Projects & Repairs --> Restoration --> Bocar Repaint

1959 Bocar XP5 after being repainted.

Exotic Car Restoration

Repainting A
1959 Bocar XP5

In This Article:

A very rare sports car is sanded and repainted after some careful repairs are made to the fiberglass body.

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Skill Level: 5 (Professional)


By Jim Wilk, Licensed Auto Body Technician


June 2008

Back in the 1950's, people who owned sports cars like this Bocar would race them at a racetrack and then drive home afterwards. They didn't haul their racecars in special trailers like we do today, so these racecars were street-legal and licensed. 59 Bocar XP5 before repainting.


This 1959 Bocar XP5 was restored in 1987 in Florida.

Twenty years later it's time for a touchup This time at R-Tech Auto Body in Traverse City, Michigan, USA.


The Bocar, Cobra, Jaguar XKE, and Corvette Sting Ray of the 50's were the first to use roll bars. Interior of Bocar XP5


Instrument panel of Bocar XP5 There is no radio... just the gauges that are needed for racing.


When this Bocar XP5 was hand built in 1950 it was issued the number 21. Bocar


Rear view of 1959 Bocar Rear view. Note that there is no rear bumper.

It's hard to believe that this car is a half-century old. The sleek, yet curvy body styling looks like many cars today.


View of interior Interior photo of 2-seater Bocar XP5.


Fiberglass repair on 59 Bocar. Mike Thomas, an auto body repair technician with over twenty years of experience, did this entire repair job, from fiberglass repair to final painting.

As Mike sanded the Bocar he would cut a V-groove along the fiberglass stress crack and fill it with modern-day fiberglass products.

To cut the V-groove, Mike used a cordless drill with a small conical "burr", which is like a router bit.


For the first sanding, Mike used 150 grit sandpaper on the bad areas, and then sanded the entire car with 320 grit paper.

This sanding was done with a dual-action pneumatic sander, which is similar to a random orbital sander.

Sanding fiberglass auto body.


Final sanding of fiberglass car body on 1959 Bocar. The second sanding was done with 600 grit sand paper.


At this point the sanding was completed and the minor repairs were done. Fiberglass body Bocar after sanding.


Blowing sanding dust off fiberglass car. It took Mike a half hour just to blow the dust off the Bocar. He had to blow compressed air into every little nook and cranny.


The Powerplant: A 350 cubic inch Chevy Corvette engine with 418 horsepower. Bocar engine.


Corvette engine in Bocar, 350 cubic inch displacement. View of right side of engine.


View of left side of engine. 1959 Bocar has a Corvette engine.


59 Bocar with trunk open. View of the trunk.

When you drive a Bocar, you have to travel light.


The gas tank takes up most of the compartment. Bocar trunk with fuel tank.


Painting The Bocar:

Bocar XP5 in spray booth for repainting. The spray booth was swept and rinsed with a hose. The Bocar was ready to be painted.


Mike started the taping and masking process. Taping and masking a sports car before repainting.


Taping and masking the 1959 Bocar before painting. This Bocar will be refinished with single stage acrylic urethane enamel.


Mike had to tape and mask a lot of areas on this car. Masking a car for spray painting.


Masking over wheels when repainting a car. We didn't want to remove more parts than we absolutely needed to, because there is too much risk of breaking something that cannot be replaced.


Did we catch Mike taping or.....? Masking tape used for paint prep.


Bocar after all masking complete. The taping and spot priming is done.

The Bocar was ready for painting.


When spraying solid colors, you cover primed and off-color areas first and let them dry. Spray painting primed areas before painting entire car.


Spray painting hard-to-reach areas first. Then Mike sprayed the hard-to-spray areas carefully, making sure that the paint didn't run.


Then Mike sprayed the entire vehicle from end to end. Using an HVLP paint sprayer to paint a sports car.


Bocar during painting with single-stage urethane enamel from Matrix Systems. When spraying single stage paint it's necessary to spray three good coats of paint on the overall job and give adequate drying time between each coat.


A experienced painter like Mike Thomas knows how to keep the paint wet enough so the tiny atomized droplets flow together, but the paint doesn't run. Automotive spray painting.


Automotive spray painting with single-stage paint from Matrix. Single stage paint is more challenging to spray than basecoat-clearcoat.


Mike is done and proud.

To be a top auto painter you need patience and an eye for detail.

Car after spray painting.

Mike let the paint dry overnight in the spray booth, keeping the doors shut so no dust could get in.

The next day we wheeled the Bocar out of the spray booth.

Repainted 1959 Bocar XP5. Some photos of the Bocar the day after painting...
Sports car after new paint job.  
Old car with new paint job.  
Classic car after being repainted.  


Applying new decals to Bocar after new paint has dried. After a light rubout Bob put the new decals on.

The old decals were reproduced by George Prewitt, owner of our local FastSigns franchise. (Email George at


1959 Bocar after paint restoration. Some photos of the finished paint job...
Bocar rear view, after repaint job.  


Completed car restoration, 59 Bocar XP5. Ready for the highway.


The door is opened and awaiting the owner 1959 Bocar with door open.


59 Bocar after restoration at R-Tech Auto Body, Traverse City Michigan. The owner of this very special car is Mike Fisher of Northern Stainless Fabricating Inc.


More Info:

Tools Used:

  • Cordless Drill with Conical Cutting Burr
  • Dual Action Pneumatic Sander
  • Basic Mechanic's Tools
  • HVLP Paint Sprayer
  • Air Compressor
  • Paint Spray Booth

Materials Used:

  • Sanding Discs, 150 grit, 320 grit, 600 grit.
  • Short-Hair Fiberglass Compound
  • Masking Tape and Paper
  • Automotive Primer
  • Single-Stage Automotive Paint, Matrix Systems

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Created December 17, 2008