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RE: polishing paint?

There are actually quite a few cars on the market that don't have
clearcoats.  In fact, most die-hard autobody/finishing pros will tell you
that clearcoats are the inferior finish.  Clearcoats are achieved by
spraying a very thin layer of pigment over the sheetmetal, just enough to
cover, then several coats of urethane are sprayed over the matte pigment to
create a gloss effect and complete the finish.  It's a quicker, cheaper
finish than multiple coats of pigment filled lacquer.  The pigments are the
most expensive component of the paint and their proportion, purity and
consistency must be exact.  One thin coat of pigment is easier to manage
than several pigment filled coats of lacquer.

The clearcoat, or base/clear, finish is a compromise in several regards.
Urethane clear dries VERY hard.  Same stuff is marketed as "Hard as Nails"
clear for furniture and such.  Turns out to be both a PRO and a CON.
Because the urethane is SO hard, regular buffing and compounding is much
more difficult.  The clear is so hard, that it is resistant to being
smoothed and buffed flat again.  You often have to use a much more abrasive
compound to achieve the desired result, ultimately removing more clear.  In
many instances, deep scratches simply cannot be safely removed.  If you cut
through the clear to the pigment, your finish is ruined.  The finish "gurus"
I've talked to have all said that a non-metallic lacquer finish is the "car
lovers" finish, and the clearcoat is the "wash-and-wear" finish.  Due to
oxidation, lacquer requires extra waxing, and rubbing and such, but the end
result is usually a deeper, richer finish.  Metallic paints are a different
story because non-clear metallics have a nasty tendency to bake and dry,
giving the chalky matte metallic look.  If properly maintained, either
finish (clear, lacquer) will provide year after year of eye pleasing
protection.   The secret is not "letting it go".

PS - before someone gets on me - there's also an Acrylic Enamel, an
amalgamation of the clear and lacquer.  Pigment paint with urethane
hardness.  Consider it somewhere between the two.

Dan Sinclair
1988 Audi 90, 68K mi.
Photo and details online at:

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-quattro@coimbra.ans.net
[mailto:owner-quattro@coimbra.ans.net]On Behalf Of Art4@aol.com
Sent: Monday, March 29, 1999 8:42 PM
To: dennis.friedman@northstarfunds.com
Cc: quattro@coimbra.ans.net
Subject: Re: polishing paint?

ur kidding right?  the casablanca does not have a clear coat, how the he**
does Audi get away with delivering paint w/o clearcoat.  Why would they even
do this? Every car I can think of presently, clear coats their paint.  Is
just cheap or do the other colors come this way?  Any input would be