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I have a ‘57 Belair with the original paint. The lower portion is pretty oxidized. There are some scratches, pits and a couple of rusted places. How would you recommend that I restore it? Is there a way to make it look “good” on my own without taking it to a paint shop? Thanks
Chris
 

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View attachment 326453 View attachment 326452 I have a ‘57 Belair with the original paint. The lower portion is pretty oxidized. There are some scratches, pits and a couple of rusted places. How would you recommend that I restore it? Is there a way to make it look “good” on my own without taking it to a paint shop? Thanks
Chris
It sounds like there is quite a bit of paintwork, not to mention rust repair. Unfortunately I think you're looking at a complete repaint and depending on your skill level, I can't say whether you are capable of doing it yourself.

Dangerous Joe
 

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3m rubbing compound, 3m polish and a quality wax. Easier with a high speed buffer and foam pads. Same products can also be applied by hand but more work.

You may even test a small area with a clay bar. I recently tried the Mother’s brand and it had fantastic results, followed by a good polish and wax.

in my humble opinion.
 

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Rust done right is like cancer, cut it out, patch then color match. Scratches and scuff marks can be polished up as long as you don't go overboard to cut through the paint color.
 

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You would be surprised how much a little buffing will bring back. I would not repaint it because it doesn't really need to be repainted. Best you can do for the rust is either leave it or try to clean the metal on the outside to bare metal and put something on it - it will eventually come back it will be gone for a while depending on exposure to water and humidity. In Colorado it should not be a huge problem as it is somewhat dry out there - unless you drive it in the rain or snow.
 

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If you are looking to fix the scratches and rusted areas, it is possible to blend single stage lacquer paint. The trick is to get the right color mix to match the older paint. Over time the blended area will be noticeable. If you clear coat the blended panels, it shouldn’t be noticeable providing you got a good color match.
 

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That paint is thin for buffing, especially for a novice.
True, probably something that should not be done by somebody with no experience. Done by someone with experience, that old lacquer will shine up pretty well.

Just my experience, you probably do not want to go down the road of trying to match the paint. You will probably not get a perfect match and it will be noticeable because of bad codes, slightly different versions of the color, and the aging of the paint changes the color. Kind of a can of worms. Just enjoy your car. They only stay original once.
 

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I would be super careful with the original paint as well. Suggest you find someone who really knows what they're doing.. most likely start with 2000 grit sandpaper followed by the least abrasive polishing compound to bring back some shine, You can always take care of the rust repair and match the paint as best you can. Cars are only in original paint once and there aren't many cars left still in the factory paint.
 

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I agree with all of the above...that said, you are starting to have some rust thru. That isn’t wine or cheese and will not get better with time. On the other hand, the area we live in is relatively dry, so not sure how quickly it’ll advance once started.
You’ll get a million opinions here and anywhere else, but we’re it mine? I’d take it to a few good shops around town and see what they say. Some will try to talk you into a respray, but some will appreciate the value of a car with original paint and will give you a quote on a “sympathetic” restoration of it.
It looks to be a beauty, by the way!
 
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