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Red Mk1a Mr2
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a cheap bastard but want my car to be shiny and pretty.

I can attempt my first wrap on my aw11 with a nice red 3m vinyl by myself for around $350 but it will have flaws.
Or
I could paint the MR2. I got quoted $1800 for single stage urethane in OE Red for the AW11 at MAACO and $1200 at a local paint shop here in Houston. My paint is faded, scratched, has no clear coat and has been repainted multiple times from what it seems.

paint 1 .jpg
paint 2 .jpg
paint 3 .jpg


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You might regret the wrap unless you've done it before and know what you're doing. You may end up grumbling and out $350. A good wrap job costs as much as paint. I'd paint it considering I don't see a lick of rust on the car, so that's a good start.

Since it doesn't have a clear coat, while you make your decision I would cut polish it then wax it. You might be surprised by the excellent result however temporary it may be.
 

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Since it doesn't have a clear coat, while you make your decision I would cut polish it then wax it. You might be surprised by the excellent result however temporary it may be.
Looks like the primer is showing through in a few spots, so that probably isn't an option.
 

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I've wrapped my MR2 and I've painted my MR2, so you're going to get a long, detailed answer from me. Just a warning.

tldr answer: get it painted (or paint it yourself - I did)

Each have their pros and cons. For wrap, some pros:

The cost of the wrap is almost your total cost. You need supplies like cutting tools, knifeless tape, various tuck/squegee tools etc, but this is all less than a hundred bucks.

You can also do it piecemeal, as you have the time. Wrap the roof one day, a fender another day, etc.

There are great YouTube channels to help learn how to do it. Paradox (early videos primarily), CK Wraps, lots of others.

Also, an AW11 is probably a pretty easy car to wrap. Small with lots of flat panels and straight lines. An SW20 is NOT easy. The front and especially rear bumpers are a nightmare.

Now, some cons:

There are going to be seams. They may be almost invisible, or they may look terrible - depends how good a job you do. Those seams have a tiny bit of adhesive exposed. That adhesive is going to IMMEDIATELY pick up dust and dirt. You never see this part in the YouTube videos. You can easily wipe them clean with alcohol, but they'll be dirty again in two days.

You will make mistakes. You will waste at least one large piece of vinyl. Normally you need 60 feet of vinyl for a car. You'll probably need more, even for a tiny little AW11.

Cheap wrap doesn't last. One summer parking outside will be enough to fade/discolor any ebay/off-band vinyl. If you're going to wrap, spend the money to get a good product. 3M is a huge brand but be aware a lot of people in the wrap community feel their quality has declined significantly in recent years. I would be more inclined to look at Avery, Hexis, KPMF, etc. Check out Metrorestyling.com and read reviews.

A wrap job will eventually need touch-ups and small fixes. Corners and edges will lift, or air bubbles will appear.

The best wrap is still going to have a little bit of orange peel, while lesser wrap will have a LOT, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Let's say you get tired of the wrap after three years and want a new color. Get ready to spend a week scraping off all the glue residue that will be left behind.

Now for paint, starting with pros:

It'll look better and last longer. No seams. No peeling or lifting corners or edges. Even a cheap Maaco job can be cut and polished to a mirror-flat finish, better than most modern factory paint jobs. But spend a little more for a two-stage job rather than single-stage. Single stage Urethane paint is a lot better than it used to be, but having a clearcoat gives you the chance to cut and buff to perfection.

Cons: upfront cost. A roll of wrap is definitely cheaper.

Quality: Maaco or local shops might do a very good job, or they might not. Does the car need body work? If you have any experience, filling dings and dents yourself and doing a lot of the prep can save you money and lead to a better finished product. You just never know how well the prep work will be done with budget shops. You might have overspray on your radiator or windshield, etc. There's a reason a paint job from a quality body shop is often over ten grand. A quality job takes a LOT of prep work.
 

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Paint it! If you want to save $$ do the prep work yourself. Remove the trim and glass for the best job, might need a new windshield by now anyway. Even take the aero bits off so they can shoot them off the car. Doing that prevents tape edges and makes a better looking job close up.

If you don't do these things they shoot them on the car and paint over the seals andglass edges. If THEY tape they tape around the glass overlapping the old paint with tape causing a tape lift line that looks like crap.

Another thing to do for a better job, maybe supply your own paint. Think about it, budget paint job will not have the best paint, but the least expensive. Suplying your own paint won't get you a discount on the job, but if the painter is worth half they're weight in sand you'll gat a dacent paint job.

Just a few things I did with one of my Celicas. I decided to go this route after getting one of those low cost jobs on an MR2. The Celica came out really nice but the 2 still looks like crap close up.

Another way to save a little on your paint and body work is to go to the local college. If your local college has a bodywork class all your cost would be is materials. Keep in mind the students usually want a good grade and will typically pay better attention to detail than an assembly line painter. I haven't gone that route, but I've seen of my friends cars that turned out really nice.
 

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Great thread, I enjoyed reading it so far.
JustiNC is SORT of close to me and we've spoken a few times about wrap and paint. He's quite skilled with this stuff and actually did his own work (on both!), so I'd, personally, take his advice. And am
I remember when he wrapped his car and I was in talks with him, I thought this was going to be an option for me...till he said he was then ripping it off and building his own booth etc.

My bumpers, especially, on my SW are horrible. Other parts, where fiberglass or metal is, the paint is hit and miss. A few spots there is no clear left at all. Some parts the clear is peeling/bubbling, and some spots it looks really pretty (as in no 'flaws'). So Ive thought about this stuff myself. Then you read articles from Grassroots Motorsports about wrap, it sounds 'easy' and good, btu, again, Justin said 'meh'

I had plans on getting my car painted by local Audi dealership (my friend runs the bodyshop), but ended up spending a good chunk of my paint money on the suspension I just did. I still do plan to go this route in the spring.
 

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As an interim fix, it certainly is an option especially since 99% of the car doesn't have primer showing.
Unless I'm mis-seeing it, there are large spots of primer showing through on the roof, trunk, maybe also some on the hood. No matter how shiny you get the rest, it's still not going to look great with those showing, so polishing just seems like a waste of time to me.
 

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Great thread, I enjoyed reading it so far.
JustiNC is SORT of close to me and we've spoken a few times about wrap and paint. He's quite skilled with this stuff and actually did his own work (on both!), so I'd, personally, take his advice. And am
I remember when he wrapped his car and I was in talks with him, I thought this was going to be an option for me...till he said he was then ripping it off and building his own booth etc.

My bumpers, especially, on my SW are horrible. Other parts, where fiberglass or metal is, the paint is hit and miss. A few spots there is no clear left at all. Some parts the clear is peeling/bubbling, and some spots it looks really pretty (as in no 'flaws'). So Ive thought about this stuff myself. Then you read articles from Grassroots Motorsports about wrap, it sounds 'easy' and good, btu, again, Justin said 'meh'

I had plans on getting my car painted by local Audi dealership (my friend runs the bodyshop), but ended up spending a good chunk of my paint money on the suspension I just did. I still do plan to go this route in the spring.
I still think there's a place for wrap, but imo it's best for a car with good oem paint, and you just want a different color. In that case, it'll usually come off cleanly, without leaving a layer of adhesive. But with old/bad paint that needs to be sanded smooth etc, you're looking at a potential mess.
 

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Yes, wrap is good for some things, like protecting an expensive paint job or a 30 year old car with original paint in excellent condition. It's good for changing color on a regular basis, but I don't like it for a daily over an extended period of time. Also, from what I've seen, when wrap gets damaged it starts to delapidate rapidly.
 

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I’m gonna have to stay locked in on this thread. My plan for now is to wrap my car. I’m going for a color change. From 10 feet away, my car looks good. Photographs well. From 2 feet away you can see the clearcoat peeling and small dings that will have to be filled. I intend to wrap it in parts over the winter as I work on other things. I plan to remove each of the lids, bring them in the house and wrap them separately. Then wrap each door separately. Then, when I’m feeling brave, go for the front and rear bumpers.

But in the meantime I’ll keep coming back to this thread to see if y’all can talk me out of it.
 
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Red Mk1a Mr2
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My neighbor is a body work guy that works on mid 2000's BMW's( mainly 5 series and up). He has been influencing me to go the paint route, as many of you suggested, if I am going to keep the MR2 a long time. He offered to show me how to do the prep work like sanding and priming panels (to save on cost prior to hitting the booth).

MAACO stated it wouldn't affect my cost for paint even if I do my own body work and prep the car for paint, bummer.

I am quite liking the thought of maybe getting some local college students to take on the challenge if the price is right lol

Unfortunately, primer does show through on many body panel. I don't think this paint is worth salvaging especially because it looks like a lot of spots have been rattle canned :(

Thank you all for the input. I am still contemplating what to do and I will keep you posted on what I choose / post updates as the process goes along. :cool:

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Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Automotive side marker light Car
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Oh my, you have a lot of eat-away rust around that wheel well, I didn't see that.

Wrap ain't gonna fix that, you need some serious bodywork and paint (which is typical of these mid 90s thin gauge body panel Toyotas). Sticking on flairs to cover that up ain't gonna do it. If you intend to keep this cheap, that went out the window with these newly posted pics.
 

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I’m gonna have to stay locked in on this thread. My plan for now is to wrap my car. I’m going for a color change. From 10 feet away, my car looks good. Photographs well. From 2 feet away you can see the clearcoat peeling and small dings that will have to be filled. I intend to wrap it in parts over the winter as I work on other things. I plan to remove each of the lids, bring them in the house and wrap them separately. Then wrap each door separately. Then, when I’m feeling brave, go for the front and rear bumpers.

But in the meantime I’ll keep coming back to this thread to see if y’all can talk me out of it.
If you like the idea of doing a wrap, do it! One advantage of wrap I didn't mention is that the cost comparison with paint gets a lot better for wrap if you want a more extreme finish. Colorshifts/interference pearls/holographic/chrome/camo/carbon fiber etc. Stuff like that would be a crazily expensive paint job if you wanted the same effect, but isn't that much more than regular vinyl in many cases.
 

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I would not bother with a $1,200 paint job. It will have visible defects like orange peel, runs, non-uniform coverage, visible surface irregularities, et cetera
True, but a good wet sand and polish will take care of almost all of that. And it'll for sure last longer than any wrap (also, the OP mentioned $350 for 3M wrap. Would need to see a link for that, as it's twice that much generally).
 

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If anyone is looking to paint themselves you gotta hang out in here for a while : Learn how to paint your own car! This place goes through every aspect of painting pretty thoroughly. I've been taking notes in my spare time . There is actually an Sw20 project post in there somewhere, guy was very thorough and did a great looking job.
 

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If anyone is looking to paint themselves you gotta hang out in here for a while : Learn how to paint your own car! This place goes through every aspect of painting pretty thoroughly. I've been taking notes in my spare time . There is actually an Sw20 project post in there somewhere, guy was very thorough and did a great looking job.
Thank you! That was me. :)

That forum is an excellent resource. There are dudes on there who have been painting cars since the 70s and they steered me in the right direction multiple times.
 

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I've wrapped my MR2 and I've painted my MR2, so you're going to get a long, detailed answer from me. Just a warning.

tldr answer: get it painted (or paint it yourself - I did)

Each have their pros and cons. For wrap, some pros:

The cost of the wrap is almost your total cost. You need supplies like cutting tools, knifeless tape, various tuck/squegee tools etc, but this is all less than a hundred bucks.

You can also do it piecemeal, as you have the time. Wrap the roof one day, a fender another day, etc.

There are great YouTube channels to help learn how to do it. Paradox (early videos primarily), CK Wraps, lots of others.

Also, an AW11 is probably a pretty easy car to wrap. Small with lots of flat panels and straight lines. An SW20 is NOT easy. The front and especially rear bumpers are a nightmare.

Now, some cons:

There are going to be seams. They may be almost invisible, or they may look terrible - depends how good a job you do. Those seams have a tiny bit of adhesive exposed. That adhesive is going to IMMEDIATELY pick up dust and dirt. You never see this part in the YouTube videos. You can easily wipe them clean with alcohol, but they'll be dirty again in two days.

You will make mistakes. You will waste at least one large piece of vinyl. Normally you need 60 feet of vinyl for a car. You'll probably need more, even for a tiny little AW11.

Cheap wrap doesn't last. One summer parking outside will be enough to fade/discolor any ebay/off-band vinyl. If you're going to wrap, spend the money to get a good product. 3M is a huge brand but be aware a lot of people in the wrap community feel their quality has declined significantly in recent years. I would be more inclined to look at Avery, Hexis, KPMF, etc. Check out Metrorestyling.com and read reviews.

A wrap job will eventually need touch-ups and small fixes. Corners and edges will lift, or air bubbles will appear.

The best wrap is still going to have a little bit of orange peel, while lesser wrap will have a LOT, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Let's say you get tired of the wrap after three years and want a new color. Get ready to spend a week scraping off all the glue residue that will be left behind.

Now for paint, starting with pros:

It'll look better and last longer. No seams. No peeling or lifting corners or edges. Even a cheap Maaco job can be cut and polished to a mirror-flat finish, better than most modern factory paint jobs. But spend a little more for a two-stage job rather than single-stage. Single stage Urethane paint is a lot better than it used to be, but having a clearcoat gives you the chance to cut and buff to perfection.

Cons: upfront cost. A roll of wrap is definitely cheaper.

Quality: Maaco or local shops might do a very good job, or they might not. Does the car need body work? If you have any experience, filling dings and dents yourself and doing a lot of the prep can save you money and lead to a better finished product. You just never know how well the prep work will be done with budget shops. You might have overspray on your radiator or windshield, etc. There's a reason a paint job from a quality body shop is often over ten grand. A quality job takes a LOT of prep work.
Stupid Questions Alert :
[1] Is it possible to cut/polish single stage to get a show-quality finish ?
[2] Is clearcoat really more durable than single stage ?
 
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