Acrylic Enamel

At one time acrylic enamel was very popular, but it’s seldom used today and will be phased out eventually due to tightening VOC regulations.

Single-Stage Deltron

Modern paint materials are available in different packages. There are single-stage urethanes that are applied very much like the once-popular acrylic enamel—shoot on the color and you’re done. PPG’s Concept DCC is Deltron’s direct gloss system, meaning no clearcoat is required.


Another option is PPG’s Deltron 2000 (DBC) system. With these two-stage paints, a highly pigmented base is applied that looks flat when cured. A second stage, or clearcoat, provides the gloss as well as a durable, chip-resistant surface. When used with a basecoat system the clearcoat provides the gloss as well as a durable, chip-resistant surface.

Envirobase: The Latest in Top Coats

When solvent-based paint is applied a certain amount of VOCs are released. Interestingly, while the highest level of VOC release is during painting it continues while the paint cures. To comply with mandated VOC reductions waterborne paints were developed.

For some street rodders the mention of waterborne paint is a reminder of the first OEM attempts at using water-based materials and what a disaster it was; not only did it turn dull but it peeled off in sheets. However, today’s waterborne paint uses totally different and vastly improved technology to reduce the release of VOCs while offering unmatched gloss and service life; today the technology is used in about 70 percent of OEM colors. PPG’s waterborne products use high-tech latex resin pigments in a special acrylic waterborne latex resin. Interestingly one of the advantages to waterborne paint is the way the pigment stays in suspension—mixing machines and mechanical paint shakers are no longer necessary just shake the containers by hand and combine the required materials.

Vibrance Collection

The Vibrance Collection from PPG offers the latest in custom colors using unique micas and innovative pigments to create a truly custom finish. Ditzler Big Flake and Liquid Crystal are designed to create a three-dimensional effect. Harlequin’s six color-shifting pigments can create colors that change completely when viewed from different angles. And of course there are pearls, candies, and “standard” metalflake. Luminescence II can be mixed with Deltron DBC basecoat to create a color travel effect on basecoat and tri-coat finishes and Flamboyance offers six custom shades that can be formulated to produce one-of-a-kind tri-coat effects.

Along with the basecoat products, there are Vibrance clears. Designed for custom applications, VC5225 Soft Touch Clear is a high-solid, two-component urethane topcoat that provides a very low sheen for trim accents and interiors. VC5200 Custom Clear is a high-solid, urethane clearcoat with superior gloss.

The Systems Approach

Regardless of the type of products used, something crucial to a bright, long-lasting paintjob is that they are all compatible. Don’t get creative—mixing and matching products is a formula for failure. When in doubt, always refer to PPG’s website, or the paint store reps.

Here are examples of popular PPG systems:

Maximum Performance System

Self Etching Wash Primer (DX1791): Fast-drying, self-etching wash primer with excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance. In VOC-compliant areas it serves as a pretreatment coating.

V-Prime Acrylic Urethane Surfacer (DPS3055): Premium quality, high-build, fast-drying, easy to apply and sand—available in white, gray, and dark gray.

V-Seal Acrylic Urethane Sealer (DAS3025): Premium quality, fast-drying sealer with superior flow properties and excellent gloss holdout. Can be applied directly over unsanded OEM e-coat. Available in white, gray, and dark gray.

Deltron 2000 Basecoat (DBC): State-of-the-art, basecoat/clearcoat system designed to reproduce the high-tech OEM finishes.

Deltron High Velocity Clearcoats (DC3000/ DC4000): High velocity, high-quality clearcoats.

Performance System

Self-Etching Wash Primer (DX1791): Fast drying, self-etching wash primer with excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance.

PRIMA Acrylic Urethane Primer (K36): High-build, fast drying with superior color hideout and sanding qualities.

Deltron 2000 Basecoat (DBC): High-performance quality designed to reproduce today’s OEM finishes.

CONCEPT Clears (DCU2042, DCU2021): Mid-tier clears capable of matching OEM gloss with a minimum of time and effort.

Single-Stage System

Self-Etching Wash Primer (DX1791): Fast drying, self-etching wash primer with excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance.

Corrosion-Resistant Primers (NCP270, NCP271): Premium quality, corrosion-resistant primer developed for today’s advanced technology finishes—free of chrome, lead, and isocyanides.

Tintable Primer Surfacer/Sealer (K93): A translucent, premium quality primer/sealer designed to be tinted with DCC color base.

Concept Acrylic Urethane (DCC): Premium quality, single-stage topcoat with exceptional gloss. Available in solid and metallic colors.

Paint Additives

Catalyst: A catalyst causes a chemical reaction without becoming part of the material. Just like mixing catalyst with fiberglass resin, it serves the same purpose with paint products

Reducer/Thinner: These change the viscosity of the paint so it sprays properly. Reducers are normally selected based on the ambient air temperature.

Accelerators: speed up drying time.

Retarder: slows the drying time.

Flex additive: Added to undercoats or clearcoats when painting plastic parts, it helps the paint to remain flexible

Next We Get To Work

We spent a number of hours looking at paint products, asking questions and generally disrupting the normal operations at Automotive Specialties in North Bend, Oregon. Thanks to Deborah McDermott we came away knowing much more than we did when we walked through the door.

We decided on a PPG system that we will begin applying in our next installment. If you’re painting a car yourself we can’t over emphasize the importance of checking local regulations to make sure the products are appropriate. If you’re relying on a professional shop, now you’ll know what questions to ask. In any case, choosing the correct products is the first step to a great paintjob.

PPG Refinish