Monday, November 30, 2009

1/2 Price Presidential Paint Sale

The best deal of the year. Almost Everything's Presidential Paint with 2 year nationwide warranty is 1/2 Price! Come in before Friday for ridiculous savings. Make your car look presentable again before you see your friends for New Years  ;)

Regular $600, now just $299!

Almost Everything Autobody
37414 Centralmont Place
Fremont, California 94536

Kobi Eshun Photographs

Tenuous link to cars today. . .

I invite you to look at the breathtaking photography of my good friend, Kobi Eshun. Kobi is a car guy, inventor, photographer, world champion stunt kite flyer and very proud father. He and I met in our first job out of school and we roomed together for a few years in the old Besler Building (coincidentally the factory where the Doble Steam Car and Besler Steam Plane were produced in the 1920s-1930s) in Emeryville, California.

"Kobe" was born in Ghana, went to school in England and Texas and now calls California home.

Click on the sample photographs below to see his photo albums. The photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission from Kobi Eshun.

Besler Steam Plane & Doble Steam Car

Amazing 1933 film from the Besler Company of the Doble Steam Car and the Besler Steam Plane. I actually lived in the old Doble/Besler factory in Emeryville, California from about 1986 to 1993, when Emeryville was still an old industrial wasteland and cheap housing for artists instead of the shopping mecca it is today.

The Doble is a little known but magnificent automobile that competed with the likes of Rolls Royce & Duesenberg. When the Doble brothers' company failed, William Besler bought the factory & continued to develop steam power. He worked with General Motors for many years on steam power. Besler also provided smoke screen generators to Allied forces during WWII.

More links on Doble Steam Cars & Besler Steam Engines:;developer=local;style=oac4;doc.view=items

Jay Leno writes about his Doble:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Q&A: Racer's Special Discounts

Donna Seeley wrote to ask if we offer a "Racer's Special." You bet. We paint lots of local race cars and can match specific race colors & liveries. We provide volume discounts to race clubs as well as to companies, fleets and any organization with multiple vehicles. Give us a call to discuss your needs. You won't find a better deal in Northern California.

1970 Chevrolet Camaro - Restoration on a Budget

1970 Chevy Camaro. Customer removed engine, interior & trim prior to transport to Almost Everything Autobody. Almost Everything cleaned rust, welded holes, ground off old paint & repaired dents. Then we painted the entire car, including the dash, with a 2-stage pearl blue paint. We finished the car with a set of 3-stage pearl white stripes. The customer reassembled the interior and put in a new engine. The car is fierce and turns heads everywhere it goes.
Of interest in the background of the picture below is a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette convertible. Almost Everything Autobody repaired a number of cracks and holes in the fiberglass and performed a complete paint job on that car.


Another interesting car in the background of a photo is the 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser that belongs to the manager of a local automotive repair shop. He wanted to create something special--and fix some dents that PT Cruiser had gathered along the way. So we painted his car in a two-tone, 2-stage Harley-Davidson orange & black paint scheme. The owner had ordered some original Harley Emblems that were meant to go on the sides of the motorcycle gas tank. We were able to mount these emblems to the fenders. Look for Mike & his Harley Cruiser on Peralta Ave. in Fremont.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Almost Everything Wins Best of Fremont Award

Almost Everything Autobody thanks our customers for voting us the "Best" Auto Body Shop in the Bay Area in the Fremont Bulletin's annual readers survey. Almost Everything Autobody won the category for Auto Body, Collision Repair & Auto Paint.

In accepting the award, Frank Barnard said, "The award really goes to our team. We have a great group of guys at the shop. They have 75-100 years of experience in the auto body business. Their hard work and dedication made this award possible. I am very proud of their success. Thanks again."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Frank's Cars - #9: 1964 Ford Thunderbird

Here is my latest acquisition, a 1964 Ford Thunderbird. I bought from Nicolas Perez who owns Sunshine Auto Detailing on Mission Blvd. in Hayward. He put it up for sale many months ago when I didn't have any money to buy a car. I know people will think I'm crazy but I think that the 1964 Thunderbird is the most beautiful car ever produced in the USA. I've lusted after it since I was a little kid--and it is as old as I am so this has been a while in coming.

The economy has been in the toilet for the past 2 years and Nicolas' beautiful car never sold. I continued to see it parked behind his business for months and I finally broke down. Nick wouldn't take a dime less than his asking price. So I eventually paid him what he wanted--more than I could afford and less than I think it was worth so all-in-all an okay deal for both of us.

The car looks like it was purchased by an elderly couple then put in a nice garage & forgotten for a few decades. The interior looks almost new--it doesn't even show the hardening & shrinkage that I would expect on the seats but they are worn just enough to show that they are original. The engine starts eagerly and the car drives well.

I'm in love.

It needed paint so we brought it into the shop for some exterior freshening. Then we got busy. So it has been sitting, naked (bare metal) in a corner for weeks. I only got to drive it a couple of times before the crew tore into it. Everyone here wants it to be a show car but this is frustrating! The good news has been that the original sheet metal is very straight. The bad news was that the original paint was microchecked (in technical terms, the paint was "toast") so everything has to get stripped down to bare metal.

The trunk looked like it had never been used. The original tire & liners were virtually untouched. . . but it smelled musty and an old parts catalog sitting at the bottom of the trunk was wet. . . we found rust. Lots of rust.

Fortunately, the rust in the trunk has turned-out to be just on the surface. It cleaned-up fairly easily.

Who can tell us what this is? We can tell it is an air inflator connector and it is on the driver's side wheel well in the trunk. We haven't done any research into it. It looks like it connects to the rear suspension. Is this an early self-leveling system? Was it stock?!

More photos to come after she's painted.

Car of the Day - 2005 Mercedes Benz CL500 - Autobody Work

2005 Mercedes Benz CL 500 with dented quarter panel, broken tail light & scraped bumpers

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Almost Everything Autobody Stays Green to Help the Environment

Almost Everything Autobody has always done its part to help the environment. Our latest innovation in 2009 was to dramatically reduce the VOC (volatile organic compound) content in our paints. Reducing VOCs reduces smog and makes the atmosphere better to breath.

Our top of the line is now a "waterborne" paint. Instead of petroleum-based chemicals, this technology uses pure water to carry the paint through the spray system and onto the car. Almost Everything Autobody uses the same waterborne paint that has been in use by Mercedes Benz and other manufacturers in Europe for over 10 years. Special equipment is required to apply this paint. We use heated & specially ventilated booths for painting & curing plus air jets to cause the water to evaporate quickly, leaving only a durable shell of paint on the vehicle. The process creates a very high quality, high-solids finish and we give it the longest guarantee available in the business.

In January 2010, Almost Everything Autobody will be going a step further, eliminating more VOCs from our processes & chemicals.

And just so no one thinks this is some sort of new "green" fad we recently embarked on, we want folks to know that in 2007 we ordered all new equipment including state-of-the-art, fully enclosed, atmosphere regulated paint booth, fully enclosed curing oven and a fully enclosed, ventilated paint mixing room. These "clean room" type booths keep all of the chemicals contained to just the area where they are being used so they don't harm our employees or neighbors. Filters on the exhaust clean the air exiting the paint booth before it goes back into the atmosphere.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nick Kite - Pro Photographer & Car Guy

Nick Kite saw the Almost Everything logo on my shirt while we were sitting together on a plane and he mentioned that he planned to get a vehicle painted at Almost Everything soon. I'm usually not the type to talk to my seat mate for several hours but Nick turned out to be a true car guy and we traded stories & magazines for the rest of the flight.

Nick is a professional photographer who among other things has photographed cars for Car & Model, Boost Mobile's Hot Import Nights & Nightshift. He specializes in more technical photography--some examples were a 1 year time lapse study of San Jose's Airport construction project, long-exposure shots of vehicles in motion & high-speed shots of 12 different duck species as they landed and took flight.

Nick got his first car at age 15--a non-running Porsche 928 that he got back on the road and regrets selling to this day. He's totaled a Porsche Boxster after hydroplaning on a southern California freeway, amazingly escaping with a few bumps on his head from hitting the roll bar then being hit by the stereo as it flew through the cabin. He's gone through BMW 3 & 5 series cars, a Dodge Ram and was just flying back from Florida after purchasing a Cobra replica kit that he & his father plan to construct. His family currently has 3 Triumphs (2 Spitfires & a TR6--I thought my family was the only one insane enough to own 3 British sports cars at the same time--in our case MG-CGTs.)

Nick told me the story about how he got the 928. He made a bet with his father that if he could score at least 3 goals in a soccer tournament, his father would give him the Porsche that had been sitting in need of a clutch for several years. Nick's father didn't expect to lose the bet because Nick was a defender and had never scored a goal that season. But being a car guy and wanting the Porsche, Nick convinced the coach to let him play forward and then he proceeded to make 5 goals that day. Nick's father made good on the bet and together they got the Porsche running.

Nick showed me some great shots of BMWs that looked like they were doing 100 mph through a tunnel. I hope to be able to display some of his work here and to see the Cobra when he and his father complete it and drive it from Florida back to California.

Note: All of the car images in this post are free license photos taken from Wikipedia Commons.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Metallic & Pearl Colors

3-Stage Pearl White Paint has an extra shimmer.

Metallic & pearl colored paints use flakes of aluminum metal, mica (a shiny mineral) or "pearl" (iridescent particles often from ground sea shells) to create sparkle, luminosity and more light and color complexity than is found in solid colored paints.

Metallic and pearl colors are available in single-stage, 2-stage & 3-stage paint process technologies but they are not created equal.

The process and materials used in 2-stage paints result in a more uniform layer of color that causes the flakes to lie more flat, reflect more light and create beautiful finishes. The single-stage process is not capable of achieving the same results and certain colors--especially golds, silvers, champagnes and bronzes--can look dull and grey in single-stage when compared to 2-stage and 3-stage paints. When color is important, choose 2-stage paint to achieve the right hue & brilliance.

For certain colors and special effects in finishes like "candies" and pearls--especially pearl white--it may be necessary to go another step into 3-stage paint to achieve the desired result. The Nissan Altima in the photo has a 3-stage pearl white paint job that gives the white a luminosity and brilliance that single- and two-stage paints cannot come close to.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two-Stage Paint

This post is the 2nd in a series on Paint Technologies--What do people mean by single-stage, two-stage & three-stage paint? A previous post discussed single-stage paint. This article describes two-stage paint.

The terms "single-stage, two-stage & three-stage describe different types of auto painting processes. Each "stage" is a step in the process. Think of the stages like the layers of rock in the photo below. Each "stage" is like one of the different color bands in the formation. It is a layer of material:

Two-Stage:  It can also be called 2-stage, bi-stage, base-clear, base coat/clear coat, B/C, etc. In this case the 1st of the two stages is the base coat. It contains the colored paint. The 2nd stage is the clear coat--layers of clear paint that go on top of the color paint to provide protection & gloss. So in relation to the rock formation, 2-stage paint is equivalent to two bands of rock stacked together. Auto manufacturers in the USA phased-out single stage paints and transitioned to two-stage or base coat-clear coat paints in 1987.

Any paint is designed to protect the car against damage from sunlight, acid rain, bird droppings and all of the other environmental hazards that your car gets exposed to every day. Reputable shops like Almost Everything Autobody will apply 2-3 coats of base-coat AND 2-3 coats of clear-coat to your vehicle. 2-stage paints cost a little more initially than single-stage paints but are generally a more economical choice when it is important to keep the vehicle looking good, when you want to maintain resale value or you plan to keep the vehicle for more than 3 years because they are easier to maintain, last & look better longer.

Some advantages of 2-stage paints are:
  • Better UV protection & resistance to fading from sunlight
  • Easier maintenance with ability to remove scratches that don't penetrate down to the color layer
  • Better resistance to chipping
  • More variety, better looking & more vibrant colors & metallic finishes
  • Better gloss & "wet" look
  • Easier to achieve uniform color appearance
  • Possible to address cosmetic issues like dust specks and paint runs
  • Generally look better, longer than single stage paints
The process and materials used in 2-stage paints result in a more uniform layer of color that causes metallic paints to be more brilliant. The single-stage process is not capable of achieving the same results and certain colors--especially golds, silvers, champagnes and bronzes--can look dull and grey in single-stage when compared to 2-stage. When color is important, choose 2-stage paint to achieve the right hue & luminosity.

I began to type "disadvantages" but I don't think that the following is really a disadvantage as much as a difference between single-stage and 2-stage paints that may affect the type of paint you choose. When 2-stage paint reaches the end of its useful life, usually 7-14 years after the car was originally built and painted, instead of fading like single-stage paints, the top, clear layer turns cloudy and if not repaired, can start to peel and expose the more fragile color coat and even the metal underneath. We call this delamination. Many customers find failing clear coat ugly and more objectionable than the relatively uniform fading that is found on older-technology single stage paints. It is important to remember that 2-stage paint provides great protection and looks better longer than single-stage paint but, in our opinion, it does fail less gracefully when its time is done.

It is a good idea to get a car re-painted when this delamination starts to happen for a number of reasons--number one being cost. The longer the car goes without new paint, the more damage that happens to the existing paint, the greater the chance for rust and the more work that is required to fix the problem, not to mention, the car becomes embarrassing, looks worn-out and starts to quickly lose value. You should not allow anyone to put new paint on top of delaminating paint. The old, delaminating paint will continue to peel under the new paint and the new paint will quickly peel off just like the old stuff was doing! Don't waste your money on new paint if you don't plan to get the failed paint reconditioned first.

One note of caution, there are cheap paints out there--any of single-stage, two-stage or three-stage can be painted with poor materials that produce lousy results and don't last long. Almost Everything uses only top quality paints from the supplier used on NASA's Space Shuttle, the Golden Gate Bridge and just about every car make & model since the Model T Ford.

We will be posting additional articles that deal with color matching, gloss, texture and "orange peel," wet sanding or color sanding, solids, metallics & pearls. Feel free to drop by our shop if you are near to us and we will be happy to discuss with you.

Integrated Clear Coat

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Almost Everything Helps Break World Land Speed Record

It's official, the 1958 Volkswagen Bug that Almost Everything Autobody repaired & painted for the San Francisco Bay Area "Beaver Geezers" has broken the World Land Speed Record for stock Volkswagens with 36 horsepower. The Beaver Geazers smashed the previous 36 HP Challenge Record with a blistering speed of 73.492 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats on Sept. 18, 2009.

The Beaver Geezers are Dan Durie, Al Leggett & Glenn Patterson. When they brought the car to Almost Everything Autobody, the roof looked like someone had jumped on it repeatedly. The hood, fenders, deck lid & doors were a mess of dents, rust & holes. This was the car they wanted to take to Bonneville?!! Oh, and it was several shades of mint green & gray primer.

The car was silky smooth aerodynamically (at least as far as you can go on a "stone stock" 1958 VW) on race day and screamed for fans to take notice with its specially formulated Beaver Geezer Orange racing livery. The guys even asked to put a Almost Everything decal on the car for the record attempt but they were the first folks to ever ask us for one so we didn't have any!

We love everything about this story. Thanks & congratulations guys. You are our heros and welcome at the shop any time!

Photos of the car--before & after:


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Using Wikipedia as an auto body & collision repair reference

We use Wikipedia all the time to get specific information about car models & the years they were made. Check it out. There are usually photos of each different version of a particular model. Makes it easier to find alternate parts if the part you need for a particular year is not available.

All of the photos below were taken from Wikipedia's public domain images collection.

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