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NEVER use credit cards!
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remember the movie the Perfect wave? these surfers spent there whole life looking for it. or the perfect woman. does she really exist? is there such a thing for say, oh i dunno, ten thousand dollars, to get a paint job that is straight, no faded spots, no little tiny divots (camaro), no hair in the clear coat (my tempest), no flecks of dirt in the paint gun or dust settling here or there, no overspray, etc etc? Are our expectations too high? are we living in fantasy land? do you have to spend $25K to get perfection when every f'ing car that rolls out of detroit or tokyo seems to have a perfect paint job? somebody straighten me out.
 

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I've painted over 2 dozen cars (Not pro by any measure) but have yet to avoid pretty big flaws like you describe. I don't think it is possible. I rationalize it by claiming the Indian exemption; legend is American Indians intentionally introduced a flaw in every craft project they made, i.e., green bead in a red and blue necklace, because only God is perfect. And, I am consoled by the fact that I am the only one who knows there is a flaw.
 

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or Jeff, or Doc, or...
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A friend of mine is a retired bodyman. He told me that there is no such thing as a perfect paintjob. I told him bull. (sorry Sam) We went to the Nationals together and at the PPG trailer, there were 8-9 cars in the "booth". I figured I had him. He was buying my lunch. WRONG. He showed me over 2 dozen flaws on a car I thought was killer. NO runs, drips or errors, I thought. Look near the rockers, there's a sag. Oops there's overspray, missed blocking out that low spot-see the reflection difference? Look at the lighter shade in that C pillar.. it went on and on. Again, this car looked mint. Get the magnafying glass, and its a "turd". This was in front of a PPG trailer, PPG sponsored,highlighted car! This was an award winning car! It only got worse from there. Fortunatly, he took it easy on me for lunch....
 

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As bodymen, i think we will allways find flaws in EVERY paint job if we look hard enough. Every New car is far from perfect, even my pals $80K porshe, it's damn nice, but not perfect, if i remeber correctly there was a substancial spot above the rear wheelwell that needed to be buffed smooth because the clear wasn't applied correctly or it had contaminants ect. To people that don't do bodywork, or dont look as hard, there is such a thing, but we know what to look for and where and are more tough on paint jobs because we are tough on our own.

So in closing, my thought is it might be possible, but extremely unlikely, too many variables to control, and too many critics ;)
 

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AMEN,,,,, I go to the North American Auto show at COBO Hall in Detroit almost every year. These are supposed to be the cream of the crop. The best, fantastic, flawless, etc. etc.

Then when you get past the hype, the fancy lighting, models and displays. Get down on one knee and look at the paint/body work, really look. I looked at a GM "Future" car that was so bad, paint wise. That anybody with a Cheap gun, some enamel paint and a garage could have done a better job. I pointed out the problems to my buddies and they started to see all the other paint problems in the show!!

No such thing as perfect. Near perfect, means there was a lot of pre and post paint, prep and repair.
 
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This post reminds me of a case I handled when I was an insurance adjuster. We had had a hail storm and were having alot of claims for hail damage. When the damage wasn't too severe, I would write the estimate for "paintless dent repair". I explained to this customer of the repair type that I was writing for. He told me that that was fine, but his car better be perfect, because it was before the storm. He was driving something like a Ford Taurus. I looked at him and told him that he would be happy with the repair, and that it would be better, because it would prevent the necessary repaint of the vehicle. He again stated that it better be perfect. I told him that we needed to look at his "perfect" car again, because I have never seen one. I quickly walked around his car pointing out several "major flaws" in his perfect car. Each time I pointed something out, he would look closely and admit to it. He then told me that he had thought it was perfect. Obviously it wasn't perfect, but to him it was.

Of course, this is a common problem that is faced by insurance adjusters and body shops almost daily.

The body shop that I work in does more BMW and Honda work than any other makes, even though our owner has franchises for most of the other makes. The ones that are easiest to work on are actually the BMW's. They have the best fit and finish from the factory. There are no problems with the fit of the factory parts as long as any structural damages are repaired properly. We do have new car customers from the BMW dealership come in regularly with complaints about flaws in the paint. They check them closely too.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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Honestly, you bet you butt there are perfect jobs. Of course "perfect" is a relative word. If you mean a paint job where no normal human being would find anything more than an "exceptable" flaw like ONE or two pin point size specs on an entire car, that would be "perfect" to me.

I worked at a restoration shop back when I first started in this business. We did a number of award winning show cars. I had all the time in the world, NEVER was I told to speed it up or something like that. I produced cars with flawless cut and rubbed door jambs, firewall even wheel wells behind the fenders! This was lacquer and I would cut EVERY SINGLE SPECK of orange peel out of the paint on EVERY square inch including the jambs firewall, etc. This was after every five coats (five, then sand,five then sand, five then sand and buff). I did the same thing with the primer prior to painting.

We are talking under the lips of the fenders and around the back of the lip.

And I have said it before, I don't think this takes a lot of skill, just time. And because of this I am convinced, I have seen it, home hobbyests with little to no expericance produce near flawless paint jobs. If any one of us had the time to do it, we could.
 

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not sure

im not sure about a perfect paint job but iv'e seen some near perfect ones.
down where i live theres a guy that does restoration on nothing but Mercedes Benz limos ,this guy gets cars from all around the world ,china , Iran etc.
i once went to his shop looking for some floor tile since he was located behind this tile store. i walked in his shop and there i seen this older mbz limo ,this thing was flawless he had the doors off sitting on a stand ,he was water sanding them and he had the jams all taped up ,all the molding holes were sealed up with what looked like seam sealer ,i wasn't sure why everything was sealed because they were all gutted. next door he has a mechanic shop where he has them take out the engine and every removable part
every bolt was cad plated . you look in the vents and parts that never see and it was all painted and smooth.
i really didn't know why he put all this time into these cars ,the cars that came in were already clean nothing wrong but maybe a nice rub and would be ready to return , but as he was telling me about the cars, he was telling me about rich asz people that brought these cars to him. just to be redone, they looked like them cars you see the Arab kings being driven in on TV.
 

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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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Certainly there is such a thing a a perfect paint job. You just keep working on it until it is perfect. Thats why they cost so much.
Lots of time and time and more time.

Troy
 

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There is no such thing as perfect, just mighty darned good. If you examine anything closely enough, you can find flaws at some scale. Your flat panel: I'll check it out with a short-wave laser and show you how wavy it really is. It might be possible to achieve "perfect" to the unaided eye but not true "perfect".
In the real world, an engineer might say, "It's good enough for all practical purposes."
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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By the way guys, looking at those custom and rod show cars is not usually a good example of a "perfect job". Many are pretty close, I have mentioned before the one in a show I was involved in that cost $63,000 for the PAINT job. A judge at the event told me off the record that it was he best paint work he had ever seen in years of judging.

But I have to tell you, this is not the norm. Look closely at the paint on a few of the "big boys" jobs at the next show. Get down and look at it from a different angle. Look at it will a little shade from the lights, some of these cars will start to look pretty crappy.

The reason is, they are pushed BIG TIME. If you think the deadlines the guys are making with the hot tempers and hair pulling is staged on the "reality shows" think again. I have been around these shops for years, the month before any major show, they are like a swarm of bees.

I have seen cars in bare metal and plastic filler a week before the show! I have seen cars get multi coats of candy and clear a day or two before the show! Cut and buffed starting at three in the morning the day of the show! Cars that are still being glazed and polished or parts intalled as it is sitting on the trailer!

Heck, I have seen parts being installed on the car sitting in the main area in the show!

The solvent trapping issue that has been discussed on this forum is a BIG issue with many of these cars. Check out the paint on the last day of the show, many are dying back from the first days gloss.

One top painter I know of was being honored at the Oakland Roadster show (first one was 1949, it has now moved to LA and is called the "Grand National Roadster show") as and inductee into the hall of fame. He had one of his signature custom paint jobs there along with a few old cars he had built over the years. The newest one had HORRIBLE paint work. Standing back, it looked awsome with graphics all over and great color choice. But up close, and I don't mean real close, I mean standing there a few feet away, it looked like a poorly done quicky job. The base had horrible texture, it had junk in it, poor taping, etc. All buried under a pile of clear that is sure to shrink up to a matte finish in a few days.

Point being that those "perfect" paint jobs are few and far between.
 

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Shop Owner And Troll Hunter
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MartinSr is right on the money with that last post.

During my show circuit days, that was the norm every three years, as we had to make several changes every three years if the car was a champion ship car, and you wanted to continue to compete for points. Is was common to smell the new paint at the first few shows of the season. I have had to do the finishing touches a few times in the trailer and at set up time.

The last time we changed the car to a full custom, there was six body men and there wives and some friends that worked around the clock for three weeks. The car was loaded in the trailer while the wife and I went to the house and packed and prepared to hit the road for a four month tour. The pin stripper was finishing up in the trailer while we were gone. We were scheduled to be in Salt Lake for the season opener the first weekend of Jan. We left Arkansas the day before with no sleep for several days, in a snow storm that lasted all the way there. The wife begged me to turn back, or let her out so she could get a plane ticket and go back home. We had a few close calls and some of the trip I did not remember. When we finely got there, the show was already 99% set up. Our spot was in the front door beside Ermmie Emersos Golden Star roadster, that meant we had to carry every thing a long ways or back the rig down the isles through the whole show to the front of the building. I was in no shape for that kind of precision backing, thanks to a lot of friends and a professional bomb hauling truck driver, we were set up and ready to go when the show opened, even with a new very complected neon display that had never been completely set up.
To make a long story short we won Best Custom and Best individual display.

Troy
 

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I need a bucket of arc sparks
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All it would take is one little short drive down a road and a rock being picked up by a tire and flung against a panel to make a perfect car imperfect. There might be such a thing as a perfect paint job , but it won't be if the car is ever driven anywhere. When I paint a car I strive to do the best I can, if I am not happy with it, I fix it. I don't try to strive for perfection on painting a car, life is too short to worry about trying to make things perfect.
 

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Perfect is a big word. When a customer tells me they want a perfect paint job I wanna say, you better get God to paint it. If the money is right a perfect paint job is possible. When customers come to pick up their cars there had better not be a imperfection as big as a pin head or they are gonna find it.
 

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I agree with many others if you look hard and long enough you are bound to find some type of imperfection somewhere, I think it is impossible to pull off an imperfection free paint job, and the hours involved to acheive a step below perfection are tough to acheive if your going to get paid for them. If someone has an unlimited budget and is willing to pay you to "fix" every slight imperfection you could probably spend years working on it and then you always have shrinkage as a factor "after" its "perfect". So settle for next best in my opinion, I mean after all where do you draw the line.
 

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Stuck in the 30's
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You want to see a perfect paint job ??? You should have seen mine the day it left the shop.

My friend who did the work said "enjoy it now because its all down hill from here."

Guess what first ding on the ride home.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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troy-curt said:
Is was common to smell the new paint at the first few shows of the season. Troy
LOL. I had forgot that. I haven't entered a car in an indoor show in about ten years. But honestly, even after set up, a few days into the show you can STILL smell the "Paint". What you are actually smelling are the solvents flashing off.

In fact, I am going to the San Francisco Rod and Custom show tomorrow and I'll bet I will still be able to smell it.
 

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First of all I think this needs to be defined as to perfect paint vs body work.
If you found a car with perfection of both I think it would be rare.
Can you get perfect paint by itself (forgetting the bodywork) Yes if your willing to spend the time.

One of the TV guys made a statement to me last summer, that they wet-sand till slick and if they break through the paint so be it. They re-shoot that panel, be it 2 or 4 times, it don't matter!

The bottom line is, if you will take the above guys attitude and do what needs to be done and time is not an issue you can make anything perfect.

It was a lot easier in the lacquer days as the simplicity of the paint a painters helper could do a custom job. (and many did)
Since the demise of lacquer those so called custom painters just kinda disappeared from the show car circuit. You can read things said on here from old timers and know if that process was used on a show car with Base Clear it would not last till it got to the show, let alone win anything!

There is a guy in north Atlanta that is making a killing and all he and his wife does is wet-sand and buff new paint jobs to a show finish.
Costs start at $1000 and all he says to shop is make sure there is enough clear on there to buff slick. If he breaks through the shop gets the car back to fix the panel and the car is put to the back of line, a 30 day wait, when I was in there a month ago.
 
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