Bringing the Contour’s Paint Back to Life

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Time to strap on the latex gloves and bring out the detailing gear on the Contour! As I pointed out in the last post, much of the car is in decent condition, and only needs a little superficial TLC to make it pop. That’s where I spent my energy these past few weeks. It’s been a long process, and I’m no where near finished. A few hours here and there after work is all I’ve been able to devote to this project. However, I’m seeing some good results.

First off, let’s talk about that flag you’ll be seeing in the background. Since there’s a Ford in the garage now, I found it fitting to get something for it.

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Personalized plate arrived too!

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Okay, now on to the paint. I first tackled the rear bumper. Aside from the roof, which I’ll get to in March or April, this is the biggest eye sore. I used my Porter Cable buffer with a yellow cutting pad and Meguiar’s Ultimate Cutting Compound followed by a black pad and polish. The paint here looked to be original with very heavy oxidation and bad clear coat failure at the very top. My plan of attack:

  • Compound the entire bumper to take as much oxidation off as possible
  • Level/sand down the blistered clear coat areas
  • Spray paint the bad areas using a two-step process of base and top coats
  • Compound again to blend and level it all out
  • Finalize with Wolfgang polish and carnauba wax

The original plan was for a body shop take care of this while also doing the roof. However, the bumper is a little warped in some areas and there’s a small corner broken off that bugs me. I’m unsure if I’ll keep it or seek a replacement. So for now, I’m just doing a cheap fix. The above steps should hold me over for a year or so.

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Even at the highest RPM on my buffer, this took some time to see decent results. Here’s a 50/50 shot.

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I also attacked some of the quarter panels. These weren’t quite as intense. Still plenty of scratches to be removed.

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Check out that shine and metallic flake! This is why I love Ford’s Toreador Red Metallic.

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I also went down the driver’s side.

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Though I plan to replace the current exhaust setup, I couldn’t let it go without a good cleaning too.

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Examining the bumper in sunlight. You can see a tremendous improvement, though the failed clear coat is still apparent. Time to address that…

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This is my first time doing a cheap rattle-can paint job, so the whole thing has been a learning experience. I first dry sanded the rough areas to ensure a smooth finish and good adhesion.

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I then removed the bumper to see if I could improve the alignment and tighten the panel gaps. Doing this prior to painting would prevent the new paint from blistering from all the flexing and bending.

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Back on the car with minimal improvements to the fitment. I emptied an entire 8oz can of Dupli-Color BFM0344 base coat and topped with another 8oz of Dupli-Color EBCL01257 clear. This is cheap stuff, but went on effortlessly.

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The results as of this posting. There’s plenty of orange peel, but the color match is pretty spot on. I’m waiting for the appropriate cure time before hitting the whole thing with compound again. I’ll report back with the results.

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You may notice that I extended the paint down pretty low to cover up the compounding job I just finished. That was to help with blending.

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On another topic, I’ve been revamping my car record binders. Adding the Contour made me realize that a fresh, consistent look was needed. The gray 6’s binder was getting so full that I had to create a Volume II. With over 264,000 miles, those records really add up.

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Here’s the Contour’s documentation and promotional material, some of which I’ve added. Not pictured here (from being hidden somewhere in storage) I have a VHS tape of the SVT Contour debut. That will be fun to find again though I won’t be able to play it. Anyone still have an old VHS player to loan?

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I was able to find that video on Youtube (Warning: hardcore 90s content here). At 0:58, you can hear how aggressive it sounded even in stock form.

The first owner must have been an enthusiast as there were plenty of SVT news printouts. I’m also lucky enough to have the original sales contract.

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Given my new branding of, “Pawela’s Garage”, it was time to give the old garage a little love too.

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New artwork and displays on the east wall. Next on the list will be performing lighting upgrades.

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And included with those displays, I added window stickers for each car. Both the Mazda’s needed to be recreated which I painstakingly did in Adobe Illustrator.

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Though the attention as been mostly on the Contour, the Mazda’s aren’t forgotten.

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Sunset shot of the daily…

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And the “i” got a bath to clear away the dust. I’ve only driven this 200 miles within the past 3 months.

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That does it for now. Until next time!

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7 thoughts on “Bringing the Contour’s Paint Back to Life

  1. Adam says:

    I can’t believe how much you managed to transform the paintwork, it’s looks stunning! From your photos, the bumper paint repair looks pretty darn good too! I’m loving how good your binders are looking, I brought some the other week with the idea of doing something similar – but they’ll pale in comparison to yours. Looking forward to your continued adventures with the Contour.

    • Jason Pawela says:

      Thanks, Adam! It’s been a lot of fun working on this so far. The binders evolved from manila folders stacked in a file cabinet. Haha! I’m sure yours will end up looking great.

  2. tysonhugie says:

    The 6i needs more miles! I don’t know quite where to begin with this post. I just finished watching that 2-minute SVT piece on YouTube. Heart is racing! And I might be a little motion-sick from all that jittery camera work, haha. Gotta love the 1990s. Major props to the DIY work on the back bumper – that came out fantastically. You haven’t posted many pics of the interior – how is that black leather holding up after 21 years? Love the work you did with the exhaust tip polish too. That is so satisfying. I did my dad’s MDX tips the other day since his vehicle is here in town for a few days. Btw, the Frank Farr signature on the 6i garage picture = definitely the best part. Original owner status!

    • Jason Pawela says:

      Thanks, Tyson! Yes, I need to get the “i” out and empty that old tank of fuel. I think the last time I filled it was early November last year? Glad you enjoyed the promo vid. I can relate to the motion-sickness of 90s video effects. Haha! I just finished the clear coat leveling last night and it looks so much better than what I shared here. Go for it on the SLX! Hope you’re having fun with your dad and Tanya. 🙂

  3. Lots of great stuff in this post! First of all, the Contour is really coming along nicely. You did a nice job with the rear bumper, and the car looks a million times better than the first photos of when you got it.

    Any updates on the daily driver 6? Any planned upgrades or repairs for it in the near future, or is it just purring along without any issues?

    Those Monroney stickers look great. You could probably make some extra cash on the side producing them for people! And the binders look like something you’d find at a dealership in the manager’s office. Very cool!

    • Jason Pawela says:

      Thanks! I’ll have to post another update soon on the bumper since I got quite a bit of shine back last night. About three hours was spent last night with wet sanding and buffing. The daily 6 is running great with no issues (knock on some wood for me!). It will be due for a good tune-up in about 10,000 miles and also a detail in late spring/early summer. I predict tires will be next in the fall sometime. Probably going to be another expensive year for it. The window stickers were fun to create. Maybe I should make some extra cash on the side!

  4. […] rear bumper needed a little buffing as the clearcoat on my DIY job hadn’t retained the luster it had. I might have to have this professionally resprayed at some […]

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