Lowriders have been obsessed with custom paint since the invention of bunny ear antennas and 14-inch Cragar wheels. If candies, flakes, and pearls were drugs, you could say that plenty of us have had multiple overdoses. Most of us can’t even make up our minds which color we want, and when we think we narrowed a certain color down we start to change our minds as the spray booth door closes and the compressor kicks on. After all, when you look at a custom paint color chart you may want lime green today but tomorrow it’s tangerine, and a month later you’re having your car rubbed out and it’s now candy magenta! This story is about how much we are fascinated with pearls and candies that we also wish we could shoot them. From the days of lead paint on up to the latest waterborne craze, paint chemists are constantly engineering product materials to support easy, quick, and accurate applications. In today’s modern paint world, a candy apple can be shot in two stage, which doesn’t sound like it would be that hard to do for some of us rookies. We decided to get a hold of a couple lowrider motorcycle fenders and a tank and then run them over to the Wizards custom body shop in Whittier, California. Sorel Knobler is the shop’s proprietor and custom paint guru. This guy was learning how to paint back in the late ’60s/early ’70s. Back then they painted with nothing but good old lead-poisoned lacquer. A good thing for Knobler was that he grew up in Boyle Heights, which was the haven for early and well-known lowrider car clubs and custom cars. It took time, practice, and patience to custom paint any vehicle back then and Knobler had those virtues. As he grew wiser and older into the lowrider custom paint scene, he joined up with “Big Ed” Madrigal, the famous custom painter out in the Valley in the ’80s. Knobler learned a lot from Big Ed’s techniques in bodywork, flake, and intricate patterned candy paint. From there Knobler would eventually go on and open up different shops here and there as he continued his love for lowriders and custom paint. Part of Knobler’s resume is that he also has belonged to the Lifestyle Car Club for 40 years and his experience has always come to play in his help and ideas to advise members who were getting ready for paint. Knobler’s journey as a painter has led him through the use of every brand of paint materials imaginable. Today he seems to be in solace with Axalta (Du Pont) coating systems. He says he loves the primers and clears but is turned on by how easy the candies and pearls are to shoot. Although he should be able to paint blindfolded by now, he says spraying the Axalta products is just about like that. Knobler took on the lowrider bike parts by sanding down the original paint on these Harley parts. He then sealed them up with Axalta’s quality Primer Sealer and after masking up a two-tone candy paint scheme on the fenders he sprayed Axalta 7175S ChromaBase basecoat. Being a wizard as he claims to be, he added some flake to the gold base before spraying CFX Scarlet Night (candy red) on the bottom half of the tank and fenders. Knobler went on to spray CFX Lava and Bronz candy to the top half of his design. L8700S Clear was used after some subtle tape shade designs and as sure as this high-performance clear dried right away, Knobler sanded down the parts smooth enough for him to run them over to Philips Fine Lines in Montclair for some complementary ‘striping and variegated Gold leaf designs that Phil is famous for. After Phil tied in this custom combo creation, Knobler rushed back to his shop to unload some more Axalta L8700 Clear for the final result, which, as you can see, came out way too cool! We know that this doesn’t look easy for a novice, but with experience comes a skillful painter. Knobler says that when you spray a single-stage candy like the Axalta CFX Bronze, Lava, or Scarlet colors he applied here, he used about 20 to 30 psi of air pressure and that it was applied as easy as if he were shooting primer. Other tips are to overlap your coats 50 to 60 percent, read the instructions on the paint cans to know the right ratio of material mixes. Like any other painter out there, in the beginning there will be some trial and error, but once you get the feel of that spray gun down, make up some business cards and start custom painting like a wizard. Spray on.
Axalta CFX Basecoat Candy brings a new level to overall custom paintjobs with a two-stage system.
Axalta primer applied.
Seal the deal.
Subtle pattern design.
Deep dark candy illuminates.
Gold base with CFX lava on top.
Sorel Knobler spraying the basecoat candy CFX.
Any type of light brings out a pearl effect.
CFX Lava and Bronze look.
CFX Scarlet Night color.
Phillip demonstrating his fine-line effect.
Rear Harley fender with gold leaf scroll.
A candy combo high lustre finish.