Panel Straightening & Painting

Panel Straightening & Processing - Arrow Straight Range Rover Panels.

At Kingsley we pride ourselves on the quality of our paint finish.  Our bodyshop is the centre of the company with all of the other department orbiting around it.

The depth of finish cannot be matched by commercial bodyshops as it would simply not be commercially viable and is only really viable if the steel shell is being restored as the car has to be fully dismantled anyway - the welding progresses at the same time as the paintwork.  Each car and each panel set follow the same high quality process irrespective of it being an everyday restoration or a concourse restoration. 

We take all of the removed outer body panels including, the front wings, bonnet, decker panel, doors, rear wings, quarter panels, lower tailgate and roof back bare metal both on the outside as well as the inside (to make sure that we are working from a known substrate), before the panels are handed over to be straightened by Guy or Pat, the panelbeaters/coachbuilders.  Any areas of corrosion are removed by cutting out and letting in new metal le butt welded (MIG welded steel or TIG welded on alloy) by our resident Wizard of Rust - Stevie. 

Areas on the outer body panels which have galvanic corrosion are first repaired and annealed (galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical process in which the outer alloy panel corrodes preferentially to the inner steel shell when both metals are in electrical contact, in the presence of an electrolyte like rain water. This same galvanic reaction is exploited in primary batteries to generate an electrical voltage).

The panels are then handed back to the paint shop manager Bob who fixes each individual panel to a jig to keep them absolutly true, then uses his skill to straighten and 'long block' the panels, which is a technique used mainly in the American show car business.  Blocking is the way you smooth minor surface waves and imperfections, much smaller than dents and dings. These are typically high and low spots so small you really can’t feel them, but you will certainly see them in the wavy reflections of light in a glossy top coat.  If the substrate you apply primer to has waves in it, the primer will shrink and conform to them as it dries.  The next coat will do the same, and so on, and so on, up to the final clear coat. In order to get a smooth as glass top coat you need to solve this while you are still in the primer phase by blocking the entire car - each panel takes between 12 and 16 hrs to prepare for paint and there are 14 panels on a four door Range Rover which can take over 200 hours of preparation time before painting!   

The next stage is the prepared and primed panels are left to 'cure' for 6 weeks.  This period allows the base material time to naturally shrink and for sinkage to occur.  As a final check before painting Bob sprays a thin layer of pre-painting prep or panel wipe fluid on the panel to get it wet. Before the panel wipe evaporates he looks at the way light reflects off the panel. This will gives him a very clear indication of what the panel is going to look like after paint and clear lacquer coat and if it requires any addition preparation.  

These are just some the many differences between a commercial or regular body shop and Kingsley's straightening and restoration of panels and paint preparation - the long term finish that comes as standard and will last, long after the price has been forgotten.