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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Availability of cellulose paint

I'm putting right 18 years of neglect.

Repairing the patina gathered over the years.

I painted the car myself in 1993 with cellulose ( A jaguar BRG GN26 possibly)

I will be painting o/s a post door sill etc

Can you still get it locally? I prefer to visit a shop rather than rely on the internet and postage.

Any recommendations?
Dan Cusworth

You should be able to buy celly locally Dan

As I understand it, trade users/don't/won't/can't use it but it was going to be still available for personal non trade usage

I know I can still buy it here around Brum

Bill, its the other way around I'm afraid . Only registered bodyshops can use cellulose for automotive use.Agricultural celly is available to everyone but in limited colours. Problem with celly is that due to it not being the paint of choice we have fewer tinters to mix the full range of colours.
Try your local bodyshop suppliers , they may be able to help. If you get stuck you are welcome to contact me.

Thanks for that, I was told I can have celly whenever I need it by my local paint dealer

If it becomes necessary (thinking of doing Lara up in the MGF BRG pearlescent later on) I will get in touch


Dan, got mine from Auto Paints, St Helens. Got all the thinners, primers etc as well. Really good service and decent price. Try them on 01744 818102.
John Payne

Thanks John. I've seen them recommended else ware

Dan Cusworth

Anybody can buy automotive celly paint for vintage or historic, in all the colours as far as I know. It's sold in Brighton.

From their website.

Cellulose Paint
Please note that cellulose products are for industrial use and for vintage/classic cars only. When ordering please state purpose of use and registration number of the vehicle if you are painting a classic vehicle.
NOTES REGARDING SOLVENT BASED PAINTS. It is against the law to use non compliant solvent based paint and materials for refinishing / restoration of motor vehicles, unless the vehicle is classified as vintage or classic.
We can supply a full range of compliant materials to suite all our customers’ requirements including water based paint. Non compliant solvent based paints will still be available for customers spraying Industrial Plant and Machinery only. We have a massive range of car colours plus British Standard - RAL and Motorcycle colours. PLEASE NOTE THAT MATERIALS ARE FOR PROFESSIONAL USE.
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence , doesn't change the fact that as a pro bodyshop you need to be registered. And that there are only limited tinters left or being manufactured so colour matching will become more difficult as time goes on.

Autopaint/Classic Car Paint Supplies in Birkenhead...
Dave O'Neill2

Good marketing, but not representative across the country I'm afraid.

Paintstore Leamington Spa mix cellulose for me - last year I had 5 litrs Jaguar BRG for the Frog. For a small job like that it might be worth trying a 400 ml aerosol - either to the old paint code or best matched to a colour you supply. But 20 years of UV degradation V new paint from a different supplier, mixed to a different formulation and you'll be very lucky indeed to get a spot on match. More than likely you'll end up chasing the colour around the car - so always get more than you need, and store it in the back of a kitchen cupboard for next time.
F Pollock

JL. Most people here aren't registered as body shops, and don't need to be. There's plenty of celly paint on Ebay too. Of course the colours are getting scarce. So is everything else about these cars. So what's new?
Lawrence Slater

I got mine mail order from Autopaint of Brighton. No problem at all.
Mike Howlett

I got mine for a local AutoPaint depot, however they told me that they can't sell it for vehicle painting but that was okay as THEY told me that as I "was" painting my steel garage doors they could supply me with Celly paint.... "now what specific colour are your garage doors?" :-)
Andrew McGee

I think I may end up painting the whole thing....

How much will I need?

Dan Cusworth

Dan, I used 3.5 litres of colour and mixed it at 50:50 for the BGT and really could have done with more in the end.

So I reckon 5 litres of paint and 5 litres of thinners ought to be enough for a midget. For the thinners Autopaint recommended AntiBloom as they said it would be better for a novice. I used that and got a semi gloss finish out of the HVLP system I've got. I went back for another litre of colour to add to the 2.5 that I initially bought and asked for some more AntiBloom thinners but they hadn't got any in stock so let me have some "top quality thinners" at the same price. It was high gloss straight out of the gun and should have only been
Andrew McGee

Andrew, If you have a decent compressor and a 'polishing' d/a sander (This has smaller occilation movement) then you can flat back the surface with 3000 and 5000 d/a discs, this will eliminate any 'orange peel' for tou then to cut back with an electric or air polisher with G3 and final polish with a 'machine polish ' before hand waxing. Just keep the car and d/a wet so as not to burn the paint, and keep on the move. Do not d/a on tight radius or edges. You will be amazed at what can be achieved.

Since you can't get red lead anymore, what's the best anti-rust primer for bare metal, under a cellulose primer and top coat?
Lawrence Slater

Do alot of materials including cellulose primers. They stock a zinc rust based primer.

I had a load of cellulose accepting "red oxide" on the shelf when did the sprite recently so if can find something like that thats my recommendation but can;t see why the zinc stuff wouldn't work.
D Paul

Used about 8 litres + 8litres of antibloom + several litres of top coat thinners for the top coat.

don't forget more thinners for your filler primer!

Expecting to use another 1-2L for the hardtop or so I'd guess.

Ask your local classic car restoration garage who they get their painting done by etc and you may be able to find a local source for mixed paint.

For thinners and primer paints4U delivered very fast, good service and was good stuff and cheap!
D Paul


I got some from the st helens company Ill let you know how i get on!
Dan Cusworth

Thanks D Paul.
Lawrence Slater

Slight hi-jack, but still to do with paints. . .

What are the characteristics, the pros and the cons of water based car paints?

I have used celly, which is easy and controllable. I have used 2-pack which is bright and glossy but requires a lot more paraphernalia in terms of H & S. And in the end I didn't like the end results as much.

So what should I know about modern water based paints?
Guy W

Waterbased paints rely on air drying, and the use of both blowers (huge air flow)and some heat 20c to spray and 60c to bake, so best in a clean controlled environment . 2K is a chemical reaction process which also requires heat to spray then to bake.
For the home user Celly is by far the best to use, but be warned that the thinners is a killer product so don't be tempted not to use the correct ventilation and mask.
Ideally use on a warm day and if possible warm up the panels first, as the paint will flow better.

Thanks JL.
As I said, I have used both celly, which I liked, and 2K, which I wasn't as keen on. Although I had the use of a proper spray booth we didn't use any extra heat or bake it. It hardened off just fine, but then it was summer time!

Seems that water based is off the options list for me at home then. Kitchen oven isn't big enough!
Guy W

always lot of myths about 2K - I've also sprayed it (at home and without an air fed mask). Not in a heated booth and not baked afterwards. Good gloss finish, hard as nails and, hey guess what I didn't get ill or die :-)
David Smith

David / Guy, I did say it was a chemical reaction, best done in a heated booth and baked , which 'is' the best way to do it. However if you have neither at your disposal then it will still cure /work.
Up to you is you don't wear protection, but I certainly wouldn't advise others to do the same due to you having no ill effects 'yet'. Having said this thinners for celly is equally toxic, hence my advice to wear appropriate protection.
Spraying 2K at home, unless you are on a remote farm or the like should be discouraged, it is a very dangerous product which should not be used in populated areas without filtration and user protection.
As for 2K being plasticy or too shiny,this is only the case when viewed straight out of the gun, if its cut back and polished I'd challenge anyone to tell the difference between this and a celly finish.

How about hand painting with a brush or a roller?

A number of people here have tried this method with good results -- I looked in the archives.
Lawrence Slater


Paint of that type can also be sprayed. I sprayed a mates Caterham late last autumn with Tekaloid but I wouldn't recommend it be sprayed at that time of year unless heating was available but that was when my mate wanted me to do it. This type of paint is like coach enamel and can be brush, roller , or spray applied and pulls out beautifully but doesn't have quite the finish quality of celly but as it is low solvent the prep needed is much less stringent. The problem with use at lower temps is that it can still be flowing for an hour or more as the solvent is white spirit or similar, white spirit is what was recommended for spraying the Tekaloid. IIRC while it has some solvent content the main means of it hardening is a reaction with oxygen in the atmosphere so much less volume change to show the underlying surface, the thinner being much less volatile than celly thinner so ambient temp has a major effect but we had the option to place the freshly sprayed wings and scuttle in his warm conservatory to flash off the paint so few issues, the body was sprayed early evening and it was starting to cool and it showed with the resultant curtains appearing hours later. Celly hardens due to solvent evaporation only IIRC. He redid the body recently and had lots of further runs due to the temps a few months ago but then re-prepped the panels and got heat into the garage which helped significantly in getting the paint to flash off much more quickly to the point it was stable and not moving with far fewer resultant problems. Due to the nature of this type of paint curing rather than drying it can take substantially longer to get hard enough to polish well.
David Billington

Slow drying paints do have the added problem of being more susceptible to dust, insects etc.
Guy W

Thanks David,

Actually, because the paint job on my Midget is in such poor condition, I'm thinking of having some fun with it. -- on the basis that it needs a bare metal strip and paint anyway, so I have nothing to lose by painting over the top of what's already there.

Looking at the cost of celly paint, I'm thinking of using gloss house paint with a roller, or maybe a garage door paint.

Lawrence Slater

Nearly 50 years ago, when I was but a teenager, I painted an aluminium car with ICI Dulux using a brush. I did it in light grey, and when dry, polished it up and it looked quite presentable.
Mike Howlett

Like Mike but I used Parsons Automotive Repaint and sprayed it through a low pressure spayer on my first car 40 years ago. It looked brilliant mainly I suspect because it was enamel IIRC. I remember being ill that night and blaming the paint rather than the copious amounts of beer that had been consumed.

Jeremy 3

So not such a mad idea at all then lol.

Dulux do some great colours too. How long did it last Mike?
Lawrence Slater

i painted my engine bay with this stuff, they actually recommend it for application with a roller...
a quick google shows quite a few stories of people who have done it..
Andy Phillips

oops, just re-read the link and the guy sprayed it...
try this one instead
Andy Phillips

I considered this some years ago. After all, generations of Rolls Royce cars were hand painted. They achieved a flawless gloss finish by using many coats and lots of sanding down between each.

The logic to me for not brush or roller painting, is this. The quality of the finish, and how long it lasts, is down almost exclusively to the effort put into the preparation, which is largely the same whether brush painted or sprayed (with cellulose). The final depth of shine is dependant on the amount of effort put into flatting down between coats and cutting back and polishing at the end. Again this is much the same for spraying or brush painting, assuming you want a good looking finish. In fact the brush/ roller painting will probably need more flatting between coats.

Spraying needs more masking up which takes a while. But once done the actual application of the paint is less effort than brush painting. Brush painting maybe has the appeal that it is easier to do just parts of a car, or to touch in repair panels. But that is also possible with celly paint. So at this point maybe it just comes down to personal preference, and perhaps to availability of a compressor and spray gun.

Guy W

Having played a bit myself with these methods, I'd recommend spraying. I used White Knight Rust Guard paint which as far as I could tell was very similar to the Rustoleum others have used. For me it was way too much work getting it smooth after rolling it on, but when sprayed it did the same thing and 'settled' to a really nice smooth finish. I wouldn't do it on a nice car - it's not as durable as automotive paint - but I'm really happy with it in satin black on my old Ford F250, particularly as when it gets scratched (which is a case of when, not if, with a truck that's used!) you can give that spot a quick spray from a rattle can and it looks perfect again! The colour match even a couple of years later is great, and it blends really well with the older paint. I also sprayed a couple of 4x4s with the same paint, again with quite good results. I tried rolling the gloss stuff on a couple of other cars, and you could get decent results, but getting rid of the roller/brush marks just took way too much work, it was much easier just to mask up and spray. Maybe I was using the wrong rollers? But spraying paint on a car is so easy by comparison, I don't really understand why you would go this way, I did the rolling first, and the first time I used the spray gun I knew I would never bother with the roller method again.
Andrew F

This is my f250 a few weeks after I painted it. 12 months later the paint still looks just as good after a wash. It lives outside in the weather (doesn't fit in the garage!), and I drive it almost every day. A mate painted his 4x4 the same way about 2 years ago, and it spent most of that period outside though has recently moved undercover. The paint on his also still looks just as good as when it was painted except where it has been physically damaged.

Andrew F

My reasons for roller and paint brush are as follows.

Car paint job is a mess anyway. Needs bare metal strip to look pucker, and I'm not going to do that.

I'm going to do it a "fun" colour. My gf favours shocking pink.

I don't care about it having a super flat gloss see your face in it shine.

Prepping, masking and removing trim, will take far longer than using a roller and brush. 1st cut in the edges with a brush, and then roll the rest.

I'm looking for a job lot of cheap paint. I might go for multi colour. I want to make it look so bad (colour scheme wise ), that it looks good.

If I can get cheap cellulose, I'll use that.

Lawrence Slater

This thread was discussed between 17/04/2013 and 24/04/2013

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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