Repainting the Airbox

After cleaning out the inside of the airbox and removing all the restrictions, the outside was looking quite sad. Time for a new coat of wrinkle-finish paint.

Ferrari 308 airbox in need of a repaint
In need of a repaint

Wrinkle-finish paint is remarkable stuff… you spray it on, it looks like gloss paint and then if you bake it while it dries, it wrinkles up to a satin finish that looks totally different. I use VHT High Temp Wrinkle Plus as it is readily available and it is good enough that professional restorers also use it. The consensus is that it can be sprayed on bare metal but I prefer to spray it over a thin layer of etch-primer.

Ferrari 308 airbox cover
Airbox cover in etch-primer

Once the surface is prepped and primed, there are only two steps to painting with the VHT paint. The first is to spray three coats 10 minutes apart: one horizontal, one vertical and one diagonal. With each coat, you can go a little heavier just be careful to avoid runs. Don’t worry if the gloss finish is not perfect… it will not matter in the slightest.

Initial coats of wrinkle-paint pre-wrinkle

After the final 10 minutes, it is time to heat up the now-drying paint. Traditionally this by popping it in the oven but since we also use that for our food, I used a heat gun. The heat gun heats up the paint to its critical temperature at which point it wrinkles and the heat gun can be moved to the next section.

Left; post-wrinle, right: pre-wrinkle

The whole process takes just a few minutes. Once wrinkled, the paint needs a further 24-48 hours to fully harden.

Ferrari 308 airbix wrinkle paint
Fully wrinkled

In terms of finish versus effort, wrinkle paint is hard to beat. It takes almost no effort and yet the results look amazing.

Close-up Ferrari 308 airbox paint
Wrinkle-paint close up

Disclaimer: 308restoration.com describes the restoration work I perform on my car and only my car. I am not a professional mechanic. The website content is presented for entertainment purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice, information, instruction or guidance for working on any other car. The opinions stated here are my own and no-one else’s.

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