Clementine's Garage
Clementine the Cat
Image of flower
Yellow R4
Réparateur d'automobiles

Paintwork restoration...


Afternoon, gentlemen!

(Are there any ladies on the forum yet...???)

Chris in Plymouth here, gazing out of the window at my new 'silver' R4.
Richard, I think you said that it must look like a 'modern car' in that colour!! Well, when I say 'silver', I really mean a very faded, worn, tired kind of grey which used to be silver a few moons ago!!!!!

So, if anyone has any good advice about how to restore paintwork to its former glory, I'll get cracking on it. There is the issue of some small rusty areas on the bodywork, particularly the bonnet where a surfer apparantly sat on it a few years back!! I've sanded these rusty bits and painted wax-oyl on them to keep the rain out - will I have to sort these bits out before I can do a more general paintwork restoration????

Help me - I want that car gleaming again!!!

If the car is silver, it's likely to be 'clear over base'. This means that a silver coat is applied dull and then lacquered. No amount of polishing will bring it up permanently so a respray will be in order one day.



& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Bedford UK
Did they use lacquer in the early 80s? Florence the 1977 metallic blue (and other colours) R4 had a single coat, not certain when they changed over. A good way to identify lacquer on an old car is that it tends to peel off - you'll get a white ring around stone chips particularly on the bonnet.

No harm in giving the car a polish with T-cut to see what happens. T-cut needs to be followed by a wax polish. If it looks better then nothing is lost.

Before polishing the rusty patches need to be painted. They weren't painted on poor Ermintrude and the metal rusted completely through in all sorts of awkward areas.

For the rusty patches, I tend to scape the loose paint and rust off with a knife, then clean the area with a solvent. I use panel wipe (or pre-paint solvent) available from auto paint shops. Then give the area a sand being careful not to scratch the surrounding paintwork. Prime the rusty area with a decent primer - the Finnigans red oxide or number 1 primer (available from Halfords in inconceivably small tins) do a good job. Finally paint with the body colour.

The paint code for the body colour should be stencilled in the engine bay onto the RH front inner wing panel - on the vertical front face. You'll probably need to wash the dirt off to see the paint code. You can order paint with the same colour from your local automotive paint supplier - 1/2 litre will be less than £10. Ask for Cellulose paint.

Use a brush and only paint as much as you have to. My MGs are covered in touched up bits of paint and look immaculate from a few feet away. It's well worth doing. I do it every year at about this time for winter protection.

As far as I'm aware there aren't any ladies on the forum (although I may be wrong). I have been corresponding with a young lady who has just finished restoring her yellow Renault 4. I'll mail her again and see if she'll join us.

PS: I'll be in Switzerland for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll find an internet connection and still be able to join in, but it's possible I might be quiet for a while.



Thanks for the advice, Clem!

On my car, the small rusty bits and stone-chips do have white surrounds, so it must be a lacquered finish. I'll sort out the rusty bits, then have a go with T-cut - can't do any harm!!