Paint it or leave it: '56 Corvette

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twinflight

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 13, 2017
263
Minnesota, United States
www.facebook.com
The painting process is overwhelming me. I'm debating whether or not I want to repaint this '56 Corvette. Obviously, it needs new rubber and decals. Some would probably say to leave the paint and just wax and polish it. I'm a perfectionist and want it to have a show quality look. With that said, I'm leaning towards repainting it. Keep in mind I've never done a full blown strip and paint.

I've gone over Momo608's thread extensively and to be honest, I don't know what half of it means. Reducers and sealers…huh? I love his results. I've refurbished a bunch of Schwinn lightweights but I've always found ones that had good original paint so they just got a good polish. The Vintage Schwinn website makes it sound like all you need is a couple bottles of primer and enamel and you're all set.

My father-in-law insists that I go with lacquer because it's the most brilliant. Vintage Schwinn uses acrylic enamel. Again, I've never seen a side-by-side comparison so I have nothing to base my own opinion on. I've tried YouTubing and Googling the subject; most of what pops up is old cars.

Can someone tell momo608 to make an instructional in-depth video please? If you know of anything like this that exists, please post a link.


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Dizzle Problems

Finally riding a big boys bike
Feb 5, 2017
215
Ventura Ca
Personally, I'd leave the original paint, and just clean/polish. I buy most of my bikes based on the paint, and wouldn't buy a repaint unless dirt cheap or rare to find original. But I also don't mind wear and tear. That being said, it is your bike to do as you please and enjoy the process!
 

GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Sep 2, 2012
11,333
Central Arizona
I'm pretty picky about the paint on my bikes, but I'd have to be forced to repaint that Corvette. I would clean it up and maybe redecal it if it was mine, the paint still looks very nice from what I can see.
As far as a how to video painting a Schwinn Opal, Radiant or any other translucent color, I've never seen one. It's more involved and takes more talent then shooting a frame with Black paint out of a spray can. Momo goes for show quality and uses high dollar materials that in most cases probably cost more than the bike itself. His choice of paint would not be considered an equal or close to what was used originally but it does look very nice and it is a professional job. If you are shooting for a show quality finish and plan on doing it yourself, I would suggest getting some practice on a few clunkers or beaters first. Expecting to get a show quality type paint job the first time around isn't going to happen, no matter how many videos you watch or how many articles you read. You could have that frame blasted and powder coated in a candy red for 200 or so. Having it painted to match the factory paint would cost you twice that easy, unless you know someone that owes you a big favor. I've seen where some people have used a color matched metallic paint bi-passing the aluminum base coat (momo and others ;)) and that works but it's not what was on these bikes originally, and the finish does look very different even though the color is dead on.
Read up on painting, watch vids, ask questions and paint a bunch of beaters for experience.
 

rusty_apache

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 25, 2016
271
55
Alamo city
If you plan to keep it forever and you want perfection then paint it.
They are only original once and if you clean and wax it it should be quite brilliant as is.
It will also be more valuable if you ever decide to sell it.
 
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twinflight

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 13, 2017
263
Minnesota, United States
www.facebook.com
If you plan to keep it forever and you want perfection then paint it.
They are only original once and if you clean and wax it it should be quite brilliant as is.
It will also be more valuable if you ever decide to sell it.
I have no plans on selling. So far that’s about 6 votes NO, 1 YES (my father-in-law) for repaint. I’m sensing a trend. My plan now is to see the results after it gets polished up.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

rusty_apache

Finally riding a big boys bike
Oct 25, 2016
271
55
Alamo city
I have no plans on selling. So far that’s about 6 votes NO, 1 YES (my father-in-law) for repaint. I’m sensing a trend. My plan now is to see the results after it gets polished up.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I think you will be amazed with a light polishing compound and a wax.

The other advantage is you won’t be heartbroken when it gets it’s first nick.
 
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fordmike65

Riding a '37 Colson Imperial
Mar 4, 2012
20,197
East Los
I vote to leave it. Less work & those little scratches & nicks just add to it's history.
 

Balloonoob

I live for the CABE
Jan 24, 2019
1,172
35
Longmont Colorado

twinflight

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 13, 2017
263
Minnesota, United States
www.facebook.com
On a side note, does anyone know where I can pickup a gooseneck light post? I asked Bicycle Bones but they don't have any for this model.
 

Eatontkd

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 5, 2016
161
60
Central PA
www.eatontaekwondo.com
This is the hardest decision for me as well. My wife likes "shabby sheik"; to me, it looks like it needs paint. That said, I understand the patina of time and use as a statement. I've purchased two bicycles of late; one a '53 Rudge, the other a '56 Hercules. I've come to restore one and clean the other.
 
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Jeff54

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Sep 11, 2013
2,278
Ft Myers, Florida
Leave it. Btw i found the decals on ebay. Your fork tube decals already look great but i wonder if the color would match if they weren't changed and the others were. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Schwinn-Approved-Corvette-Bicycle-Decal-Set-Early-Model-1954/333038959133?epid=1032929744&hash=item4d8aab3a1d:g:TvYAAMXQH-pRDOpN. Where do my fellow cabers buy your decals? H Lloyd cycles had some cool expensive ones but i could not find any schwinn.

That does look like some good paint on it as is. That red: 'Opalescent' is two applications after red lead. an aluminum and then transparent red. You'll have a bunch of that transparent red to polish up pretty nicely. And trying to duplicate that ain't easy at all. Especially getting the right tint and the Opel effect, or 1950's Candy over aluminum that's lightly, very slightly crinkled. . You paint that and you'll chip it, sorry later, B/C Schwinn baked it on good and hard. Even their own touch-up or spray cans were crap. And as far as replacement decals, I strongly advise, especially if you're anal about it, you measure your originals before buying from anybody. Can say first hand that "Approved" does not mean it's correctly sized.
 
Last edited:

Rivnut

I live for the CABE
Nov 24, 2012
1,149
Shawnee, United States
If you decide to repaint it, stay away from lacquer. The auto industry did away with it for health reasons some time ago. For brilliance, use a base coat clear coat paint. You'll still want to wear a respirator. Try taking a clay bar to it and see what contaminates you can remove. Have you ever considered powder coating it?
 
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bikecrazy

I live for the CABE
Dec 8, 2011
1,076
Mentor, United States
I’m a huge fan of restoring and refinishing bikes, but even I would give that one a good clean-up and just enjoy it. You will be surprised how nice it will turn out with the proper care.
 

twinflight

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 13, 2017
263
Minnesota, United States
www.facebook.com
I'm pretty picky about the paint on my bikes, but I'd have to be forced to repaint that Corvette. I would clean it up and maybe redecal it if it was mine, the paint still looks very nice from what I can see.
As far as a how to video painting a Schwinn Opal, Radiant or any other translucent color, I've never seen one. It's more involved and takes more talent then shooting a frame with Black paint out of a spray can. Momo goes for show quality and uses high dollar materials that in most cases probably cost more than the bike itself. His choice of paint would not be considered an equal or close to what was used originally but it does look very nice and it is a professional job. If you are shooting for a show quality finish and plan on doing it yourself, I would suggest getting some practice on a few clunkers or beaters first. Expecting to get a show quality type paint job the first time around isn't going to happen, no matter how many videos you watch or how many articles you read. You could have that frame blasted and powder coated in a candy red for 200 or so. Having it painted to match the factory paint would cost you twice that easy, unless you know someone that owes you a big favor. I've seen where some people have used a color matched metallic paint bi-passing the aluminum base coat (momo and others ;)) and that works but it's not what was on these bikes originally, and the finish does look very different even though the color is dead on.
Read up on painting, watch vids, ask questions and paint a bunch of beaters for experience.

Crazy prices. The only pricing I could find for PPG products was $660 for a set that includes clear, hardener and a reducer. Not exactly practical.
 
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