The paint on the RX7 has, to say the least, seen better days. By frontal area, it’s a good 25% or more rock-chip. Being a southern car, the sun has baked the paint on the roof and rear... area-around-the-hatch? into poor shape.

That said, I had an idea (not particularly original). In closely examining the failing/failed clear on the roof, it seemed as if the darker oxidized part was higher than the appears-okay underneath. That is to say, if you scratched at the chipping edges, the underlying material looked way better, and not in a way that a base coat without clear does.

Additionally, at the very back (not pictured) the “underneath” layer seemed to transition to the b-pillars, and the rest of the car. This didn’t make sense, until...

Background: At some point early in its life, this car had its driver’s side fender and hood replaced (the Mazda R-DOT is visible on the underside of the hood) and pretty well paint matched, pinstriped, etc. I thought to myself “Self, what if they blended paint onto the roof to make the hood and roof match?” I answered “Well other self, it could be that thin blending layer which is failing, and original paint/clear is underneath”

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Note the darker bad sections on the right/top, and how they appear to be on top of the good paint (lower left).

Based on this, I did a quick Science Experiment this evening, on a premise of not having much to lose. Lo and behold, breathing on it with 1000 grit (wet) removed the failed material entirely. Following up with 1500 and 2000 wet, then compound & polish (by hand, it’s a small spot) resulted in this:

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From another angle:

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This is promising. The overall condition of the paint nearly justifies going over the entire car with 1500/2000 then polish - doing the roof is small beans by comparison. The only downside is that there are some dings and creases in the roof which are presently invisible, they’ll show up if shiny.

As a bonus, here’s some lightly oxidized clear elsewhere that I was able to wetsand back to being shiny:

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In gas tank news, it’s pretty much ready to go back in. I’ll do one big post on that project when I do.