To Spend or Not to Spend
We had the chance to sit down Martin Farrell, a car restoration enthusiast. Taking the opportunity to hear about his experiences and opinions in the automotive space.
I guess my passion for American cars started when I was about 20. I’d had a few V8 Aussie muscle cars along my journey, but every time I was out cruising the streets of Southeast Dandenong it was those American cars I was looking at.
My first restoration was about 20 years ago. I especially loved those early Camaros, but they were out of reach as far as my cash went, so I settled on importing a 1964 Mustang instead. A friend of a friend over in the States found one in Texas that was in average condition but affordable. I knew I would need to restore it. This didn’t scare me; my friends and I had always done our own bodywork and repairs. The price was great, it was a V8 and a driver, so it seemed a good starting point.
Before this my panel work had been limited to repairing dints and scrapes. At 17, my first car was a rusty old Holden EJ station wagon and not worth any extra money spent on materials as I was selling it as soon as found a better car. I used whatever bog (filler) and materials were cheapest and easiest to get.
Luckily for me when it came to restoring the Mustang, I had two good mates that worked in an automotive paint shop.
They introduced me to another world of products. I had no idea how many brands of bog and paint were out there.
I didn’t believe half the stuff they were telling me until I started using the superior fillers. They were much easier to sand (and for those that have sanded a full car before, you would know that it is very laborious and bloody hard work). The price was secondary compared to the quality. Repair jobs were instantly quicker and not as big a task as I was used to.
Before I knew it the Mustang was ready to spray with some high-fill primer sprayed on it and its first layer of guide coat. As soon as we had rubbed smooth the last lot of undercoat, it clicked that my mates did know what they were talking about. From then I was all ears, hanging on to every word they said about the types of paint I could choose from. I learned the difference between 2K, enamel, and acrylic and was introduced to 2-pack paint (2K). I settled on the 2K as it was far superior in finish and strength to the other choices. I bought a high-end, quality brand and I was extremely impressed with the finish off the gun.
I ended up selling the car to a mate, and the bodywork and paint still look as good now as it did 20-odd years ago.
Eventually, I did end up getting a Camaro and what started as a passion for American cars turned into an obsession.
After importing 26 cars from the States, I have seen it all when it comes to panel repair and paint jobs.
One of the best lessons I learned was price is important, but only to a point. There’s bog and there’s bog. One is cheaper, but the one that’s easier to apply and sand costs you more. If money is tight and time is on your side, then maybe the economy-priced item is for you. But if you don’t mind shelling out a little extra then don’t second guess yourself, buy an excellent brand like U-POL’s Dolphin. You will not regret it.
Good luck with your projects no matter what they are or their country of origin.