Painting a car was a whole lot easier and cheaper years ago. The accompanying photo shows a Mr. Thomas brush painting the fender of a car that looks like a Franklin (judging by the shape of the hood). The car has 1920 New York license plates and Mr. Thomas is fairly well dressed up for a job such as he is doing. His attire suggests he may have been a chauffeur for the car’s owner.
If Thomas were in the restoration business and painting a car today, he would probably be wearing Gen-Nex™ painters’ coveralls that the Eastwood tool company sells for about $10. He’d also need a respirator (from about $25 up to $130), a headsock, a mask or a hood, eye protection, rubber gloves, booties to protect his shoes and other personal protective gear
Then, he’d have to buy an air compressor, an air management system, a conventional or HVLP spray gun, hoses, filters, a paint spray booth, a masking tape station masking materials, spray guns, gun cleaning equipment, paint strainers and, last but not least, etching agents, primers, paints and clear coats.
In other words, Thomas would be spending thousands of 2014 dollars to do what he did with a $2 can of paint and a 50-cent brush back in the 1920s. Sure he’d be safer doing the job and would get higher quality results (if he’s talented), but we’re sure that the total cost of a 2014 paint job would make his head spin around like Rosemary’s baby’s head did in the movie.
There’s no way to “brush off” the reality that painting a car is a major undertaking these days. If your car needs new paint, be sure that you spend time picking the color you want and finding an experienced “shooter.” If you’re investing thousands of dollars in a paint job, make sure that you plan the project right and really do your homework. Mistakes with paint jobs can be very costly.