Polished Racing Stripes have become a very popular option, and are a great way to add a unique and original look to your car. There are two ways to apply the stripes. The difference is that one is semi-polished and still has a grain, and the other is fully polished. The difference is shown below.
|(fully-polished stripe picture)||(semi-polished stripe)|
click on picture to enlarge
Stripe Polishing Materials
-Mother'smag and aluminum polish (two 10 ounce jars
-paper towels (another big value pack)
-latex or nitrile gloves (use some leftover ones from sanding)
Add these items for fully-polished stripes:
-rotary/wobble DA Sander
-320 grit DA paper (1 box)
-600 grit DA paper (1 box)
-800 grit DA paper (1 box)
-1000 grit DA paper (1 box)
Here's the layout and measurements we typically use.
6 1/8” on the top part of the nose and the bottom of the rear. This measurement tapers up to 6 3/4”at the edges of the cockpit. There's a 1” gap between the stripes. Click on photo to enlarge.
The stripes just above the oil cooler are 5 7/8” wide and the ones under the cooler are 5 3/4” wide. The gap between the stripes is 1 inch.
If you'd like to add “pit stripes”, we typically run these from the edge of the hood (as shown) to the middle of the wheel arch.
These stripes were used on similarly-painted teammates' cars to help pit crews know who was who on the track. These stripes are 2” wide with a 1” gap between them.
A note on stripes: Obviously, this is not the only possible configuration of stripes. The more you study, the more you'll notice that the stripes (pit stripes included) on original race cars varied greatly. So feel free to be creative, and go with what you like.
If you'd like meatballs (number circles) on your car, we place ours as pictured below. They are 18” on the hood and trunk, and 19” on the sides. Again, there was a lot of variation on the vintage race cars (often the side meatballs were partially on the doors), so make them, and the size of them, however you like.
|front 18”||side 19”||rear 18”|
click on picture to enlarge
Semi-Polished Stripes (visible grain)
If your goal is to semi-polish the stripes, just mask the stripes off, apply and rub in the polish with a paper towel, wipe it off with another paper towel, and repeat as desired. Oh yeah, always wipe with the grain. Also, make sure to rub all of the polish out before you determine whether you're satisfied or not. Sometimes, the stripes can look polished without being polished. This is due to extra (unwiped) polish on the car creating the contrast, not the fact that the metal is really polished. In this case, your stripes will wash off when you clean the car, and the actual end-result will be less polished than you may have desired.
(no visible grain)
First, realize that even though this may seem like a much bigger project than semi-polishing the stripes, it really doesn't take any longer, and power tools do the work, not your body. Though many people do not mind, be aware that fully-polished stripes will more greatly reflect the sun than the semi-polished ones.
The first step in this process is removing the grain from the area you wish to polish. In the case of typical racing stripes, plan on removing the grain down the whole middle section of the car. There's no need to mask here, and it doesn't matter if you go beyond where the stripes will actually be. Use 320 grit on a DA sander, (wobble function) and remove all of the visible grit. (figure 1.6) Repeat this process with 600 and 800 grit. After the 800 grit, turn the DA sander to the “rotary” function and sand with 1000 grit. Though you can do this without a rotary function, it will take longer to polish out the little DA swirl marks. 1000 grit paper with a rotary DA will pretty much polish the stripe area. Be consistent here, and do not gouge the aluminum. (figure 1.7) After the 1000 grit, the area will be nearly polished with the exception of some swirl marks. At this point, you're ready to polish. Rub a liberal amount of polish on to the desired area, then (with the buffer on low speed) polish in a swirl pattern. (figure 1.8) Repeat this final step 2 or 3 times until you have a consistently polished surface. (figure 1.9) Now just mask the stripes, re-scotchbrite the polished area outside of the strips, remove the tape, clean with Windex, and you're done. Celebrate, give your crew a nice bonus (extra pizza), and tell them to meet back in an hour to start the assembly.
A Fully Polished Car
If you'd like to polish your entire car, please refer to the “Fully-Polished Stripes” section. The polishing process is exactly the same as the stripes. Just keep in mind that all the nooks and crannies can be a major chore to get to, and the total job could last more than 300 hours. Racing stripes on a polished car work the same as on the brushed car, just in reverse. After polishing the entire car, mask the stripes, and sand them in with scotchbrite. If you just changed your mind about polishing your own car, call us for a quote, and we'll help you out.