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Part 2: Is it Original Paint or Not?

This is an original paint Dan Gurney Spoiler II.


This is Part 2 (to see Part 1 Click Here) dealing with the painting of the Cyclone Spoiler and Spoiler II. However, this article also applies to the Talladega and most cars of that vintage.

How many times have you been to a car show or even just admiring a fellow gearhead’s clean ride in a parking lot and he says “It’s all original”? It seems that in some circles, if the car has the original color of paint the factory used then it is an original paint job! I think everyone here knows the difference between an original factory paint job and a restoration shop’s original color repaint. If you are responding to an ad for a car for sale the difference can be huge. I was helping a friend sell an all original 50’s vintage Corvette that had one repaint. It looked very original but the difference in price was $50,000 less with the repaint! In fact, some potential buyers were not even interested with a repaint regardless of price.

If you are looking to buy a car and you question the paint, what do you say? The owner may tell you it is the original color or a repaint in the original color. In the worst case they will swear it is the factory paint. How can you tell for sure?

Here is what are own experts have to same. First “Here come the (FCA) Judge, Marty Burke.

Most of the time, on a partial repaint you can see a parting line, normally made by masking tape or look for signs of over spray in areas like under the hood or wheel wells. Overtime, especially with older resprays, you can see a difference in the way the paint has faded on different panels. Keep in mind that what I just stated is not a SURE way to know that a car has had some paint work, but it would lead you to investigate further & a keen eye will be able to pick up most of the areas that have been touched up or repainted.

I also asked Marty to give us some insight as to what a Show Judge for FCA looks for in determining when an original paint car qualifies as original even with some touch ups.

I would like to see at least 75% of the car to have original paint to be classified this way. That being said we need to take it on a case by case basis depending on the car.  If a car had its fender replaced due to an accident a long time ago, chances are that the door will have some repaint due to “blending” in the color & it would depend on how far that particular painter sprayed onto the door.  But 75% original paint is a good number.

Next up, Rick Ochs is back with his thoughts on original paint.

The 1069 Spoiler’s, Spoiler II’s and Talladega’s were painted with what Ford called a “Thermostat Acrylic Enamel ” this enamel allowed Ford to bake the finish after it was sprayed. If you are looking at a Spoiler that is said to have an original factory paint job you can test the paint to see if it is indeed Acrylic Enamel. One of the best ways is to use a mil gauge. This tells you how thick the paint is. A factory paint job from Ford in 1969 will be 3 to 4 mil’s thick; 6 to 8 mils if the car has been damaged at one time or resprayed. This enamel was know for orange peel and ran easily if put on to heavily. A good places to look are along the fire wall, under the hood, trim moldings and in the trunk. Look for added paint lines or runs. In door jams, under door rubbers, trunk seals are also good areas to look for signs of a repaint.

If you think the car was striped to metal and re-primed look for overly glossy base clear coat finishes. It is hard to come up with a 100% match to a factory paint job. Not in the color match but in the texture of the paint. The factory used additives that helped in drying and the baking of the finish.

You can use tools like a spot checker to look for filler or repair to damaged area’s. We were once fooled by a truck that was a dealership parts truck sold to a local man. After a few years he wanted it cleaned up only to find out as we got into it we found a door filled with filler. He went back to the dealership and found out the damage was a factory repair before it left the plant. Also, a 40 + year old paint job will show some wear, a chip here and there. Look at the lower rocker panels, wheel wells, door sills and most of all look at moldings or door trim screws. If the car was striped to metal and re-painted clips, bolts and screws will show this indications of a repaint. A closer look by a well trained eye will see what at first might have been missed or was covered up by rubber or trim panels. No one can re-do one 100% as the factory did and the paint in today’s world is no way the way as it in 1969! 

Dan Gurney Drag Pack
This is also an original paint Dan Gurney but this is a Spoiler and the quality of the original paint and body is far less than the Spoiler II.

My response to the original paint statement goes like this: “You mean that is the original color not the original paint; it is way too good to be from the factory!” Then I get the: “Well yes, it is the original color but new paint.” or, I get: “No, that is the original paint.” With the second response I then follow the lead of the experts above and take a much closer look to decide for myself.

Next Time:

Part 3: What is a DSO?


Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

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