it, I might add).
Seriously, just think about how difficult that is. Someone who can buy a car new (or slightly used), drive the car, and keep the original paint looking fresh for almost 30 years.
A car that retains its original paint 20 or even 30 years later says a lot about the car, and even more about its owner.
Too many vehicles are wrongfully (or intentionally) marketed as “original paint”, hogging the spotlight from the true survivors and forcing the buyer to overpay for the wrong car. New Old Cars was founded on the dedication to put an end to this immorality, which is why I wrote the ultimate inspection guide explaining everything you need to know when confirming whether or not a car is wearing all of its original paint.
But possessing that knowledge is pretty pointless unless you understand the true value of original paint.
THE TRUE VALUE IS IN THE SCIENCE
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Factory paint is HARD
When you have a high temperature curing process that practically melts the paint to the body (and evaporates all the water from the waterborne paint), you are left with a finish that has an incredibly high cross-link density (a simple explanation of what this is can be found here). The high cross link density means that factory paint jobs are much harder than any respray done by your local body shop. This helps explain the superior scratch and paint chip resistance over a respray.
The goal here is not to put down the refinishing industry – they do an incredible job considering what they have to work with. Unlike the manufacturer, they aren’t worried about ensuring the thinnest coat possible, nor are they under a rushed factory setting. And while this article emphasizes strength and longevity, most body shops who put the time in are easily capable of producing a far more beautiful finish than what comes out of the factory. Unfortunately, many insurance repairs don’t see this level of dedication, and the quality shows.
In the end, the goal is to shine a brighter spotlight on the cars wearing their original paint. It’s a guarantee – not a gamble – that a re-painted car will chip easier, offer less scratch resistance, and wear at a faster rate than the factory paint job ever could. So, collectors – you aren’t just chasing the factory finish for its originality – you are after it’s strength, uniformity, and longevity.
Andre Clemente, Founder of New Old Cars, LLC ©
Article last updated: July 16, 2020
About the Author: Andre Clemente, a member of the Society of Automotive Historians (SAH), has spent over 12 years in the business of buying and selling cars – half of those years were dedicated to the classic car/sports car business. As an automotive paint fanatic, Andre has been hyper-focused on learning paint correction and inspecting automotive paintwork, working alongside veteran dealers, brokers, and a licensed Concours judge in the process. Years of real-world practice and application gave him the experience to identify inaccuracies and myths that are widely accepted when authenticating a vehicle’s paint job. Rather than keep his knowledge as a trade secret, he has decided to share the research and insider details he’s learned to help educate the collector car community, and ultimately shine a brighter light on the cars truly wearing their original paint.
Other articles you may enjoy:
How To Confirm Original Paint On Any Car
Orange Peel: Why Your New Car’s Paint May Look So Bad
Those Paint Defects Most Likely Aren’t From The Factory
Why “Factory Overspray” On Vintage Cars Is So Misunderstood
What A Paint Thickness Gauge Really Tells You
Why Are Bumpers a Different Shade from The Rest of The Car?
…and more, in the Tech section!
Additional Article Sources:
The top coating manufacturers in the world (BASF, Axalta, PPG, as well as paint evaluation tool suppliers like BYK) spend hundreds of thousands of dollars conducting tests, case studies, and other forms of research. This material is supplied to car makers to help educate them on why they need to invest in their tools and equipment in order to save money in the paint shop and produce a better looking product. Much of this material is available online in the form of textbooks, brochures, in-depth papers, and more. While highly technical, NOC’s silly obsession for knowledge on this topic means we dissect virtually anything we can get our hands on, pick out the interesting stuff, and highlight it in our articles. Below you’ll find some of the material used for this article:
Streitberger, Hans-Joachim, and Dössel, Karl-Friedrich. Automotive Paint and Coatings, 2nd Edition. WILEY-VCH Verlag GmBH & Co, 2008.
Streitberger, Hans-Joachim, and Goldschmidt, Artur. BASF Handbook on Basics of Coating Technology, 3rd Revised Edition. Vincentz Network, March 2018
T. Brock, M. Groteklaes and P. Mischke, “European Coatings Handbook,” Vincentz Verlag, Hannover, 2000.
…and many more! NOC takes incredible pride in posting only the most accurate information with the help of credible sources. Now, because some links are no longer active, not all sources are posted here. These links have been removed from the source’s website for unknown reasons. However, NOC downloads and retains all sources used to stand by every statement in this article. This is done for all articles on our website, and NOC is happy to share this information with the public. Your trust is our number one priority.