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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering what the experiences are for spray painting the engine bay panels instead of powder coating? I am trying to get a production look so I don't want to polish them or just leave them plain. Also if anyone has done this did they prime or just spray straight over cleaned aluminum (aluminium for any English speaking readers
) with a flat or semi gloss black? And finally, are there black rivets out there or has anyone had good luck painting the rivets and then installing?


FFCobra Master Craftsman
8,694 Posts
Intended as a frequent driver, I painted mine with Rustoleum Hammercoat, available at any Home Depot or True Value store. The real attraction with the Hammercoat paint is the textured finish that can be touched up with a Q-tip if scratched or nicked (and this will happen while building!) and it does not show the touch up.

I cleaned the aluminum, sanded with 100 grit paper to give it some tooth, cleaned again, primed and painted. Primer is not required with this particular paint but it can't hurt.

I do have to say that there is nothing like polished aluminum, though.

Regarding rivets, I actually would leave them aluminum. I think they'd look good offset against the painted panels.

2,462 Posts
Sure why not, when your on a budget. Plus road grime will make it look bad real fast anyway.
I polished just the top parts that are very visable when the hood is up and painted the rest.

Before Photo....

Then like DMW, sanded and primed, then painted with gloss engine black.
After Photo...

When it's all done, not much is seen. I did not paint or get black rivits. I think it looks ok for them to show up, as you can see....
so to me if the frame is not done special along with polishing the whole engine, why not just paint. To each his own..chrome and polish it all or some of it or none of it. :D ;)

[ October 31, 2006, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: Rip Van Winkle ]

FFCobra Fanatic
1,384 Posts
I cringe when you say spray paint! I hope you don't mean rattle can but using quality paint in a spray gun!

I painted my engine bay with automotive self etching primer and then the finish color of the car. I'm extremely happy with it. I've tried touch up on pieces of aluminium with rattle can self etching primer and it is no where near the quality of a good automotive paint.

That engine bay is a pretty rough environment. If you spray from the can just remember to take a minute first and imagine what that engine bay might look like with peeling and wrinkled paint later.

Not a great shot of the engine bay but you get a look.

I did get black rivets that I use in areas that show on painted panels. I got mine from Speedwaymotors.com #910047 BLK 1/8 rivets 250/box for 6.95 a box.

Good Luck

Mike M.

FFCobra Craftsman
24,695 Posts
I'm w/ DMW.The hammer paint is the coolest stuff since the first spray can.If you don't want silver rivets showing I'd just paint rivets and alum after it's all installed.

Senior Charter Member
590 Posts

I love the look of the highly polished aluminium. What did you do that with? Autosol? By hand? machine?


Junior Charter Member
177 Posts
Hammer paint is a good way to go.
Prime, don't prime, doesn't matter.
I'm familiar with four cars with
this paint. The first was done with
the panels in the car. Lots of masking
needed. The rest were painted then
put in the car. One of the cars had
the entire frame painted with hammer
paint. The idea was that it is easy
to touch up any scratches. Touch ups
take a little practice to get the
paint to match. Paint in two directions.
Overlap by two/thirds. Practice so you
don't get stripes. Can be recoated before
completely dry if you screw up. Make sure
the aluminum is CLEAN. Scuffing the surface
is a good idea. Heavier coats give
a little more hammered effect.
A little patients goes a long, long ways.
And as always --- remember ---
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