Automotive finishes, back in the golden days of car culture, were glorious to behold. One of the things that modern car aficionados despair about is the loss of mile deep paint, a look achieved with the use of lacquer paints and hand rubbing. The general idea was to spray down a layer of lacquer paint, then scuff it up with a relatively coarse sandpaper. Then spray it again, and scuff it up with a less coarse sandpaper. So on, and so forth - until the 30th layer or so was being buffed with a sandpaper the same texture as peach skin. The net result was a glorious optical effect - light being refracted through increasingly smooth layers of paint, to produce a luxurious shiny surface with optical depth.

The pursuit of as much profit as possible, and the EPA even having a problem with a home user deciding he wants a REAL paint job, has meant that sadly, that sort of finish is something you only get to see at antique car shows. 

But another kind of finish from the 1960s has a suitable, EPA whiner approved technology and therefore is still around.

Everyone has seen a "candy" paint job. It's a brilliant, eye-popping finish reminiscent of some kind of clear candy like a lollipop or wrapped Jolly Rancher style sucking candy, after being moistened thoroughly. House of Kolor came up with the original finishes, but thanks to the tireless chemists out there there's a safer, water based version that still gives brilliant results.

In essence, you spray a diluted version of a syrupy looking substance with a very very high pigment load over a white, or even better, a silver or gold paint. In fact, you have to check the label to see for sure what color you're actually working with. It goes on spattery, and you can't coat whatever you're painting in one shot. With patience and time and multiple passes, you end up with a dulled version of the color you want. It's initially slightly disappointing.

However, once you shoot a urethane clear coat over the whole mess, the candy becomes translucent, allowing the light to penetrate through the color layer and into the white, or better yet the silver, and shine right back. In fact, modern science has improved on the original with underlayer finishes that shine like polished chrome, leading to an eye-searing reflective paint job. With the use of a colored underlayer, e.g. a bronze or gold tone underneath, you can achieve any of a number of really cool effects.

Candy is also used to great effect over metalflake paints - paints with literal flecks of shiny metal therein. It's a high dollar version of glitter, and it looks super wicked awesome. 

The only downside? Candy will show up ANY flaws in either the metal or the primering thereof. Your skills at bodywork need to be top notch before you shoot candy, because there is no way to hide any defects in your underlying workmanship with paint. It will literally stick out like a sore thumb. 

That being said, as a result you can use that to your advantage. Some have "painted" into metal with an angle grinder, or done engine turning on the metal before shooting candy paint, leading to some exceedingly interesting effects.


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