Midnight Oil Auto Blog

DIY Interior Restoration: SEM’s Color Coat

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DIY-Interior-Restoration-LEAD-Bestride

For the last six months or so, I’ve been working on resurrecting a 1979 Chevrolet Blazer, which you can read all about over at BangShift.com. The entire point of the story was to not do a full-on restoration, but refurbish it into a good daily driver. One of the things I wanted to do was freshen up the interior, and I used SEM Color Coat to accomplish it.

DIY-Interior-Restoration-Blazer-Bestride

I bought the 1979 Chevrolet Blazer a little over a year ago. It belonged to a friend of mine, who bought it when it was just six months old. Over the last 35 years, he’s only put about 60,000 miles on it, but a lot of that was with a plow hanging off the nose. It spent its life working, but it was well taken care of over that time. However, parts of it were beginning to show their age.

The dashboard is in remarkably good condition, so I left that alone, but I tore the rest of the interior out of it to replace the carpet and have the driver’s seat reupholstered. While the console and door panels were out — the only plastic parts in the interior — I wanted to restore them to their factory appearance.

DIY-Interior-Restoration-Bestride

The consoles are all black underneath, so after 35 years of arms leaning on them, the black starts to show through. The nice part about these is that they’re put together out of a half-dozen components, and you can disassemble the console for paint. Even the Chevy bowtie emblem is just held on with a couple of nuts.

DIY-INterior-Restoration-Dissasembled-Console-Bestride

Once I got it all down to its component parts, I washed the console really well with water and car wash soap, to get rid of three and a half decades of spilled coffee. I didn’t sand the console at all, because I wanted to preserve as much of the “grain” in the plastic as possible.

DIY-Interior-Restoration-Cupholder-Bestride

The cupholder is the only part of the console that isn’t Saddle Tan, so I used SEM Color Coat in Landau Black to get that back to looking new.

SEM Color Coat comes in a range of different applications, but I used the aerosol cans, which work great. It’s a flexible coating, so it works well on any interior components, for both vintage and modern cars.

DIY-Interior-Restoration-SEM-Color-Coat-Bestride

Like the cupholder, I wiped all the component parts down with prep solvent prior to painting, to remove any remaining oil left behind.

I sprayed the parts with SEM Color Coat in Saddle Tan, which works perfectly for interior parts. It’s not too glossy, not too flat, and the color is a perfect match for the original Saddle Tan, not the pseudo-orange the console’s paint had faded to over the last decades.

This stuff works well not only on hard plastic parts, but soft vinyl, as well, and it’s also used to recolor seats. You can even use it to put color back on carpet, or velour seat material if you had a mind to. Chances are you’re not going to find it at your local Pep Boys, though. You’ll have to get it through an auto body supply shop.

The only issue I had with it is that a can doesn’t go very far. I sprayed two coats on the console and that was about all I was going to get out of it. I did spray the inside of the console, too, so that ate up quite a bit of paint. Just be aware that you’ll need several cans if you’re planning on spraying more.

DIY-Interior-Restoration-Finished-Console-Bestride

Reassembled, the console looks as good as it did when it rolled out of the Flint, Michigan truck plant back in 1978.

I have two more cans on order so that I can spray the door panels, and the soft rubbery armrests that sit on top of them.

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