The years went by and I began to display the car at shows. It even won a few prizes. but I started to notice fine crazing showing up on the roof and bonnet from the effects of the sun as it hadn't had a garage for many of it's first years back on the road.
Before I could do anything about it though, I scored a job in New Zealand, so I sold (sadly) my Fiat X1/9, rented out my townhouse with half the double garage sealed off to store the 850 in, and went OS for a year.
When I got back in mid '90, I used the car (my only one by now), as a daily driver so it wasn't until 1991 straight after this car show, that I was able to get round to respraying it again... And this time I was determined to get it perfect!
Off came all the bits again. This time though, although I took it back to bare metal (because of the crazing problem) I simply sanded it back as there wasn't a huge build up of paint like before. Despite not needing much in the way of repairs, I was very meticulous about the preparation, so the job still took six weeks. I borrowed my brother's back shed - the one with a leaky roof and no door, so every night I had to cover it up with tarps to keep the winter rain out. In fact I was plagued with poor weather and moisture problems the whole way, even having to use several water traps in the air lines to catch it all.
Meanwhile, a girl's got to work. I was freelance then and quite a few times during the respray after getting the base coats on, when the weather forecast for the next few days was poor and I had to get to work, I reassembled the car again and used it. This got to be very frustraing, but I got really quick at pulling it apart and remasking!
This time as I couldn't seem to get the Fiat Midnight Blue colour again, I chose a very similar '72 Ford Midnight Blue. I actually prefer the Ford colour as it tends to be richer - towards a purply blue rather than the Fiat colour which tended to be greenish.
I used an interesting technique I'd heard about to get the "wet look" on the finish. After the midnight blue base coat was built up, I topped up the pot with thinned clear laquer for each subsequent lap of the car. Many, many translucent coats later I was spraying almost 100% clear. This I believe is preferable to simply spraying clear coat on top of the base (colour) coats as it gives the paint a really deep look and resists the tendency of straight clear to craze over time in the sun.
While I was doing all this, I had all the bumpers and chromework re-chromed, sourced some MAS 5 1/2 x 13 wheels and had them polished and fitted with Yokahama A509 185x60 tyres.
Eventually, it was done. I left the paint for nearly six months to harden up before I buffed it, by hand, for 3 weeks through about 7 different grades: 600, 1200, & 1500 wet & dry, cutting compound, buffing compound (finer), burnishing cream and finally dry cornflour. All by hand and with a light held up to the surface to make sure I didn't miss a bit!
But, hey! Check out this for a reflection in the bonnet!
Triumph & Tradgedy
All the Extras
Resprayed & Improved
Today & the Future