I’LL GET MY COAT (OF PAINT)
Mark finally finishes painting his Guzzi’s tank. Who knows, maybe he’ll even start riding the thing again soon…
To say it’s taken a lot longer than I expected to rub down and respray the petrol tank on my Guzzi is an understatement. But for a first attempt at painting using a compressor and a proper spraygun, I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out – and by trying something new I’ve learned a lot.
First step was rubbing down with 400-grit wet and dry. It was at this stage that I finally decided on the colourscheme – I knew I wanted it to be black and white, with echoes of the original Guzzi California, but it was only as I rubbed away the black paint to reveal the white primer beneath that I arrived at the rough style shown in the photo above.
Next step was to get some advice on materials. I couldn’t find a reference to the exact shades Guzzi used in the ’70s and I’m not an originality freak anyway, so I relied on the experience of Roger at my local auto paint suppliers, Central Car Paints in Leicester (0116 262 9727). He showed me some colour swatches and we arrived at two colour choices, both suitably Italian. For the black, I went for Fiat/lancia 601 Nero; for the white, Fiat/lancia 296A (L) Bianco Divino/zenit. He recommended I use a filler/primer, followed by an acrylic base coat using the two colours above, then sealed with a clear coat of lacquer. With the shopping done, all I needed to do was apply the paint to the tank…
Quite a few weeks later, the job is finally done. The learning curve had a good few dips along the way, as I got used to the techniques and materials and generally sussed out the logistics of getting the job done, and it turned into a real test of motivation. Having good equipment to use certainly helped (see ‘Well Tooled Up’ on the right). Practicing on an old metal filing cabinet also proved useful for improving my technique and getting the right settings on the compressor and the spraygun, as did watching some of the many videos on the subject on Youtube.
Having applied the filler/primer and allowed it to dry, I rubbed it down with 800-grade wet and dry paper, lubricated with soap and water. The next stage was to paint the whole tank and side panels white – three coats, the first being a light ‘tack coat’ for the next two coats to stick to. At this point it’s crucial not to apply too much paint or you’ll get runs. For each stage, I started by
experimenting on the side panels before moving on to the tank. When the white paint was dry, it was time to get masking…
For this, I enlisted the help of my long-suffering wife, Sue, whose artistic talents greatly outweigh mine. Going with the lines of the tank, she masked off the areas we wanted to keep in white, leaving the areas to be sprayed black exposed. Two different thicknesses of line tape were used to achieve the desired effect around the white band along the side of the tank. Then it was back into my impromptu spray booth – the old pigsty halfway down my garden – to apply three coats of black.
GETTING INTO THE GROOVE
By this time I felt my spraying action was getting fairly decent. The idea is to make your sweeping strokes across the workpiece by using your arm rather than just your wrist, keeping the spraygun’s nozzle a fixed distance away from it to ensure a good finish/ coverage.
With the black coat dry, it was time for the exciting bit – the reveal. Sue meticulously peeled off the masking paper and tape as we both hoped that the lines revealed would be nice and crisp. The massive satisfaction when they proved to be just that was enough to make all the laborious hours of preparation worthwhile. We both felt properly proud of what we’d achieved. Now all that remains is to lay on the final coats of lacquer, refit the tank and the Guzzi will be ready for its MOT test. It’s been off the road so long now, I can’t wait to ride it again!
Tank painted white and masked up for its coat of black
Just add lacquer...
Sue does her arty thing with the line masking tape
Tank and side panels in filler/primer Rough paintscheme emerges part-way through rubbibg down
Always wear proper protective gear. And have fun doing it
Sue reveals the crisp new paintwork