Improve the look of the area under the hood of your classic car by restoring and painting its individual engine parts. Restoring classic cars can be done at all levels from frame-off restorations to backyard, weekend mechanics. For the latter group, this article will provide direction on painting classic car parts.

Equipment you’ll need includes mechanic’s tools, cleaning fluid (Safety Kleen or even gasoline), course steel wool, a wire brush, an Emory cloth, heat-resistant spray primer and heat-resistant engine enamel.

Remove the parts from your classic car you plan to paint. The best time to do this is when you are removing the classic car parts to make other necessary repairs.

Thoroughly clean the classic car parts with the Safety Kleen solution (or gasoline) by using the wire brush and the steel wool. Be sure to wear eye protection – safety glasses.

There are two options at this point: one more costly, but better. If funds allow, take the classic car parts to be sand- or bead-blasted. This will result in a like-new surface for painting and really show well in your classic car. If funds are not available, continue using the steel wool. This is tedious, but effective.

Hang each part from a garage or basement ceiling rafter with a piece of wire attached to one corner. This will allow all surfaces to be painted at one time. Spray the part with heat-resistant primer. Apply several light coats rather than a single heavy coat to prevent runs. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator when spraying paint.

After the primer has dried, use an Emory cloth to lightly sand the entire part. Clean the part with a damp rag and allow it to dry.

Hang the part from the rafter again and apply the finish coat of heat resistant engine enamel. Remember to apply several light coats … don’t over-do it and you will avoid runs. Again, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator when spraying paint.

Allow at least 24 hours to cure and reinstall each part into your classic car.