Duco Or Not Duco – That Is The Question


Have you taken a look at the paint on your car? Lately? Ever?

I did and I do. And I am delighted and horrified by what I see. And this is just my own little green Suzuki Swift – I haven’t steeled myself to study other people’s vehicles.

You see, the paint job I see was flawless when I got the car. Green, shiny, a little metallic…like the most gorgeous jungle beetle you ever saw. I chose the colour because it was Hi-Vis – like the colour they used to paint Euclid tractors and scrapers – and because it was cheerful. No fun driving a glum car. It was pretty, and as I am also pretty – see the top of the blog page – i thought it was appropriate. Stop laughing , ya bastards…

Over the five years I have had the car there has been one accident that required panel beating – though these days they just replace the panels – and the guys in the shop matched the paint on the new bumper perfectly. The problem now is minor paint nicks and scrapes on other parts of the bumpers. I want to retouch them but have come up against a problem: technology.

Old fashioned cars were painted with old-fashioned paints. Solid lacquers or enamels sprayed on at the factory and heat cured. When it came time to repair the paint skin you could sand back, prime coat, and either spray or brush on a new top coat with some prospect of success. As long as you got the original paint colour from the car parts shop you were right.

Now I find that, while there is a factory colour all right, it is a metallic thing sprayed on using some form of electrostatic attraction to allow it to coat better on the body. And there is also the matter of a top-coat glosser that covers this. I think this is a good thing for an unbroken skin as it seems to have kept the bulk of the car free of bird poo marks over the five years…but reapplying it will be a pain. I am looking at the automotive equivalent of a jaw-breaker; layer after layer of different colours or coatings.

Several videos on the internet show the complex stages involved in sanding, filling, undercoating , etc. for even the most basic repair. I am daunted. The only saving grace is the scratches are on a plastic part and thus have not deteriorated with rust over the years.

I’m armed with a small bottle of the factory colour – a small, expensive bottle, I hasten to add. It may have been made by Chanel or Möet , if the price is anything to go on…and I await the windless warm day to tackle the project. The only saving grace is that if the brush business looks horrible, I have a small modellers airbrush and a portable compressor so that I can spray the finish coat.

Wish me luck…


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