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Your Guide To The Vibrant History of Auto-Paint Part 1

It seems that the spectrum of interests car aficionados has is endless. Even regarding the most niche information about cars, some the average person has never even taken into consideration, there is a petrol-head somewhere ready to write an entire book about it! Although, with all the elements of automobiles that we are fascinated by, we can’t help but notice an overlooked element of our favourite vehicles – and the more we think about it, it’s hard to understand why.

The paint job of our vehicles is often the first striking aspect many of us see, and when thinking of the most iconic rides throughout history, it’s hard to avoid picturing their colours and decals in our mind’s eye. It may seem odd, but the history of how we got from painting wooden ‘motorised carriages’, to the 60’s hot-rod design craze, all the way to today’s almost otherworldly custom paint jobs and wraps, is truly vibrant!

This journey is a colourful one, with many fascinating discoveries along the way, so here’s an EASR crash course in the history of automotive paint!

 

Like Watching Paint Dry (Pre-1924)

Before we dive right into all of the advances made in the auto-painting industry, we need to first take a look into the period before even paint-gun or spray paint technologies were even used on vehicles, let alone mass-produced ones. While the invention of the automobile in the late 19th century started changing the technical approach to transportation, the technique used to paint carriages had remained the same for a number of years. This process was almost as simple as it gets, using brushes to paint wooden chassis; an old Studebaker Electric Carriage advertisement outlines the process: “twenty-two successive stages of finish as they appear on every Studebaker carriage (…) an item that means fifty-two days of valuable time.”

Studebaker Electric Carriage

Studebaker Electric Carriage

Fifty-two days to finish a batch of carriages – this labour-intensive process, combined with the inefficient and wasteful use of space to keep many of these vehicles in a “stable” environment clearly was unstainable, and ultimately culminated in the phasing out of Studebaker and other Electric Carriage style vehicles. Most importantly though, set a goal to improve the painting of the soon to be the mass-produced automobile.

 

A Happy Accident  (1921-1939)

The first big discovery came about in 1921 at the DuPont Film Plant. Yes, film plant, specifically nitro-cellulose film, the likes of which you’ve probably seen used in old projectors and film cameras. As the story goes, it was a warm day at end of the week, and one (probably very tired) factory worker, happened to leave a barrel of ‘gun cotton’ (another name for nitrocellulose, named due to its fluffy, cotton-like appearance, and its use as early accelerant for firearms) outside over the weekend. Little did he know that what was about to occur in that barrel would change the automotive industry for decades. When the mistake was discovered the following week, what they saw was not the gun cotton, but rather a thick, clear liquid – the fundamental part of nitrocellulose lacquer. 

Man sitting in front of window

DuPont Chemical Factory

Following this discovery, the DuPont Chemical company began working on developing both the lacquer and primer from this new material. By 1923, following innovation in spray-paint technology, the first fully spray painted car was rolled out. The 1923-24 Oakland (the predecessor to Pontiac) began to set a new precedent for the way cars were to be finished.

It wasn’t until 1926 until Glyptal developed the first manufactured mass-produced alkyd enamel paint, now commonly referred to as just enamel. As the ’30s drove on, both lacquer and enamel were used as the final coats for many car manufacturers – the bigger names like Ford, Chrysler and Studebaker, tended to opt for enamel, while more independent manufacturers used nitrocellulose lacquers, although a mixture of the two was not uncommon.

 

Turning of the Tides (1940-the 1950s)

Up until the end of the 1930s, America was leading the way in the automotive industry, and with that, the automotive paint industry too! However, with the ever-looming tensions of the war in Europe, and the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans had no choice but to intervene. 

Original High Solid Acrylic Urethane

Original High Solid Acrylic Urethane

If you recall back to the DuPont days, the term ‘gun cotton’ arose from nitrocellulose’s explosive qualities. Following the victory in Europe, many restrictions were placed on Axis powers in Europe (Germany, Italy,), some of which extended to the use of nitrocellulose lacquers to prevent the manufacture of explosives, which left only the use of enamels. It was under these circumstances that the Europeans developed the then-revolutionary High Solid Acrylic Urethane paint system (High Solid referring to the higher concentration of resin, and lower quantity of more volatile natural compounds), the result of which far exceeded that of their American counterparts, resulting in far more durable results compared to the slow air-drying process of lacquer and enamel!

It would not be long however until this new technology would make an invasion of its own in the United States, and new advancements of these materials would turn the process completely on its head! 

 

Following this first crash course on the history of auto-paint, be sure to check in next week for the history up until today! We hope to show you how seriously we take our trade here at EASR. While we may not be able to offer the most “vintage” of finishes, we offer the newest advancements in repairing any paint damage that may come to your vehicle, along with Alloy Wheel Restorations, Diamond Cutting Services and Paintless Dent Removal! To get a quote from our automobile experts, you can fill out the form on our website, calling us 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]

 

Classic Team Lotus

Discover East Anglia’s Auto Heritage

East Anglia may be one of the most historically rich regions of the United Kingdom, but the area’s heritage is not limited to the days of horse and cart! In fact, Norfolk and Suffolk’s auto-motive history is extremely rich, and any motorhead-historian may just be surprised at what they might find in these auto-history sites!

Caister Castle 

Don’t let this 15th-century building’s ancient exterior fool you – hidden within Sir John Falstof’s private estate, is the largest and most varied private car collection in the UK that is also open to the public! Located just north of Great Yarmouth, the purpose built museum is home to a staggering amount of “fine and rare veteran, vintage, classic, sports and touring automobiles”, spanning from an 1893 Panhard et Lavassor to the very first Ford Fiesta! 

Caister Castle

Caister Castle

With everything both an automobile aficionado and car-mad kids will enjoy, Caister castle is sure to impress the whole family but be quick, the opening season closes in October, so get driving!

For information on the location and opening times for Caister, visit www.caistercastle.co.uk

 

Classic Team Lotus

In the small village of Hethel, located only a short drive outside of Norwich, you may be surprised to find the headquarters of one of the most prestigious and celebrated car manufacturers in the UK – Lotus Cars. While the company is still constructing their new home facility, which will be available for visitation sometime in the next year – there is still over 70 years of Team Lotus history to discover on their Classic Team Lotus Tours. 

Classic Team Lotus

Sporting a wide collection of classic and special examples of Lotus’ prestigious engineering, any F1 fanatic is sure to find something of interest touring the home of this 7 time Formula One winner! Show-cars, which are often demonstrated during events, can be seen making the rounds of the area, as can the dedicated team of engineers, whose workshops are available for tours! 

For more information visit www.classicteamlotus.co.uk/en/home/

 

East Anglia Transport Museum

Not all motor history is flashy rides and muscle cars, and sometimes we should take the time to really respect the hard-working cars and motors that helped us build the nation! Located in Lowestoft, the East Anglia Transport Museum is offering that precise experience for any historically minded motorheads!

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

With vehicles and exhibits that are not only exclusive to automobiles but also proudly harbour an extensive fleet of trams and trolleybuses, the East Anglia Transport Museum is sure to invoke that classic blast-from-the-past experience. Sparking life into these old machines by lovingly crafting a variety of period-correct street scenes, this time capsule can be a great way to school up on the little aspects of our motoring heritage, or simply a fun and educative day to spend with friends or family, everyone is sure to find something that they will enjoy   

For information on exhibits, events and opening times, visit www.eatransportmuseum.co.uk

 

Snetterton Circuit

Not all automobile heritage has to be about the gears and engines, and sometimes we have to remember that without long winding tracks, or tight hairpin turns, what would be the point of automobiles? For all the racers looking for a bit of history – or maybe want to watch it being made, you would be missing out by not driving into Snetterton Circuit, located in Thetford, just outside of Norwich! 

Snetterton

Snetterton

Originally opening in 1953, this 3-mile track has been host to some of UK motorings most famous events, including hosting the UK’s first-ever 24-hour race, the Willhire 24 hour. Initially used for motorcycling racing, Snetterton soon became the testing ground for Lotus, and eventually other racing teams! Still hosting some of the most prestigious races in the country, and with new revisions made to the track, this really is a must-visit. And for the up and coming racers, don’t forget that Snetterton offers the opportunity to drive around this historic track yourself!

For circuit information, events and tickets, visit www.snetterton.co.uk

While we all love history, make sure your vehicle doesn’t get on the wrong side of it – East Anglia Smart Repair offers all car and van paint repairs as well as paintless dent removal services.  Everything you need to keep your car in prime exhibition condition! To book an appointment with our automobile experts, you can fill out the form on our website, calling us 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]

Have you visited Norfolk’s Vehicle Graveyards?

 

There are a great number of places to take a look at spectacular cars around our county. With the right treatment, your garage could be one of them. There’s nothing that beats a perfect finish, especially when done using quick, cost-effective methods such as our specialist Norfolk Paint Repair services. However, we can’t ignore the morbid curiosity that comes with visiting a graveyard.

The kind of graveyard we’re talking about is full of rusting vintage cars. Amateur photographers, urban explorers and car enthusiasts make the journey to the depths of Norfolk to seek out scenes of old cars in the middle of the woods. Although they’re old and decrepit, there’s just something so fascinating about seeing a piece of history just abandoned in the woods. Once immaculate examples of engineering, nature has taken over and these cars have become home to moss and fungi. Who knows what animals have made nests in them?

Here you can see one filmmaker show off some of the motors you can see at one of these graveyards. Even though they’re old and rusted, the cars look beautiful! What is it about the vintage look that’s so pleasing to the eye?

Part of the appeal of these places is the mystery. How did these graveyards come to be? There are many who speculate on the internet about how those cars get there. No matter the answer, we’re glad that there are these hidden treasure troves of classic cars just waiting to be discovered.

That’s right! It’s not just one graveyard, Norfolk ramblers have found sites like these all over the county. The one in the video is in Medlar’s Field in Horsford, 6 miles from Norwich. Another one is in Hevingham, where some car parts have even become part of the trees! These car graveyards aren’t forever, though. Sometimes they get cleared away, so they’re not always around forever. If you want to catch a glimpse of these rotting vehicles, you better get a shift on. If it’s too late for one, people are discovering these kinds of sites even today! Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover one that no one has seen before.

EASR Car Graveyard

Even though they’re beautiful in their own way, these cars are a reminder of what can happen when you don’t properly look after your vehicle. Rust, dents, paint scratches might look like superficial problems but they can build up and cause real damage. Do you think you can start the engine on any of these motors?

Luckily, East Anglia Smart Repair is equipped with the technology and expertise to deal with all kinds of damage to the outside of your vehicle. Using specialist Norfolk vehicle paint repair specialists and providing mobile paintless dent removal services, we can maintain your car’s shine. Rust, scratches and dents are no match for our Norfolk SMART repair services! Rusty looking cars have their place, but you can keep your car in top form with just a click of a button. All you have to do is fill out our form, email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 0330 111 0203.

 

‘Speed up for crossing pedestrians!’ and other crazy road rules to remember if you’re driving abroad

‘Speed up for crossing pedestrians!’ and other crazy road rules to remember if you’re driving abroad

Driving rules! Do you know them? Whilst driving on the right is the obvious rule to remember, some countries might have some other driving laws that have slipped below your radar. Since the time to think about going abroad is getting closer and closer, we at EASR decided to bring together a list of some of the rules that make driving a little bit different in other countries.

Costa Rica – Drinking and driving.

 

Tropical bird fom Costa Rica

 

Is actually legal! Just as long as you don’t get drunk. Forget cruise control, if you can keep your blood alcohol level to stay below 0.75% whilst having a beer, that’s some real self-control. 

 

Cyprus – Drinking and driving.

 

Larnaca, Cyprus

 

Water! That’s right. In Cyprus, if you’re caught drinking water at the wheel you could get an €85 fine. So you can forget about that coke can, coffee cup, or even that protein shake. Speaking of shakes…

 

Cyprus – Shaking your fist at other drivers is illegal

 

Woman with road rage

 

We’ve all experienced a bit of road rage. No matter how much that idiot who cut you off deserves it, letting off some steam and giving them a piece of your mind could land you a fine. So, if you’re angry, just bottle it up! (But don’t drink it.)

 

Alabama – Driving while blindfolded

 

Guntersville, Alabama, United States

 

This law is suspiciously specific. So specific that there’s almost definitely a story behind this. It’s like seeing a sign that says ‘no breakdancing at the pool’ or going to Tescos and finding out the dishwasher pods are now kept behind the counter. Whatever the reason, let’s hope it was worth it. (It most likely wasn’t.)

 

Massachusetts – Driving with a gorilla in the backseat

 

 

This law is suspiciously specific. So specific that there’s almost definitely a story behind this. It’s like reading about a law that says ‘don’t drive while blindfolded in Alabama’ or going to Tescos and finding out the dishwasher pods are now kept behind the counter. Whatever the reason, let’s hope it was worth it. (It most likely was).

Either way, if your pet gorilla is in the car with you, make sure they’re riding shotgun or you could get landed with a fine.

 

Russia – Dirty Driving

 

 

In Russia, driving in a dirty car can land you a fine of 2,000 rubles (about £19). If only a car wash was included for paying the price of the fine. Now that’s a thought. 

 

China – Don’t slow down for jaywalkers

 

 

Because of the number of accidents that have happened as a result of drivers slowing down for pedestrians, China has outlawed it outright. Wonder if it’s actually helped. Either way, no other country has adopted this law, probably for the best.

 

That’s our list! No matter what the country (though Russia most especially) having a stunning, dent-less, rust-free ride to tour the country with is universal. You don’t have to go abroad for a fast, cost-effective SMART Repair. In fact, you don’t have to go anywhere at all. Our SMART Repair experts will travel straight to your vehicle. All you have to do is fill out our form, email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 0330 111 0203.

 

EASR | Norfolk’s Drive-In Movie season is waiting for you and your motor this Spring!

Spring is here and Norfolk events have sprung into action. With the need for socially-distanced ways to enjoy the changing weather, Pop-Up Pictures are bringing their inflatable cinema screens to the Norfolk Showground to put on an amazing programme of Drive-In movies perfect for us to spend some time with our motors.

A real classic

cars parked on parking lot during daytime

A popular past-time in the 1950s, it would certainly be a breath of fresh air to feel like we’re somewhere long before now. What’s more is the opportunity to spend sometime around people, though safe in your beautifully fashioned car.

If you’re unfamiliar with the organisers, Pop-Up Pictures, their fantastic Christmas and Summer screenings have never failed to impress. In the past, movie-goers would sit on picnic blankets on the grass but the need for social distancing has caused them to rearrange their events to become drive-in experiences. With cars like ours, we’re not complaining.

Those of us with a high-fidelity sound system will have an event better experience. You can play the sound of the movie straight from your radio by tuning it to a specific frequency. Unlike being at the cinema where rustling popcorn and people’s phones can be a right pain, you can make as much or as little noise as you’d like in your own car. As far as food goes, don’t be surprised if there’s an excellent selection of food trucks and stalls at the events.

Showstoppers

gray coupe on road in focus photography

We have to talk about the movies. Whether you want some alone time with your car, bringing a date or your whole family, there’s a movie for everyone from familiar classics to exciting new films. One such classic is 1979 classic Grease which sees John Travolta playing Danny Zuko. Come for the tunes, stay for that gorgeous Ford De Luxe.

No, really. Whilst the car takes centre stage in Grease, the eagle-eyed classic car enthusiasts among you will notice that the De Luxe makes a cameo appearance in two more of the films featured in the programme of events. SPOILER ALERT: The 1947 model is gifted to Ralph Macchio’s Daniel-san in The Karate Kid (if you’ve seen the spin-off Cobra Kai, he still owns the car!) and the 1946 Super De Luxe convertible model is driven by Back to the Future’s Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). However, we can’t talk about Back to the Future without bringing up that iconic DMC Delorian outfitted with its own flux capacitor. While our SMART Repair techniques are cutting-edge, we’ve still got some catching up to do in terms of turning your car into a time-machine. But with how quickly and efficiently our experts can fix your car’s dents and scratches, you’d think some sort of time travel was involved.

Riding solo? Or carrying people?

red and yellow UNK neon light signage

For families, there’s the ever-heartwarming Coco and, speaking of time-travel, Jim Henson’s 1986 classic Labyrinth starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. If a different kind of musical is more your thing, Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody round off the whole event.

As you can see, there’s an incredible selection of movies just waiting for you. But you wouldn’t go to the Oscars in just any old thing, would you? If your car needs a quick and cost-effective repair that travels to you, you can book an appointment with East Anglia Smart Repair by calling 0330 111 0203, email us at [email protected] or fill out the form on our website.

5 ways to tell you’re driving in Norfolk

You’re driving into the county on the a11. Suddenly, all the road signs have disappeared, swallowed up by some alien tractor-beam. Or a solar-flare has turned the sun into a huge magnet and all the highway markers are hurtling through space. I’d wager you’d still know exactly where you are. You pick up a few things, driving up and down our eccentric country. It’s not until you come back after venturing further north that the little quirks feel like home. This is our list of telltale signs you’re driving in Norfolk.

Tractors

Rolling down the highway loudly and proudly, you’re bound to see a tractor or two cruising down our county’s many country lanes. It’s a pace of life so grand, so easy, that it’s very existence on the road *ahem* invites you and the twenty other drivers between you and the tractor to slow down and smell the roses. Ferris Bueller would be proud.

Yellow Tractor in Asphalt Road

Pig Pens

There’s more to Norfolk than farms, but there’s an undeniably mesmerising quality to the hay-strewn suburbs littered around the county. Long before reaching Norwich, you’ll see these vast village where pig-life is represented in all forms: Going to market, staying home, having roast beef etc. This one isn’t so much “stop and smell the roses” but admire with your eyes with the windows rolled up.

Unpronounceable town names

If all the road signs did suddenly disappear, would that make the confusion around pronouncing Wymondham better or worse? You’d think there are twice as many towns as there actually are in Norwich just because one town exists as you spell it and one exists as you speak it. Stiffkey, Happisburgh, Costessey… good luck asking for directions!

The Army

What that in sky? Is it a dragon? The second coming? The shriek of someone who doesn’t know that the dent they just got can be repaired more precisely, efficiently and cost-effectively via SMART repair? If you can hear the roaring of engines and it’s not coming from your own aluminium chariot, then it’s coming from the RAF flying high above. If you make a wrong turn, chances are you’re heading towards an army base.

Roadside Pheasants

Sadly, our on-site, same-day service can’t fix pheasants. We can, however, fix any pheasant-related damage. Judging from the number of pheasants on the side of the road, it’ll come in handy sooner or later.

yellow, red, and black bird on ground

We know these roads well. When it comes to Norfolk-born dents and scratches, our SMART solutions are the most cost-effective, precise and efficient way to repair your car. In fact, our targeted approach means that we’ll come to you with everything we need to get your car to its original factory standard. SMART service has never been so convenient.

rusty damaged vintage car in field cloudy sky

Damaged Paintwork: Why Your Car Needs A Doctor Now

Minor damage? You can never be too sure…

No matter how careful we are as drivers, tight car parks, overgrown hedges, and loose stones present unavoidable risks to our cars’ paintwork. The best of us will have suffered an occasional scratch or dent to our car. While it’s a painful moment, minor damage can be all-too-easy to dismiss. Here are some reasons why you might regret leaving your car’s paintwork damaged over time, even if it’s only a little scratch. 

1. Appearance

An immediate reason for many people to fix dents and scratches to their vehicle is how it looks. If you take pride in your car, you likely care whether it looks good, and dents and scratches to the paintwork certainly diminish its aesthetic value. This is especially important if you are looking to sell a vehicle, as the buyer’s first impression of it will be visual. That brings us to…

2. Resale Value

While dents, chips, and scratches to your paintwork usually do not affect how a car runs and can be fairly easy to fix, they can significantly decrease the value of your car if left unrepaired. External damage can be seen as a sign of neglectful ownership, and could lead a potential buyer to question what else might be wrong with the car. As such, it is best to ensure your car is looking its best before you put it on the market, as this is likely to raise the price by more value than you will need to invest.

3. Continued Paint Damage

Vehicle paintwork is made to withstand all sorts of weather, daily wear and tear, and regular washing. When a car’s paint is dented or scratched, these everyday factors have a greater impact, potentially causing the paint to peel or flake and exposing the sealant underneath the paint. If scratches or dents are severe enough, the sealant underneath the paint may also be damaged, creating an opportunity for the metal to rust.

4. Rust Problems

Car dents and scratches are more than just unsightly blemishes. Even minor surface damage can cause cracks which allow water to penetrate the sealant layer, and reach the unprotected metal of a vehicle. Exposure to water leads the metal to oxidise, resulting in rust. Rust is not only unappealing, but can eventually cause serious structural damage to the exterior of your car and adversely impact its safety

5. Safety

Safety is the single-most important characteristic of a vehicle. Small dents and scratches in a car’s paintwork can result in structural damage which isn’t immediately visible. For example, modern bumper covers are often coated in plastic to minimise visible damage in low-speed collisions, but this means underlying damage can be worse than it looks. To avoid risking your safety and the safety of your passengers, get any damage to your car’s paintwork assessed and repaired by an experienced professional. 

With all of this in mind, don’t let a minor dent or scratch in your car become a major problem. We highly recommend that you consult an experienced professional to evaluate the paintwork damage and recommend a suitable course of action to fix it. Often, you’d be surprised what expert technicians are capable of undoing!

From minor dings to deep scratches, smart repair technology allows you to restore your vehicle to a factory finish quickly, and at a fraction of the price offered by your average auto repair shop. Contact East Anglia Smart Repair today to find out what our team of expert technicians can do for you!

smart car paint repair sanding

What Makes SMART Vehicle Repairs Smart?

SMART is an acronym for ‘small to medium area repair technology’, but what really makes this repair method so smart? 

You may know that smart repair technology is a modern high-tech method for repairing cosmetic damage to vehicles, including dents, scratches, and scuffs. You may even have heard that it can help maximise the value of a car. But how exactly does it work, and what are its benefits? 

Not only do SMART repairs allow for the repair of damages without affecting or replacing entire parts of the car, but the technology often allows repairs to be carried out swiftly at any location. Because of the targeted, mobile nature of the service, it also saves customers a lot of money compared to most body shop repairs, often without affecting the vehicle warranty. Smart repairs further allow customers to avoid making claims on their insurance while still carrying out necessary repairs and maintenance.

Target a Specific Area

SMART repair methodology is ideal for external vehicle damage like dents, scratches, and scuffs, because it allows technicians to carry out work on localised areas. This means they can avoid repainting entire panels and replacing whole parts, while still restoring the car to its original factory finish. Specialists are able to do a lot without paint, but can also match paint colours perfectly

Mobile Service

Many SMART Repair providers, including East Anglia Smart Repair, offer mobile repair services. This means specialists can be called out to any necessary location, and repair vehicles using a mobile workshop. This is ideal for auto retailers with short turnaround rates, as well as private customers with a busy schedule, who can have their cars repaired at home or at work.

Hours Instead of Days

The targeted approach of SMART car repairs doesn’t only mean that vehicle owners can avoid unnecessary large-scale work and driving out to an auto shop, but it also significantly reduces the time needed to refurbish a vehicle. The technology allows for small to medium repairs to be completed within a space of hours instead of days. Minor damages can disappear miraculously in less than an hour, given the proper tools and expertise.

Great Value for Money

You already know now that SMART car repairs significantly simplify the repair of dents, scratches, and scuffs. This means the method costs significantly less than traditional bodyshop repairs. But does a lower price mean lower quality? Not at all. Depending on the scale of the damage, many smart repairs will leave no trace of accidents or subsequent works. In other words, it will be like nothing ever happened. This also allows sellers to maximise the value of cosmetically damaged cars without investing more than it’s worth. The lower cost of SMART repair methods also means that many customers can avoid making a claim on their insurance, saving more money in the long-term by keeping their no claims discount. 

In conclusion, smart repairs provide an excellent (and often more sensible) alternative to traditional auto-shop repairs, while ensuring vehicles are finished to original factory standard. Ultimately, they are convenient, accessible, and exceptionally effective. To find out more about various smart vehicle services or what we can do for you, get in touch with our friendly team today!

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