or Painting your Land Rover with a brush
It's an established fact that a great many people will drive around in exceedingly scruffy, but mechanically sound Land Rovers. I know, I've done it myself. When asked about it, they usually say they haven't the money to spend on a re-spray, or haven't access to spraying equipment. Fair enough. But its also a fact that while most people haven't acquired skills with a spray gun, they almost all have at some time used a paint brush in anger, and with reasonable results. If you can paint your house yourself, why not your Land Rover? Of all the vehicles on the road, the Land Rover takes kindly to brush painting. And if I can do it, and to a sufficiently good standard for someone else to ask me to do theirs, be assured anyone can!
It is necessary to get paint suitable for brushing, I used a polyurethane enamel, ICI Autocolour, Hi Gloss 383, brushes washable in White Spirit (Turps Substitute or whatever its called by everyone but the English). A two inch brush should do most of the vehicle but you mat need a half inch for some of the fiddly bits. Remember, though, that the edge of a two inch brush is the same size as the edge of a half inch.
Preparation is easy. You may rub down if you wish, I didn't and the paint is still there! Wash the vehicle, let it dry, and wipe all over with a suitable degreaser, methylated spirits or even petrol, if you're careful. Take the bonnet off, its easier to paint this panel off the vehicle, and you get better access to the bulkhead under the windscreen. Remove the headlamp surrounds. Mask off those bits you feel you might not be able to paint round, due to the overconsumption of pints of Old Peculiar the night before. It won't amount to much, most likely just the side lights, tail lights etc, and even then, all you need is masking tape round the edges, they won't need masking off completely, as you aren't having to cope with overspray. You need a warm, still day. If it is too hot, park the Rover in the shade, and let it cool off, otherwise the paint will dry too quickly.
Stir the paint well. I started with the bonnet, brushing fore and aft. Use plenty of paint, and don't forget you are putting the stuff ON, not wiping it off, so don't try to "brush it well in", all you will achieve is paint removal. Use a light touch with the brush and let the paint flow. Deal with any runs as you go. The accepted wisdom amongst coachpainters (I know one, and asked him) is that vertical panels should be done with vertical strokes. I got better results with horizontal strokes, indeed there are places on a Land Rover that you have to do this way, for example the rear body where the cleats are for roping a soft top on, above the "barrel sides", and under the galvanised capping. Work in some sort of order, say, radiator panel (grille removed, of course, sorry), return of front wings beside it, gravel panel, top, sides, and front of one wing, and then the other, bulkhead, door pillars, doors, etc. Don't rush. Just work at a nice steady speed, and if you want to knock off for a pint, do it at the conclusion of a panel.
As to quantities, two litres of paint should be ample, for both the outside, and the inside. As an example, I had a five litre tin, (a present, I hasten to add, I think someone was trying to tell me something!), I did the outside, inside, and a replacement door both sides and I'm no where near halfway down the tin. This if course, was just the lower body, the Limestone hardtop was perfectly good. However, two weeks ago, a friends S111 got the treatment, which included the hardtop up to the roof gutter, and I did the inside, too. Her gallon can has enough left to paint every Rover in the county. Twice! My 11A 88", though born Bronze Green, had been sprayed, badly, Marine Blue. This paint was flaking off, and the galvanization had deteriorated badly. It is now Deep Bronze Green, with the galvo bits including mesh grille and windscreen surround matt grey zinc rich paint. The headlamp surrounds are gloss black (engine enamel). The S111 88" is a dead ringer except for the hardtop. It now looks a bit like a H/T Ninety. My Rover took an afternoon to do the outside, and another for the inside. The S111 was ALL done in a day.
Just for fun I painted my metal badges yellow letters on green ground, though NOT with a two inch brush!
The psychological boost the result gives has to be experienced to be believed. Go on, treat yourself!
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, September, 1994
Updated April 2008:
John Wilson Wrote:
I am nailing together an ex MOD sidevalve Thames estate - E83W Ford - which, while it is not nearly as sophisticated, fast or refined as a Landrover, will need painting. I believe that it has spent its life on a RAF station before being shoved about by a fork lift - so currently very battered. But I have been unable to track down any Autocolour Hi Gloss 383 of any shade, let alone RAF blue. Can you forward this email to Mr Rooth or point me in the right direction
Alan Richer replied:
That is likely an obsolete formulation - in checking about Autocolour is now an Indian brand (a member of the ICI group)- and may not be trading in those paints in the UK market any longer - I couldn't find a direct reference after a cursory search. I would personally hunt up an auto paint stockist and look for a good brushing enamel - or a good general-purpose enamel that can be brushed (many can, usually by changing the amount of reducer used). You want something that won't dry or flash off too quickly - it needs to be able to lay down and settle out the brush marks to save a LOT of rubbing out. If the gentleman can find an un-faded patch of original paint (glovebox lid or the like) enamels can be mixed to a nearly exact match from a sample. Or, oftentimes an obsolete colour reference can be translated to a modern paint. Hope this is of assistance to you - Al Richer
Turns out the info i found was a bit dated - ICI is now a part of Azko Nobel. The Autocolour paint line is likely long obsolte that's true, but a phone call or email to: http://www.duluxtrade.co.uk/ ICI Paints Wexham Road Slough Berkshire SL2 5DS Tel: +44 (0)1753 550000 with an explanation of what is desired might be useful. I still think our correspondent is best off finding a local auto paint supply and talking to them about good coatings to use (things have changed a LOT over the past 15 years or so) but thought the info above might help a bit. Alan