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How to Prep a Fox Body Mustang for Paint

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 10/1/2020 Mark Houlahan
a car parked in a parking lot © Mark Houlahan

For our 2019 Week to Wicked build program we opted to build a Fox-era Mustang. While building a completely new car in five days sounds stressful (it can be, but it's also a lot of fun with everyone pitching in), we know that there's no way a quality paint job can be had in that window of time. Yes, we've all seen it on TV, but the reality of it is corners are cut and the nice-looking paint doesn't last. We don't want to have to worry about the paint six months down the road, as our Week to Wicked builds are displayed at major events and they need to look their best. Every one of our builds gets painted in advance.

Over the years a lot of technology has gone into automotive refinishing systems. The days of spraying lacquer or even an enamel paint job under the shade tree in the back yard are pretty much over with. Modern refinishing solutions offer any color you wish with longevity and clarity that rival the custom paint finishes of the past only seen on show cars. However, these modern solutions require specific equipment and training to work properly. What that does mean for most is you'll no longer be painting your own Mustang (something we've shown how to do in the past), but that doesn't mean you can't still prepare your Mustang for said refinishing work yourself. From something as simple as body disassembly to body work and pre-finish prep, you can still get involved and help to ensure your new paint job is the best it can be while saving a few bucks in the process.

We took our Fox Mustang to Spike's Performance & Refinishing in Ocala, Florida. Spike's owner, Dean Santiago, has painted several project cars for our sister brand Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, so we knew we'd be in good hands. Working with Dean took a lot of stress off our plate, as he knows Fox Mustangs and what to look for in specific areas for rust, structural issues, and more that are a real issue on a 30-year-old car. Our job was to "blow the car apart" for him so that he'd have access to all the panels for refinishing, and to save us some labor cost. Normally we'd pull the suspension, drivetrain, and dash as well, but we had to keep the car a roller and knew we'd only have a week to put it all back together before shipping it to California for the Week to Wicked build. You can find Part 2, where we'll wrap up the body work and lay the custom paint.

a car parked in a parking lot

© Mark Houlahan



(800) 488-6057


(866) 507-3786

Spike's Performance & Refinishing

(352) 207-1815


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