We clearly appreciate the color black (or shade, if that’s your opinion on colors, but that’s a whole other post), and there are many types of ways to turn an item black. After getting asked by a fellow racer about the types of black paint we use on the Stealth Bomber, we decided an in-depth post was needed.
In the SkunkRennWerks garage, we have five basic categories of black paint. From left to right; Plasti-Dip, Rustoleum Textured Satin Black, Rustoleum Trim & Bumper Black, Rustoleum Flat Black Engine Enamel, and Krylon Smooth Finish Flat Black. All are spray cans for convenience. Now these aren’t the only blacks we use, but they are in the rotation the most.
The first, and our personal favorite, is the love-it-or-hate-it Plasti-Dip. Originally developed as a tool handle coating to increase grip, Plasti-Dip’s spray can formula allows the wielder to create a tough, rubbery coating on nearly any surface. This product produces more of a satin than a flat black, with an appearance similar to OEM trim. We like Plasti-Dip’s ease of application, with minimal prep work required and rather lax masking needs. It can even be re-coated over and over with no need to remove existing dip. Plasti-Dip can be peeled off, assuming sufficiently thick coats are used. The downside of Plasti-Dip is that it loves to stick to itself, so as mentioned it peels (occasionally when you don’t want it to), adding difficulty in areas where you need a harsh line. It also does not wear well, resulting in tears in the dip itself, so is not suitable for high-traffic areas. Painting with Plasti-Dip is also an art form. Unlike traditional spray paint, thick coats are a way of life. Typical application steps for us are one light mist coat, then 3-4 thick, wet-paint coats applied 15 minutes apart. Our preferred use for Plasti-Dip are grills, three dimensional badges, and trim that doesn’t get touched often. We would never use Plasti-Dip on an area that sees high heat. Plasti-Dip’s makeup means cleanup is a snap, with Goo-Gone reverting the dip to a liquid state, and overspray wiping away with detailing spray and minimal elbow grease. The Stealth Bomber has Plasti-Dipped GT badges, gauge and vent trim rings, and strut tower brace.
Next up is the Rustoleum Textured Satin Black. This is a standard spray paint, but with just a hint of texture. This texture happens to match most OEM’s black plastic. Our preferred usage for Rustoleum Textured Satin Black is for interior trim, radio bezels, and items that get touched often. Like Plasti-Dip, we wouldn’t use this on areas that see high heat. The Stealth Bomber has Textured Satin Black on the 3-gauge panel, shift light surround, pedals, and cup holder trim.
Third in line is Rustoleum Trim and Bumper Paint. This paint is great for exactly what it says, trim and bumpers! We use this in place of Plasti-Dip where we have harsh lines and transitions that don’t bode well for the dip. Produces a satin black similar to Plasti-Dip. This paint also has a bit of flex additive in it. Currently, the Stealth Bomber has nothing painted with this paint. Works great for Fox Mustang bumper trim.
Fourth is Rustoleum Engine Enamel. The can we grabbed happened to be the 500° version, but we also use the 2000° version regularly. This paint is very flat, and best for temperature-intense areas. Note that it will produce some vapors/smoke as it fully cures after the first heat cycle. The Stealth Bomber has it’s AC Condenser and exhaust tips painted with this paint.
Finally we close with Krylon Interior-Exterior Ultra Flat. This paint seems to stick to anything, dries dead flat, and has incredible coverage. However it is not for high-temp usage, or nice enough to use in the interior. The Stealth Bomber has the tow hooks and some miscellaneous underhood items painted with this paint.
Besides the five main black paints, we also have a few little cans in our blackout bag of tricks. Among those are gloss black caliper paint, obviously only for brake calipers and recently used for touch-up on our Brembo calipers, and Testors Flat Black Enamel Model paint which was recently put into action with the rivets holding down our GT500 hood vent.
In general, we paint in what we call a four-angle paint job. Large items are painted from four sides to ensure even application, then flipped over and repeated for complete 360° coverage. Small items are rotated by hand through each of the four sides, with the hand holding the part sheathed in a latex glove for easy cleanup.
In the words of Mick Jagger, “No colors any more, I want them to turn black“