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Land Rover Restoration - Painting Guidelines

Land rover restoration always involves painting of some sort and there are many paints to choose from,  some are definitely better than others. Best is to stick to a good brand name.

The crux of the matter is that you want the paint to beautify and protect the surface. To do this you must get the paint to properly bond with the surface.

Always pay extreme attention to surface preparation to get the surface clean, dry and free of oils – even fingerprints.

Apply the correct type of undercoat / primer for the job and let it cure properly before applying the next coats and the top coats.

Where possible, don’t paint aluminium, brass, copper, stainless steel, chrome or pewter as normal paint does not actually stick to these surfaces. Rather clean them and leave them as they are.

If you really do want to paint them, or you have to, (Like the Land Rover body panels) you need to obtain a special primer for this purpose. Aluminium primer is usually a 2 pack primer which contains an acid base – it is called self etching primer, and it works by eating away at the raw surface creating a firm grip for the undercoat to adhere to.

If this is not done, the paint will start flaking off soon after spraying it on.

  • Even though it is a personal opinion, I only use Hammerite (
  • It is an extremely strong paint with a very good pigment and is easy to apply.
  • It can be applied directly to lightly rusted or clean steel without an undercoat or primer.
  • Once the second coat is applied it will start curing, it is fully handle-able the next day but full strength is obtained after 3 weeks or so. 
  • It sticks to all raw and painted steel surfaces and the rougher the surface is, the better. 
  • It makes an excellent engine paint and is also heat resistant.
  • Dirt, oil and grease cleans off VERY well and it is available in smooth and hammered finishes.
  • If properly applied, it is the last treatment that item will need for a very long time.
  • The only draw back is that it costs around R 100 per litre, but it covers a large area.

Red oxide is very popular, but I have found that it sometimes scratches off even when dry.


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