The Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LA Trade Tech) is a public community college in Los Angeles, California. It offers academic courses and training and certificate programs in auto body and collision repair. The auto body collision repair class is held in one of the large buildings located on the 25-acre campus.

Their auto collision instructor and famed custom paint and pinstripe guru, Brian Ferre, has taught automotive paint and collision repair for over 30 years and 10 of those years have been at LA Trade-Tech. There are about 200 students enrolled in automotive programs at the facility and about a 100 of those are enrolled in the collision repair course. “LA Trade-Tech offers Saturday courses, as well as daytime and night classes throughout the week and most of the students who attend these classes are at the average age of 28 and are also trying to start a new life,” Ferre says.

The school’s success depends on funding and donations toward the program’s capabilities. Donations of car parts, paint products, and supplies are sometimes a must in order to help along with the many courses offered within the auto body and collision program. For most of the students, the best part is getting to do your hobby for a living. Besides keeping fenders and door panels straight and removing rust and dings, course instructor Brian Ferre and his staff offer a hands-on approach to the art of automotive bodywork. Most students with the right amount of practice in sanding and prepping eventually learn that, after mastering this technique, they can easily complete the rest of the training course path. The different courses that are offered range from metal prepping, welding, frame straightening, and even calculating collision estimates. When you complete and pass the overall course, you can actually and or eventually run a dealership body shop.

Brian Ferre, striper, painter, and artist instructor at LA Trade-Tech.
Brian Ferre, striper, painter, and artist instructor at LA Trade-Tech.

LOWRIDER Magazine, along with Axalta Coating Systems, paid a visit to the LA Trade-Tech facility and offered the auto body class the challenging job of bringing back our 1964 project “Cadillac DeVillain” back to life. Though the car’s original paint and shape needed a little work; the challenge also included a deadline for the Cadillac to be featured on display at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas. For the students who learn everything there is to be offered in this special body and paint class, they made “DeVillian” their personal favorite project to work on. Axalta Paint products were provided for the Cadillac project and included only the best quality materials from start to the final finish.

Once the students removed the original 50-year-old paint down to the metal, they applied Axalta’s Etching Primer #22880S. This metal protective sealer is a non-sanding etch primer that provides exceptional corrosion resistance and only the best adhesion to bare steel. When the class got down to the bodywork and blocking of this large luxury liner, they applied Axalta Primer #LE3404S, which is a urethane primer-filler designed for spot, panel, and overall repairs. It provides excellent fill capacity (high build) and is easy to apply and sand. The sealer used was Axalta’s #LE3440S urethane primer sealer designed to provide excellent flow and leveling for spot, panel, and overall repairs. It delivers exceptional topcoat holdout and minimal overspray during application.

While in the facility’s large spray booth, and in the final stage of paint, Cadillac Sierra Gold / ChromaBase was mixed and sprayed over the classic body style. ChromaBase is an excellent choice for spot, panel, and overall repairs for all finishes – solids, metallics, pearls, and special-effect colors too. To show off the glamor of this soon-to-be SEMA Show display vehicle, two kits of PremierClear #LE 8700S Clearcoat was sprayed on top to complete the quality paintjob and finish that only the class at LA Trade-Tech students demand and expected for their class project.

Congratulations and a special thanks go out to Brian Ferre and his staff, all the students who spent their time working on this soon-to-be fabulous vehicle, and especially the following students who made it their personal quest: Aaron Vazquez Ramirez, Jose Mendoza, Jovanie Gutierrez, Arutyun Agayan, (Harry), and Lupe Ceja.

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1-5. Project “DeVillain” was taken down to the bare metal where the LA Trade-Tech students began the bodywork.

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6. The firewall on this ’64 Cadillac was completely shaved for an EFI drivetrain.

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7. LA Tech Project “DeVillain” class on recess to take a pose.

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8-13. Once the bodywork was complete, the hood, trunk, and body were sealed with Axalta LE 3440S sealer, which is an exceptional topcoat product that will seal the deal.

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14-17. The doorjambs were painted first before the body was shot by the students using Axalta Chroma Base Cadillac Sierra Gold.

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18. Axalta Premiere clearcoat was used to finish off the Cad. Class dismissed.