My car needs a good lick of paint...

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1963 Ford Thunderbird that I would like to have repainted. What kind of paint jobs are available, and what does one look for in a shop that paints automobiles?

RAY: Finding a good paint shop is akin to finding a good mechanic. Your best bet is to ask people who've had their cars painted for recommendations. Ask them if their car came back free of drips. Ask them if the painters rolled up the windows before they sprayed the car.

TOM: Once you've found a reputable shop, there are basically two types of paint jobs you can get, An enamel job is the least expensive way to go. It's a one step paint job, and it costs a few hundred dollars.

RAY: Laquer paint is more expensive. There are two types of laquer jobs. The less expensive covers the car with one coat of paint, and then a puts a clear coat over it. The more expensive laquer finishes are rubbed out between each of many coats. These can cost thousands of dollars and contractually obligate you to kill the first poor schlemeil who touches the car after you get it back.

TOM: Unless this '63 Ford is in great condition, it probably doesn't deserve much more than a good enamel paint job. Go to a place you've heard good things about, and if you don't see a lot of 8 inch rollers and spray cans lying around, let 'em take a shot at it.
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