Painting Tanks and Fenders - Need Advice

I have a number of Arctic Cats, 2 of which need paint on the tanks. The '72 Prowler needs the fenders done as well. All 4 pieces will be restored to the original metallic Navel Orange color. I've gone back and forth on doing it myself and paying to have it done. I've done plenty of lacquer and polyurethane spraying and have an acceptable but not high-end gravity feed gun (not HVLP). I've got questions.

Issue #1: Do I go with single stage (to match the original look and feel) or two stage base/clearcoat to be more durable, but might be too glossy to look original?

I'm told that after 90 days, the paint should be pretty well cured and I'd be using high quality paint, so do I still need to worry about the occasional contact with fuel? They never worried about single stage 40 years ago and it held up pretty well. Fading was the real problem.

Issue #2: What's a reasonable price to pay for the job to be done by a pro, assuming I give the guy 2 cleaned and stripped tanks and 2 fenders?

Body Shop Options:
I've been to 4 places. The first 2 were large collision shops and they flat out said no thanks, but did give recommendations for 2 other places.

The third shop (cringe) was Maaco. Believe it or not, this was recommended by one of the large shops. The big shop insisted I'd be happy with Maaco's work at this particular location (not all Maaco's are created equal I guess). Maaco came in at $250 for 2 tanks and 2 fenders if they didn't have to do prep work.

The fourth recommended shop was a small mom & pop. $350 if I brought them the pint of paint, which is about $75, for a total of $425. They would use their primer, reducer, and clear if needed. Seemed a bit high.

These bikes will probably never be 100% perfect show quality top to bottom restorations, but they are 100% accurate and original parts, give or take a reflector or two and new-but-look-original brake cables. I ride them occasionally but I want them to look a few months old instead of 40+ years old.

I can do my own semi-skilled job for $150 in materials. Either way, I have to do the strip and prep. Pro options are $250 or $425. Decals not included. Advice?


Do it yourself & use base clear urethane; let it cure for several days the polish lightly with fine buffing material such as 3M Finesse - not a coarse cutting compound; this will knock a little of the wet look gloss down & should give a little more original finish; I like the way the clear coat protects against gas as well as anything; Good Luck! :thumbsup:
You can use single stage, then clear. Some single stages like DuPont work well with a 8:1 of catalyst, but I have had mixed results with fuel proofing. Seems like fuel has a way of seeping under the paint at the filler neck sometimes creating bubbles.
Dave is right: I always tape off my filler neck about a quarter inch below the top edge leaving a small ring of bare metal around the top, usually hidden under the cap.....