Berck Reader
9/21/23 11:35 p.m.

While Carl's thread is going to be more useful than mine, it seems like I should have one.

I keep crashing mine.  Mostly not my fault, though this one was:

I went 2 off, high centered on the kerb, got a little sideways and the car behind me took off the nose.  The contact was minor, but fiberglass isn't exactly forgiving.

The high centering ended up doing a ton of damage.  My rear brake line was mis-routed because I'd last swapped the engine in the paddock the night before the last race, and had already bled the brakes my the time I realized I'd routed the line on the wrong side of the frame.  The engine was a loaner, so I figured I'd fix it when I pulled the engine after this race weekend to return it.  I also, apparently, cracked the case, judging from the fact that all the oil dripped out after I got it back to the paddock.

Anyway, today I went to go buy some paint because the next race is next weekend.

As far as I can tell, there are two places to buy automotive paint in Colorado Springs: Sherwin Williams or English Color. I went to English Color even though they spelled their name wrong.

The fellow who painted my car used Valspar TB550 Urethane, and I have all the magic numbers needed to recreate the appropriate colors, but no one in town sells Valspar TB550. The English Color in Denver sells it, but that's a 2.5 hour drive on each way, they’re not open on weekends and I’ve got work to do during the week. So I figured I’d just grab the tail cover of my car and head to the English Color in the Springs which sells PPG, and PPG Concept is a favorite single stage of the Internet.

The ladies at English Color put their magic scanner on my tail cover and mixed up a small amount of both the blue and the yellow. It’s hard to tell from wet paint, but it looked mostly right. The yellow seemed maybe a little dark and the blue seemed maybe a little light. “Do you want to take it outside and compare under the sunlight?” they asked. “Nope.”

“What kind of paint do you want?”

“Whatever single stage urethane you have.”

“Well, what do you want?”


“We don’t have that.”

“Right. So what do you have?”


“That’s what I want, then.”

They remarked that my Blue matched with a color called “Volvo White” on their computer. Maybe “white” means blue in Swedish. But when I got home, I was shocked to notice the name of my yellow:

Alberta Government Telephone?!? A little Googling turned up the answer:

Apparently, the yellow on my Vee is a match for the repair fleet trucks that Alberta Government Telephone used some long time ago. When the car was being painted last time, Brian asked what shade of yellow I wanted, I told him to make it the color of another Vee in the club. “That’s midlife crisis yellow.” “Perfect.” Only, the shade he used is way lighter than midlife crisis yellow. Now I know that it’s Alberta Government Telephone Yellow.  This makes me happy.

I have no explanation for Volvo White.

californiamilleghia UberDork
9/21/23 11:59 p.m.

at one time our local paint shop had cases of City of San Diego tan which was real close to the VW beige of the early 70s ,

So that what all the cars we were "restoring" got painted ?

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/22/23 9:22 a.m.

I've heard Volvo's Rebel Blue being called "Swedish Racing Green" as a joke, but I've not heard of Volvo White before.

myusdmcavalier New Reader
9/22/23 9:54 a.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

maybe they mixed white with blue to get the paint, and just called it white, best idea I could come up with.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
9/22/23 5:26 p.m.

Thanks for posting about your FV and sorry to hear about the incident. I've really appreciated your advice and look forward to more here.

Did you crack the case on the loaner engine? That's a tough one.

Berck Reader
9/22/23 5:50 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

I did.  It's kind of amazing how terrible what I thought was going to be a minor 2-off turned out to be.  I'm obviously covering the cost of the damage to the loaner engine, but such a dumb incident.  Hours of labor to fix the fiberglass/paint, money for the case & labor to rebuild, and a 3 race probation.  Fortunately the car that hit me did so with his rear wheel, so there was zero damage for him.

There's some Zink molds floating around the club, but none of them are the same nose I have, and I like the one I have.  So after I get it back together, I'm going to try to figure out how to make a mold from it.  I figure it's going to be make a rough mold to cast a plug, get the plug perfect, then make a real mold.

But first, there's a race a week from today so I'm just trying to get it presentable enough to enter.  

Berck Reader
10/1/23 9:45 p.m.

Wife got the fiberglass repaired in time for the race this weekend.  Unfortunately, after shooting primer the day before the race, I realized that the glass bubble filler she used left quite a few pinholes.  So I took it to the track with primer.  I've got a month before COTA to get it fixed.  Had a great weekend at La Junta, even if there were only 6 vees and only 3 of us were competitive.  We had a number of races where we were pretty much this distance the entire race, often with position changes every lap.


Berck Reader
10/2/23 1:13 a.m.
Berck Reader
10/24/23 10:42 p.m.

Painting cars is not a thing I ever thought I wanted to do, and the last couple of weeks confirms this.

Wife did a pretty darned good job on the fiberglass.  I did a job on the paint that I'm pretty happy with, but only because I did it.  I think I'd have refused to pay if someone did it for me.


It turns out that Alberta Government Telephone Yellow is pretty much a bang-on match.  "Volvo white" doesn't look quite right, but we'll see how far off it is in the sunlight.  In any case, it'll at least pass tech at COTA in couple weeks for the SVRA event.

Things I've learned about painting:

  • It's really easy to sand primer, but it's really hard to sand topcoat.  Even though everyone acts like a little wet sanding is no big deal, it's apparently a big deal for me.
  • It's impossible to see all the things wrong with the fiberglass until you shoot some primer.  Especially the pinholes.  So time-budget on shooting a coat of primer and figuring out where to fix things.
  • I really liked the Everfill primer/filler stuff, but it's stupid expensive.  Surely there's a more economical alternative?
  • Everything takes longer than I think it will, unfortunately I only seem to do this with a looming race weekend deadline.
  • I don't think saving the yellow roundel at the top was worth the effort.  Probably would have been better off just redoing it.
  • Simulating a paint booth is probably worth it if you don't want a zillion dust nibs.  But this is a racecar and someone is just going to crash into it again next week, so spraying it in my open garage actually worked fine.
  • YouTube is full of really good painting advice.
  • Whatever the "Painters Plastic" I have is, it doesn't stand up to PPG single stage.
  • Thin single stage like this runs very easily, but it's worth knowing ahead of time that you don't have to lay it down flat.  It will flatten out great after you spray it even if it looks like orange peel central when it goes on.  Trying to fix the orange peel with a wetter coat when you're spraying it will always end in a run.

In other Vee miseries: I changed the break-in oil in my new engine only to notice some shiny bits in the drain pan.  The drain pan was filthy, so I cut open the oil filter to see what I was dealing with.

(Tip: put the folded pleats of the oil filter into a bench press to squeeze out the oil so you can see what you're dealing with.)

This was the break-in oil after a single race weekend.  I'd expect some metal from a new engine, but this is a lot.  None of it is ferrous.  Nothing showed up in the valve covers, which is pretty much the kiss of death for a Vee engine. The engine seems like it's running great, so I'm planning to go ahead and run it at COTA.  My spare engine is also ready, so I'm tempted to take that with me, but this engine change in the paddock thing is just the hardcore image I project.  I really don't want to.


myusdmcavalier New Reader
10/25/23 9:40 a.m.

Nice job on the paint, looks 100 times better then I could ever do.

wearymicrobe PowerDork
10/25/23 12:48 p.m.

Mine tracked back to Caltrans Orange when I had it matched on the Cobra way back in the day. Pretty sure they stole a bunch of paint from the side of the road or leftovers from a repair to get it a single color and legal to race. 


TurnerX19 UberDork
10/26/23 6:37 p.m.

"Volvo White" is not a color. Volvo and White trucks (remember them?) shared bodies and paint lines for a time. So that blue is for a blue White. 

Berck Reader
10/26/23 6:55 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Ah hah!  I love concise answers to useless questions.  Appreciated!

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