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Restoration Blog: Paint Shop for your Porsche® 912 & 912E

912 Registry Members can share technical information, add technical information, and access quality, up to date technical information on our 912 Wiki, and the 912BBS.        Paint Codes and Numbers

From: Cindy Jett, MapMuse.com; Hi, I am writing to let people know that MapMuse.com has recently introduced interactive mapping of auto paint shops across the US. There are presently over 8500 auto paint shops located on the MapMuse maps. The idea is for auto paint shop owners and customers to build upon what we have started by adding information about their local auto paint shops to the maps. The following information can be provided for each auto paint shop- the name, descriptive text, a photo, contact information, and a link to a website. Through this kind of community effort, we hope to have the most comprehensive, and descriptive maps for people to locate auto paint shops at home and on their travels. There is an ADD and EDIT feature on the site. Once a visitor suggests a change, it is reviewed for appropriateness and then posted within a few hours. If you own an auto paint shop, this service constitutes free advertising for your business. You can view the auto paint shop maps by going to the link below: http://find.mapmuse.com/re1/interest.php?brandID=AUTO_PAINT& If you are not familiar with MapMuse.com, we are a highly trafficked mapping website with an Alexa traffic rating of approximately 17,000 in the world. MapMuse’s goal is to help people find places related to their interests. MapMuse continues to add new topics of interest each week. If you have a topic that you would like to see mapped, you can suggest the interest on the MapMuse site, and there is a good chance it will be addressed. If you find our maps useful, we would appreciate it if you would pass the word on to like-minded friends. And if you have an auto related website, blog or newsletter, a mention or a link would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Cindy Jett, MapMuse.com, 1326 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

From: Ron Bateman;  After a fair amount of surfing, emailing, and posting, I've found a path to proper paint mixes for 912 special order factory colors.  The web site below has a color matching data base.   Use line 22 (Glasurit product line 22) if you what a single stage paint system.  Use line 55 if you want a base/clear coat system. Enter Porsche in next line, and your factory paint code or paint name in the last line. The search will give you a product number code, which will lead you to a mixing code. For example, the paint code on my cars doorpost plate is 6016.  The Glasurit code for 6016 is 220. Your local supplier can use the product number (220) code to get the mixing code from the BASF home office.  The color match is perfect. Glasurit  (See also BASF-Glasurit)

From:  Jeanette Ahlgren;  Painting a 912 is like painting any other car. First, find the best paint shop in your area. Then, get up TWICE what ever the shop's HIGHEST estimate is, ( like, BUNDLES of money).  And finally, have your Doctor prescribe you a case of tranquilizers.  EASY! Actually, with the first Porsche we owned, we followed this procedure and it went as expected.  It was a nightmare!  I think I personally aged ten years.  So, we vowed to "do" the next car ourselves.  We bought a book, We read the book. WE bought a turbine sprayer. We read the book that came with the turbine sprayer. We bought the paint (PPG), the plastic wrap, the reducer, the tape, the "anti-fisheye" additive, the hardener, the primer, the filler (I call it Bondo, but paint shops call it filler), AND, asked our Doctor for another case of tranquilizers. We tore the car apart ("OF COURSE I KNOW HOW TO PUT IT BACK TOGETHER!"), and started sanding. We continued sanding. Folks, we did A WHOLE LOT of SANDING. Important here, you will sand until your arms fall off. Even if you use a power sander, there are large areas of a 912 that HAS to be hand sanded. The painting was done after the garage was vacuumed, and the floor and walls were protected with plastic. The actual time of the painting was frighteningly fast; three coats of the final color 20 minutes apart. Then we waited. Then we found out that we didn't REALLY know how to put it back together. A warning, the rear window comes out very easy. Getting it back in, is ANOTHER story. Plan on getting help with this, especially if you replace the gasket. Rubbing the car out; FOLLOW THE PAINT/HARDENER TABLE TO THE HOUR. If you get on it too soon, the paint isn't hard enough to handle it. Wait too long, and you will have serious swirl marks.  The result? $2000. saved, and a very happy 912, and we're even still married ! Jeanette Ahlgren

From: Greg Oslund
A Long Wait for My Porsche 912 Restoration

I’ve always enjoyed cars. My first was a ’71 Ford Maverick which I used to learn basic maintenance and how not to drive. After that, I traded up for two Datsun 510’s (the "poor man’s BMW" according to the salesman). I did an engine rebuild, retrofitted a 5-speed into an automatic body, minor suspension work, added a Weber, etc. That was a simple and fun car, but I definitely had something else in mind. Upon graduating from college in 1988, I started the search for a Porsche; either a 911 or a 912. After doing some research, I opted for the 912 because I wanted something I could maintain to a high level, not just keep it running. I test drove several 912’s in the San Jose area and didn’t find anything that appealed to me. From the start, I wanted something original; even if it needed work. I was, and still am, really turned-off by 912’s with three coats of paint, over-spray, whale tails, painted trim, and body kits. I ended up buying a ’68 912 from the original owner; a friend of a friend. The car lived in Sonoma county, north of San Francisco, it’s entire life. The car had been on jack stands, engine removed, for three years. Burl had the engine rebuilt by a mechanic who I also knew of and it was on the engine stand. He maintained the mechanicals well, but the original paint was shot and the interior needed a lot of cleaning and new carpet. I liked the fact that I knew what I was getting. Only minor dings and a flat spot on each bumper, a fresh engine, and a detailed maintenance record going back to 1971 which included every tune-up and every gallon of gas that was put in. It felt right. So, I put down the $4500 and helped him put it back together and sputtered away. Immediately, I began working on the car. In the first couple of years I rebuilt the carburetors, stripped and painted the floor pan, installed a carpet kit, new door seals, rebuilt the brake calipers, among other things. I needed to do an exterior restoration, but I wasn’t going to do a sloppy job. I wanted it to look as it did originally, which meant taking it to bare metal, glass out, all new seals, etc. So, time marched on and I waited for the right time. Well, after owning the car for seven years I got to a point where I felt like I had to either sell the car or restore the exterior. It just wasn’t fun to drive or wash a car with this horrible oxidized and peeling paint. In the end, I stuck it out, kept my car, and am really glad that I did. When I look back, its almost incomprehensible that I would consider selling "my car". So the decision to keep the car and restore it was made. Now what? I needed a plan.

Project Planning: I wanted the car to be as close to original as I could afford. This would require dismantling most of the body, removing all the glass, stripping, painting, and reassembling the car with new seals. And of course there could be no over spray and all the jambs had to be painted as well. In short, I wanted it to look very nearly new. I knew that I couldn’t afford dropping it off at a restoration shop and paying $6,000 or more to have the work done. Besides, one of the goals was to have fun doing some of the work. So, the question became: what am I capable of doing (skills and equipment) and what should I have a pro do? To get the answer I read several books and talked to as many painters and paint suppliers as I could. I asked detailed questions and started to learn the "process" of painting a car correctly. From there I outlined all the tasks that were required: disassemble the car, clean/restore/re-plate parts, strip the paint, clean the bare metal, rust removal, body repair, metal prep, shoot surfacer, block it out (sand smooth), seal, shoot the color topcoats, polish paint, and reassemble. I put together a list of tasks and the sub-tasks in the order they had to occur and a schedule which would get the job done in 4 months over the winter.

Parts and Materials: Before starting the project, I developed a list of the parts that would be required based on a careful inspection of the car and a review of the parts catalogs. I listed probably 100 individual parts in a spread sheet, noting prices from three of my favorite mail order suppliers. I found a significant variation in prices and that one supplier best provided mechanical parts, another the rubber and interior, and another the obscure small OEM parts. I created a sub list containing the majority of the parts I needed and faxed it to the supplier with the best catalog prices and asked for a quote and indicated that I was looking for a price break given the size of the order. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they did give me a break. As the project progressed, I discovered additional parts that needed to be replaced and ended up making several orders.

Skills: I talked to Porsche enthusiasts and mechanics to find out who the best painters were. I looked for someone who had specific experience painting the 911/912 body style. I was able to see a 911 that was being painted and also check out each painter’s shop. I asked each painter a lot of specific questions and developed an understanding of the steps needed to complete the project; and which tasks I could and couldn’t do. I decided that I would do all of the prep work and have a pro shoot the color. The painter I picked was the one that showed me the 911 he was painting. In addition, he had an excellent reputation and showed a willingness to work with me. He knew that this was a special project.

The Project: I parked the car in the third bay of the garage in November. The project was on! I started by removing front and rear bumpers, hood, engine lid, doors, all glass, wheels, trim, rubber, interior, headliner….everything, and ended up with a shell. I made notes/sketches of several assemblies because I knew it would be months before it would go back together. Removing the windshield was something I hadn’t done before. I wasn’t going to reuse the seal, so I simply cut the seal around the perimeter of the glass using a utility knife, removed the aluminum trim, and pulled the glass out. I spent several weeks cleaning and restoring parts. This included door locks, window regulators, headlight assemblies, turn signal assemblies, deco trim,…everything. I also sent out a lot of hardware for zinc plating. All of the chrome was in near perfect shape after cleaning/polishing so I had no chrome re-plating. I cleaned and polished the original hood crest and had it re-plated in gold at a jeweler and finished it with clear enamel. I labeled and bagged all of the parts for later assembly. The next step was striping the paint. I chose to use "aircraft" chemical stripper. This was a cheap alternative to media blasting. It took between 1 and 2 gallons to strip the car, which had only the original paint. This was very messy and not particularly fun, but I was glad to see that old paint go. The process was simple: spread on the stripper, let it bubble up, and scrape it off with a putty knife. I masked the seams and joints to prevent the stripper from getting into places that couldn’t be cleaned of stripper. After stripping, I was left with some paint on the metal which I knocked off with a wire cup on an angle grinder, sand paper, or whatever it took. I didn’t bother stripping the door jambs, but I did sand the original paint smooth. I finished off by cleaning the entire body and all the pieces three times with lots of paper towels and lacquer thinner to remove all traces of stripper. Then I removed all the rust, which really wasn’t too bad. The worst of this was the spot on the right front fender just behind the front wheel, which is common. A drain passage at this location was plugged, which caused the spot to rust from the inside-out. It’s interesting because I’ve seen this problem on other cars, but mostly on the right side. Possibly because the right wheels, being closer to the roadside, throw up more road gunk. I wonder if it is more typical for the left side fender to rust in left-hand drive countries? Anyway, the hood had surface rust where the paint had peeled away and the top ledge of the front bumper was pitted with rust. I wore out one large wire cup and used lots of sand paper and scotch-brite pads to remove the rust. Finally, I prepped all the bare metal using an acid etch. Body work was next. I repaired a flat spot in the right rear bumper and one in the middle of the front bumper using a hammer/dolly. Minor dings were burnished out using a rounded screwdriver handle from the backside of the panel. I then used plastic filler to smooth out the remaining imperfections at these locations. Upon sanding out the filler, it was so thin you could see through to the metal panel so I didn’t feel too bad about using plastic filler. I found that pressing too hard while sanding out repairs caused the panel to flex, which made it impossible to blend the repair with the surrounding panel. By reducing the sanding pressure, I was able to blend it in. To smooth the complex curve of the nose of the hood required plastic filler and a lot (a lot!) of sanding with a long board to get it right. Next, I sprayed PPG primer/surfacer that was compatible with the top coat that would be applied by the painter. We decided he would shoot PPG Concept 2000, a single stage system which I thought would better match the depth of the original paint compared to Deltron, a base coat/clear coat system. The primer/surfacer not only primes the surface, but also builds up material on the metal substrate that is blocked out (wet sanded) to remove minor surface imperfections. Blocking out the car was a lot of work…days and days of sanding out panels, shooting more surfacer, and sanding again. But, I knew that the finished surface would only be as good as the prepped surface. Now it was time to deliver the car to the painter. Early on, I spent a lot of time looking at red color chips and other red cars. I also got a computer paint match from the backside of the engine lid in the original Polo Red. I wasn’t sure if I trusted the computer match, but none of the modern reds looked right. So, I had the paint supplier mix up a little of the color match formula and was sure as soon as I saw it. The painter masked off the car and sprayed a sealer over the primer/surfacer prior to spraying the final color coat. Before painting the car, he noticed that I missed 2 or 3 almost imperceptible dings and called to ask if I wanted him to take care of it. Absolutely! At that moment, I knew I had picked the right painter. The hood, rear lid, doors, and bumpers were painted as individual pieces. After painting I returned the car to my shop. After about a week I began reassembling the car. This was by far the most enjoyable part of the project. The shop was like an operating room and I felt like I was building a new Porsche. Everything was clean and everything went together with very few delays. This included some interior upholstery, headliner, assembling the doors and attaching to the car, attaching the bumpers, hood, and engine lid, installing glass, painting the wheels and wheel wells, installing gas tank, re-carpeting the trunk, and installing all hardware and trim. What a blast!

What did it cost and how much time?
Rubber, trim, other parts $1000
Compressor (used) $300
Primer gun/hoses/accessories $200
prep materials $300
labor/materials for painter $800
Other $200 Total $2,800
My time 4 months, part -time, maybe 200 - 240 hours

Lessons Learned

  • Carefully consider the originality and whether a paint job is appropriate. In my case the decision was easy. The original Polo Red paint was oxidized and the hood had been re-painted and the paint, being too thick, checked and peeled. If you have a car with only 50,000 miles and original paint with only a few dings, then carefully consider what effect the re-paint will have on originality and value.
  • The project will require materials and services from many vendors. Don’t settle for shoddy work or someone with an attitude. If you’re going above and beyond…then they should too. Actually, I never had to confront this issue head on. I avoided it altogether by talking with lots of people and confirming I was on the right team to begin with.
  • Focus on who will paint your car and not on the particular brand of paint; as long as it’s one of the highest quality paints. Most painters prefer to shoot only one brand of paint. So, once you pick the painter, the brand is probably a lock and your choice will be one of which system you’ll use within the brand.
  • There are lots of paint systems out there. The system is composed of primers, surfacers, and top coats, all designed to work together. Popular high quality systems in the US include DuPont Imron, PPG Deltron, and Sikkens. Original Porsche paint for my ’68 912 was an enamel which cured by oxidation. The modern systems are catalyzed enamels which cure by oxidation and a chemical reaction between the paint and the catalyst. Also, there are single-stage and two-stage systems. A single-stage uses a glossy color top coat. The two-stage is composed of a color base coat and a clear glossy top coat. In some states, hobbyists can not spray these materials.
  • Consider doing the prep work yourself if you enjoy tinkering. You’ll need at least a third stall of a garage and in addition to the normal hand tools a compressor, paint gun, angle grinder/wire cup, DA sander, sanding blocks, and a cartridge respirator. I do a lot of different projects, so I had some of these things and this was a great excuse to get the others. You’ll need to spray primer with the garage door open for ventilation, which may concern the neighbors or the zoning department. Also be prepared for some hard work, particularly the stripping and blocking out the surfacer, but this is only 2 days here and 3 days later. However, my schedule was accelerated (whole project in 4 months), which accounted for some very long days.
  • I stripped the car with a chemical stripper, but I would recommend spending the money and having someone media blast it.
  • If you prep the car get it smooth, because the paint only highlights mistakes and missed dings. Get rid of all the rust. Get everything clean, even the back side of panels to avoid dirt flying off and contaminating the paint finish. The details make the difference.

From: Thom Kuby;  To the 912 Registry, Painting the 912: My '68 was in desparate need of a Real Paint Job...To me, a Real Paint Job means starting over from bare metal...so that's what I did. First I stripped the car completly; -every piece of trim came off, -everything that was bolted on got unbolted, -every piece of glass came out -front hood came off -front fenders came off -rear lid came off -front & rear bumpers came off -doors came off (and window frames, regulators etc removed from them) Once diassambled, I sanded, stripped and blasted panels and parts to reveal all rust problems. ALL bondo was removed (and there was a lot of it-this car had been poorly worked over by P.O., complete with one pretty s***** re-paint) Some of the panels were'nt worth the level of effort to properly restore-this included both front fenders and the hood...I found used replacements. BTW good, solid SWB fenders are a bitch to find...hoods are real easy. It took me several months to locate a decent driver's side fender, at a reasonable price. Yeah I know, I can get new OEM fenders for about $1200 but I didn't want to be "upside down" on this particular car. If this were a real collectable 911/912 (some special model) well yeah, then maybe I can justify that expense...but not this time, on a combination street/track-event car. I feel that maintaining a proper perspective is real important on a project like this. Once all the body parts were completely prepped, I went back through and straightened all the little puckers and shallow dents that had been buried under layers of bondo. The amount of bondo that went back on the car was about 5% of what I initially took off. Once straightened out, the primer went on. And then I wet-sanded, and wet-sanded and wet-sanded. After all the sanding and repairing the low spots I found, I was ready for color. Color: In the very beginning, I originally wanted to build a no-b******* replica of the '67 911R, based on my 912 - a "912R" if you will. So I wanted to use the factory White. Well, as it turned out, the entire "R" program was going to cost me entirely too much money to "do this right" (again, the proper perspective is important) so I changed the approach back to the street/track event configuration I mentioned earlier. Since I had gone to bare metal, changing colors is a no-brainer at this level. I finally chose a VW Light Ivory. This is the damndest color; it isn't white, it isn't yellow, and it isn't beige...It's almost like vanilla ice cream. It's a very rich, teutonic color and it fits the shape of the 912 real well. I'm real happy with it. I used PPG products. Deltron two-stage to be exact. I put on two, good coats of primer, then after all the wet-sanding, I put on three coats of color. I topped all this off with three more coats of clear. The finish is so deep I can "stick my hand in it" hell, I'm going to be afraid to drive it once finished. I am now in re-assemble mode (jan '98) I have other projects and I'm constantly running out of funds so this is taking a while...It'll be worth it when I take the finished car somewhere and people say "nice 912" and I say "thanks"....yeah...it's like that isn't it? Cheers, Thom Kuby

From: Andy Leight;  I recently had my coupe resprayed to the original color (6603) the painter used sherwin williams automotive paint and was able to match it perfectly. By the way, the paint was only $20.00 per gallon. I know because the paint formula I had got from a Dupont dealer was incorrect, so I bought the mistake. I'm sure of the final match because it matches the paint color under the dash and inside the doors which had never been touched. When I started looking for paint I found a body shop that used Herbert Paint and they had color matches keyed to the porsche numbers. Thats when I also learned that Golf Blue is also listed as Golf Blau. One final note/tip my coupe is a Karmann, as in VW so I think maybe they might have used some extra paint around the plant?? It probably wouldn't hurt to check the VW listings also. Andy Leight -- ===<::::

From: Dick G. Bowker; Your paint table was great - confirmed that I Have aga blue (6608). But I cannot get anyone to convert that to a modern paint number (Like a PPG or Dupont Number). Porsche USA couldnt help, local Porsche dealer couldnt help (that was predictable), two local car paint stores couldnt help with their computers. This has me baffled. Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance.

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