Custom paint has always been a part of our lives. Whether it’s flakes, candies, fades, or pinstripes, it’s become an integral part of our culture, and it’s with good reason. Classic cars are our platform of self-expression, and the largest part of that canvas happens to be the body of the car.

The body is where the magic happens, and this is what most people see. While custom paints have become a common part of our lives, it’s remained an anomaly to many others—painters included. So in this issue we’re teaming up with Phillips Finelines to see what type of voodoo magic he and his team can put together. In conjunction with Axalta Coating Systems, Axalta provided Philip and his team access to their line of Hot Hues Custom Automotive Paints and Finishes to produce a lowrider-style paintjob, and the platform for the occasion is a hard-top 1964 Impala, called California Funk.

california funks custom paintjob 64 impala roof pillar

To begin, the car was completely silver flaked to accept a palette of premium custom finishes, and the end results were brilliant. After laying out a master plan, Philip and his team started by masking up the car in preparation for the paint. The task was one that was tedious, grueling, and time-consuming, and it’s to be expected because of the intricacies involved. Once done, Philip Rincon formulated a custom mix of Axalta colors using Violet and Magenta to created a palette of custom colors that would be used over different colored basecoats.

In creating a custom finish it’s always best to mix a few colors together, but in the end it’s up to you. The paint colors you choose are a reflection of your style, and as with most lowriders, it always best to have your own mixes of paint and base so that your ride offers its own flavor.

As for paint, well we’ve been more than pleased with the performance of Axalta’s Hot Hues products. Their products offer superior color, purity, clarity, and brightness, and this step by-step guide will showcase the intricacies involved in creating a one-off paintjob. In addition, this article should also give newbies a better understanding as to why these paintjobs cost so much, so remember … you get what you pay for, so catch a budget and break bread because good paintjobs aren’t cheap, and cheap paintjobs aren’t good.

Putting it Down Step by Step:

california funks custom paintjob cromax premum clearcoated body

1. The silver flaked canvas roof and body were prepped and smoothened out with gallons of Cromax Premium Clear. Always remember that your paint is only as good as the prepwork done prior to it.

california funks custom paintjob silver basecoat

2. As you can see, a silver basecoat is shot before the flake and clearcoats were poured on.

california funks custom paintjob block sanded roof

3. The flake top and bottom are block-sanded down and smoothened out. This ensures proper adhesion for the paint. In the same photo you can see the yards of tape that outline the intricate scheme to be applied.

california funks custom paintjob axalta products

4. Axalta paint is open for business!

california funks custom paintjob axalta hot hues magentas purples reds

5. Hot Hues magentas, purples, and reds are sprayed in complementary color combinations and tones. It might look like a mess right now but it all comes together to create the perfect puzzle.

california funks custom paintjob first round of patterned layouts

6. The first round of patterned layouts are unmasked. Philip and his crew will demonstrate hours of measuring patterns and masking various designs to allow for this multi-color motif.

california funks custom paintjob 1st round back masking

7. After flash time, the first patterns of layouts are back masked to continue the spraying of other color palettes of Axalta’s effective finishes.

california funks custom paintjob water drop designs

8. Water drop designs are part of Philips technique. Using a bottle containing water, it is sprayed onto select paint panels.

california funks custom paintjob back masking

9. Once again, the next phase of paint patterns are back masked. This requires nun-like patience, and the key is to never rush into things.

california funks custom paintjob 64 impala

10. A top view of the 1964 shows you an example of the laborious work hours put in to a lowrider style of paintjob. This is exactly why most painters will steer away from custom paintjobs because it’s a time-consuming art that is reserved for those who are truly passionate about their craft.

california funks custom paintjob basing over flake

11. Philip goes in reverse as he feels it’s easier to base over the flake to even out the materials in order to have an even and smooth flat surface.

california funks custom paintjob clearcoating

12. After miles of tape, gallons of materials, and a tired and achy crew, the final stage of this custom creation is the application of a protective clearcoat.

california funks custom paintjob 64 impala custom paintjob

13. With the clear finished, you can already see the depth and luster of the paint. The only thing left to do is to rub it out.

The End Result

The end result of this paintjob is one that provides exceptional depth and luster. With an array of colors to choose from, the Hot Candy Colors are compatible with all Hot Colors and basecoats. They offer an endless amount of options and in the end the easiest part is knowing to use Axalta products, but the hard part is figuring out which color combination to choose from because the options are just about endless.

About the Paint

Hot Hues/Hot Candy Color concentrates are liquid additives designed and packaged to provide maximum color impact. The Hot Hues Candy Colors can be added to a variety of “carriers,” including Intercoat Adhesion Promoter Binder and Hot Hues 6300 Balancer. When it comes to the final finish always use Cromax clearcoats. By design, these candy concentrates are meant to be applied over the top of ground coat colors and then cleared with only thee topcoat quality clear.