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Old 06-18-2019, 09:37 PM
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"Sunburned" Gel Coat

I have just visited my 1931 Model-A fiberglass body at Wescotts in Damascus, OR. The body looks great and is nearly complete. Karl Wescott, son of Dee, the founder, could not have been nicer or more helpful. My wife and I don't love triple-digit temps in AZ. We hide out in Anacortes, WA, during the summer. We dropped off my trailer for the trip home in September.
Here is th e point: Karl showed me one of their bodies (a '32 Ford) that had been driven (in Oregon) for a year or so in just the black gel coat. It looked pretty bad, dull and blotchy. Karl wanted me to see why he thinks paint is necessary over the gel coat
Here are my questions:

(1) Do cars that come originally with fiberglass bodies (i.e. Corvette) have paint jobs ?

(2) Does anyone know of a way to protect the gel coat without paint ? The finish of the fiberglass looks very nice (to me) as is.

I don't want to put all the effort (and money) into a ride that looks like it went across North Africa with Rommel, the desert fox. Please no coomments about how I should have just found a (87-year-old) steel body in the first place.

Buzz (MoonBat)

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Old 06-18-2019, 10:43 PM
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Production fiberglass cars, like the Corvette or the Studebaker Avanti, have always been painted. Never left in just gelgoat.
I'm not sure about the VW kit dune buggy body's like the Meyer's Manx that have a real heavy metal flake, I'm not familiar with that to know if it is paint or just molded in colored gelcoat.

Problem with leaving gel coat as it comes out of the mold is that is has no UV protection, that's why it chalks and goes blotchy.

Maybe scuff it and shoot an Urethane clear coat over it?? I've seen carbon fiber done that way so the weave remains clearly visible.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:50 PM
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Corvette's came painted.

Gel coat can be cut, buffed, and waxed. Think boats and Rv's every couple or three years they need a good buff job to get the chalk off if there has been little maintenance.

Ditto on the gel coat not being as uv stable as automotive urethane gade paints
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:23 PM
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The survival rate of gel coat is to a large degree dependant on the specific chemistry. Epoxies hold up better than polyesters to direct sunlight as the latter continues to cure at a high rate when exposed to ultraviolet radiation of which sunlight is loaded with.

Paint provides a good protection to the underling layers from UV but isn't perfect in that infrared also contributes to continuing the cure so left out in the heat of day will eventually fail the gel coat as well but that takes some years to happen compared to what UV exposure does.

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Old 06-27-2019, 06:55 AM
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Visit a marine shop. There are lots of marine finishing kits available as boats are not always painted. It will probably take sanding with progressively finer grits then finish cut with compound then buff. I would consider paint prep and painting with primer or “gloss primer”. It’s a lot of work no doubt but nothing likely doing a boat that’s twice as wide as the A-bone is long and 35 feet long. No garage to do it in either.
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