Insightful Tips For Removing Paint From A Corvette

In this video, a YouTuber named Mid-Year Mitch takes the paint off of a ’60 Corvette in preparation for refinishing. While not a Mid-year as his name may imply, or a C3 for that matter, the process is very similar and of course, there are a few cameos of two Mid-year Corvettes for those keeping score.

Our video follows “Mitch” as he tears down and begins stripping the paint from a ’60 Corvette.

The first step is to mechanically strip the body of all bright-work and anything that you don’t want “stripped”. The first two minutes of the video show the highlights, and then the work really starts. The car in question has the usual layers of paint and primer that you would expect for a car that is almost sixty years old. While for some, paint stripping might seem akin to three hose-wielding giraffes washing a football, there are actually some ways to do it that won’t douse the entire shop area with caustic fluid. This video helps give some insights.

Pulling all the parts from the car prevent them from interacting with the paint solvents and gives you a chance to send them out to be restored or restore them yourself.

Firstly, the reason for stripping a car’s paint is to remove the possibility for imperfections to rear their ugly heads in the future. If you’re worried enough about imperfections, then you’re detail oriented and that leads us to the first tidbit – work a small area, and do it well! While some will slather on paint stripper like they’re topping off the world’s largest DQ sundae, “Mitch” methodically works a small area at a time and makes sure that it is fully stripped before moving on. This limits the amount of stripper working at any time, and it allows you to remove the old paint adequately without leaving a mess.

Rather than pour it on, "Mitch" pours the solvents into small cups that are more manageable. He used paint stripper to start and then used lacquer thinner to remove the rest. Work in a small area and finish it before moving on.

Secondly, his use of steel wool limits a blade’s digging into the ‘glass and also has a nice abrasive characteristic. Don’t believe us, just ask that day-old, burned on egg in your frying pan. Now we can say that steel wool has been used to clean almost every surface, including paint, so long as you don’t WANT the paint anymore!

Here's a couple of reasons for stripping the car mechanically and chemically. Notice how the dash pad's foam is falling apart? Also, stripping will reveal the bonding seams, as well as any repairs. Fixing these issues now will prevent them from being an issue later on, after the car is finished.

Thirdly, and likely most importantly, USE the proper safety gear! Gloves are a must, and of course, proper ventilation will help you keep all your breathing capacities intact. Also, clothing is a key consideration. You don’t want any chemicals getting onto your skin, so be careful, and while “Mitch” may not be in a full-on body suit, you can tell that he’s not wearing his “Sunday go-to meeting” clothes either. Wear what you’re comfortably safe wearing, but also it doesn’t hurt to err to the safe side when in doubt.

This is a day’s work. You can see how clean the surface is, which will make the paint application more secure to the body since there aren’t several questionable layers of material between the body and the exterior layer.

Whether you’re thinking of doing some paint work down the road, or you’ve always been interested in learning how the process works, this video can be a good primer on what paint stripping is all about. It’s worth the six minutes to watch, although we will say that sometimes, we’d rather hear “Mitch” than the music. Just sayin’.

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
Read My Articles

Corvettes in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Corvette Online, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Corvette Online NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Corvette Online articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Corvette Online NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Late Model LS Vehicles

Classic Chevy Magazine

Performance Driving

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Late Model LS Vehicles
  • Classic Chevy Magazine
  • Performance Driving

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading