Lee Sibley By Lee Sibley 2 weeks ago

How has Porsche paint technology evolved?

Thanks to modern technology, automotive paint is better than ever: 9WERKS explains how… 

Automotive paint dates back to the hand-applied varnishes used on horses and carts, before moving to enamels, which were faster to apply and gave a deep gloss. To speed that process up further, application changed to spraying a solvent-based material: pigments were carried in solvents, which permitted spray application.

Baking in an oven then evaporated the solvents. That same process is broadly where we are today, only using a base coat, then clear coat process rather than single layer. The principal difference is that rather than use harmful solvents, automotive paints are now water-based.

"The change came in the early 1990's", says Steve Shore, of Shorade Accident Repair Centre, who switched to water-based paint in 1998. Initially intended simply to limit the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) used in the paint industry, water-based paint brought other benefits, too, explains Steve. "They're better for the environment, safer for staff to handle and apply, need less clear coat, and give clearer and brighter colours, along with increased durability". He's used Porsche GB-approved Glasurit paints since 2001, when they became a Porsche Recommended Repairer.

Modern paint is tough, durable, and allows infinite possibilities, but isn't without issue. "Micro blistering or pinching are both primarily caused by the base coat (colour layer) not being fully dry before applying the clear coat" says Steve.

It isn't the only area of paint that has seen advances in technology. "Historically, matching colours was done with the human eye" says Steve. "Increasingly, bodyshops use a spectrophotometer (spectro), a device that photographs a panel from different angles and recommends the best mix for the specific panel" he adds, pointing out he was one of the first bodyshops to be spectro-only for colour matching.

"We also see products which cure through UV appearing" he reveals, specifically UV primers, meaning repairs are quicker.

Environmental concerns play a part, but as has always been the case, time is the principal driver of improvements in paint technology. The good news is it has never been possible to get a better colour, or deeper gloss on your Porsche than by using modern paints and processes.

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Article written by Ali Cusick