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I finished washing 50+ years of grime off the old girl’s down-under and now the question is: paint or patina? Why now: This year’s winter project will be new exhaust and 9” swap. With these major components out of the way, it won’t be too big of a job to spray the underbody.

This is a California car. It won’t see snow. Rain, only if caught by surprise. So, a fresh coat of paint down-under is little more than a cosmetic exercise. I doubt that I will suggest to anyone to lay on their belly and look at the beautiful down-under.

As-is the down-under does show 50+ years of service. It also shows no mods, no panel replacements, and no rust problems. Up top the car has a nicely restored exterior and interior. Leaving the underside as-is gives a nice contrast (if one was to look) between original and restored. Then again, if one were to look, a pristine underbody would likely give the impression of quality.

A couple of You Tube links to the down-under:

Left side:

Right side:

What’s your opinion on paint vs patina?
 

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Patina until the car gets to the point where serious oxidation (rust) is starting to form.. Then, Paint is in order... There is a point always that you get to where a decision has to be made..

:eek:)

Tony K.
 

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With the details, I'm finding that a clear answer is actually kind of tough with this one.

Ordinarily, for any driver, I would say paint it, because it is just so lovely having everything look fresh. With that said, a completely rust free original underbody is a thing of beauty, and that patina would better tell that story.

I'm conflicted. Buy I would probably end up painting it if it were mine.
 

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As long as it's rust/grease/oil free I see no reason to do anything with that. Overall I think it looks pretty good. But it's really a personal decision of whether you want to do the work or not while everything is out.
 

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I agree with leaving it alone. As long as you keep an eye on it, any rust could be dealt with like New Englanders do, spray something like Fluid Film on it. Definitely fix that exhaust, no quicker way to cause rust than an exhaust leak blowing on the under body.
 

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Being a California rust-free guy myself I’d definitely leave as is. Looks nicer that way. If rust issues started I’d re-evaluate the situation. By the way leaving some oil and grease protects the car from rust.

You could spray vulnerable areas with Boeshield T-9. Comes in a rattle can. It’s sort of a clear spray on wax used on aircraft surfaces to keep out corrosion and many other uses.
 

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Grab a gallon of Fluid Film and a Schutz Gun and have at it. Touch it up as needed yearly or every other. Won't hurt anything and can always be easily removed if you decide to do a rotisserie resto at some later date. Made from lanolin.
 

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Mine is also a California car, totally rust free original sheet metal in the factory underbody primer/paint. I might consider cleaning it like you did but wouldn't think of repainting it at this point.
 

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Grab a gallon of Fluid Film and a Schutz Gun and have at it. Touch it up as needed yearly or every other. Won't hurt anything and can always be easily removed if you decide to do a rotisserie resto at some later date. Made from lanolin.
+1

Patina shows just how original and rust free it is.
 

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I'm not known for leaving well enough alone, and I couldn't resist detailing my undercarriage, tank, etc. to look as good as the rest of my car. And with the protective layer of 50 years of oil, grease, or road film gone I'd think it would be easier to do now than after you hafta get rid of any rust to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies. Prior to cleaning the underbody I was fairly certain it would get painted. After cleaning I was not so sure. At this point I am going to look into a spray corrosion inhibitor and keep the patina.

Thanks for the input and the corrosion inhibitor suggestions.
 

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Clear coat

I'm not known for leaving well enough alone, and I couldn't resist detailing my undercarriage, tank, etc. to look as good as the rest of my car. And with the protective layer of 50 years of oil, grease, or road film gone I'd think it would be easier to do now than after you hafta get rid of any rust to do it.
My 67 under side looked about the same after cleaning:
I clear coated it with some clear coat that I had left over from another paint job. I look good.


Nick
 

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Patina!
 

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The purpose of paint:

1. Protection
2. Appearance

If you leave it alone you are flip-flopping the order.
 

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One of the pervs that have cameras on their shoes would be impressed.

The problem as is now is that the grease and grime has been protecting the unpainted metal parts from the first leak or road grime that covered a paint chip or scratch. I don't believe in a "rust free" climate, only degrees of degradation.:)

Maybe some of that Boshield stuff or anything that went on clear to cover the bare spots without changing the paint that is still there. Anything short of a complete or uniform job would look worse than covering it all with undercoating to me.

If there happened to be a Rustoleum can that matched i think I'd test a spot and if it looked uniform to the original a few months later then go to town on it.
 

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I peeked upskirt again:)
The frame rails are galvanized much better than the thinner metals, You can almost ignore them but the without something some floor spots will look like the leaf springs someday. I'll second myself on something clear sprayed through a garden sprayer. 'Cuz thats a lot of R&R work to spray any color and not look like a poser hack did it.
 

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Grab a gallon of Fluid Film and a Schutz Gun and have at it. Touch it up as needed yearly or every other. Won't hurt anything and can always be easily removed if you decide to do a rotisserie resto at some later date. Made from lanolin.
Thanks for posting this. Never heard of it and after reading about it, will look into it for myself.
 
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