Sometime in its past the TR6 had an owner with an addiction. (I suppose anyone silly enough to own a Triumph probably has some form of addiction. Likely an addiction to the smell of burning oil. But that's not what I mean.) They were addicted to touch-up paint. Absolutely in love with it. They needed to hold it, to fondle it, to see it's lustrous color-matched sheen everywhere. Sadly the end result is a car with dozens of brushed on gobs of paint. And I do mean brushed on. Maybe the little mountains of paint look better than the scratches they're covering. But I doubt it.
Today I bit the bullet and tried to fix them. I've never worked with automotive paint before (except for painting the bike which I don't think counts). I assumed there was a good chance I'd ruin it and have to get the whole car professionally repainted but if I did nothing I'd probably have to get it repainted in order to sell it anyway.
I did a little reading (to reaffirm what I thought I already knew) and headed off to buy supplies:
- Sandpaper (320 grit)
- A few microfiber cloths
- Sandpaper (600 grit)
- Some foam applicator pads
- Sandpaper (1500 grit)
- A small bowl of water
- Rubbing compound (which is essentially 2000 grit sandpaper)
Notice the sandpaper? Yeah, me too. It's the #1 reason I haven't tried this before. The idea of taking sandpaper to a car just makes me cringe. I don't care if it's 1500 grit it's still sandpaper!
This is where I started. (It's hard to get a picture that really shows how messy these touch-ups are but bear with me.) There are three spots in a triangle around the reflection of the light. All of them big enough to catch a fingernail on.
I started with the 320grit. (I should have gone straight to the 600.) Here's what a few minutes of wet sanding produced.
This is when I started to freak out. I used to have 3 quarter-size spots that were only visible from within about 20 feet. And now I've made the problem areas 3 times larger and 10 times as obvious. Well, I'm committed now I might as well keep going. The 600 grit yielded...
Great. It still looks bad and now the spots are huge. My understanding was that 1500 grit will clear this up.
Wrong. I've now ruined about 10% of the entire hood in an attempt to fix three minor blemishes. I feel pretty stupid. Moving on to the rubbing compound.
I've spent 4 hours to address 6 similar areas. Some were more successful than others but all of them are an improvement.
Hopefully I'll say the same thing when I get the car out of the garage and into the natural sunlight.