06 January 2018

Painting DeLorean Louvres

Five years ago, I repainted the 'fake vents' on the DeLorean.  I had to look that up, did not realise it had been half a decade since I did this.  Well, it was time to do the same with the louvres.

Grey louvres and swirl mark
One day, I noticed that there was a blemish on one of the louvre panels.  I am not sure if I did this. Looking at the image above, if you can image, it looked like someone (possibly me) used something abrasive to clean what was resting on the panel.  There are swirl marks.  Something must have really been stuck on there to use an abrasive to remove the foreign substance.

Also, you can see that my louvres were fading and getting that old UV-ed grey look.  Similar to the side vents from a few years ago.

Oh, I should mention that there is a correct way of repainting your louvres, which involves removing them from the car, getting the correct paint, and properly spraying the paint in a paint booth with a spray gun.

But, this is me we are talking about. I am only concerned with the exposed surfaces.  I will be using SEM Trim Black...from a can.  And, I will be spraying it in my garage...of course, with the door open (most of the time).

Taping and masking
First step is to tape the areas not to be painted.  I installed a third brake lights, or CHiMSaL (Center High Mounted Safety Light), just under the top panel, a while back, those need to be masked off.  The hardware for the lid also needs to be free of paint.  You can see the green tape used to mask off those areas.  In addition, I covered the back half of the car in case of overspray.

Since I am only repainting the 'outside' surfaces and not removing the louvres, I needed to mask off the underside of it.  Basically, providing a backing for in between the panels.  You can see the brown paper through the 'holes'.  There is also backing on the bottom panel, under the vents.

The taping and masking process took over an hour.

First pass
This is a big area to rattle can, which means multiple coats are required.  One of the issues I had while spraying was the occasional spatter from the nozzle.  Sometimes, there are spots that are splotchy.  Multiple coats help blend these blemishes.

Multiple passes
I spent a lot of time chasing these blemishes.  Luckily, I am going for the textured look as that was what the original finish was.  If I wanted the gloss look, a spray can is not the way to go.  After multiple coats and two cans of paint, I was at a place where I was happy.  Well...more like I was at a place where it was good enough and I did not want to spray anymore.

Freshly painted louvres
The best part and easiest past was removing the tape and masking.  Although it did take about 15-20 minutes to get all the little pieces of tape, and gathering up all the paper.  Total job can be done in a weekend.  But you know me...this took me about a week since I had to get another can of paint to touch up the splotchy areas.  At the end, it looks much better...like a new 36 year old car.  I am happy with the results.

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