Primered hot rods are a staple of our hobby, but nowadays its popularity is based more on tradition than economics. It was 80 years ago (wow!) when virtually all hot rods were primered (if that!), and back then it was a simple matter of economics-paint cost money. Rodders had limited funds, and why spend money on looks when the entire experience was about going faster. Today paint still costs money (a lot), but combine this with the resurgence of the traditional look and once again primered hot rods have a widespread appeal.

What started out as traditional black or dark primers has evolved into a palette ripe for use on all sorts of hot rods. But let's take a quick look at primer. There's an inherent problem with primer in that it's porous by nature. The intent behind primer is to allow the final topcoat to bond and adhere to the primer. However, using a true primer as a topcoat, while looking cool, will manifest primers' inherent problems. Not the least of which is that they will absorb all sorts of worldly elements. The most visible, if not common, is grease and oil absorbed from daily driving. These oils leave blotchy spots in your primer and require constant attention. Additionally, the sun's rays will discolor primer in a relatively short period of time. How to have the best of both worlds?

We have come across a matte clear that yields the desired visual characteristics of primer yet accounts for the benefits of a sealed topcoat. AkzoNobel Car Refinishes, the manufacturers of Wanda paint, are introducing a matte finish clear that can be applied over their paint brand, yielding the perfect primer low-gloss effect look with the maintenance and lasting characteristics of a finished topcoat.

Wanda, an AkzoNobel brand, has been on the scene for 75-plus years and is well established in the automotive aftermarket paint refinish business, especially in South America. (Originating in Brazil in 1934 by Roque Montesano, the brand was given its name in honor of his daughter, Wanda. AkzoNobel acquired Wanda in 1974.) Wanda products are durable, simple to use, and require fewer components to complete the job. Only recently did the Wanda brand decide to look at the world of hot rodding and special interest vehicles.

The paint process is what we have all come to understand with prep, primer, color, and sealer, but the last step, the addition of the proprietary product that's a matte clear, gives a true "primer" appearance. Interestingly, you can lessen or enhance the primer appearance (more or less gloss) by altering the mix of the matte clear. (You can take other traditional primers and clear over them but it will not have the true visual characteristic that a hot rodder wants from a primer paintjob.) This matte clear process now offers the ability to have color (not just the traditional black or gray) in the low-gloss primer look, something which is drawing much attention in today's hot rod circles.

In a few months we will try our hand at this paint system on our Project Shop Truck. In the meantime we thought we would provide the specifications and process for working with this new matte clear from Wanda paint. Since there's a good chance you may not be familiar with the Wanda brand of finishes from AkzoNobel, here's the CliffsNotes version. Note: It's important before starting any project to make sure you read the technical data sheets and health warning information thoroughly and always wear the proper personal protection equipment.

Pretreatment of Surface
You will want to clean the metal surface with a good degreaser such as Wanda Degreaser. After cleaning, pre-treat any metal surfaces with AutoPrep Pretreatment Wipes from AkzoNobel, a one-of-a-kind product. These pre-saturated cloths come ready to use and work well on steel, galvanized steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. It replaces the need for an etching primer.