A few months ago we highlighted how to paint your race car so that you ended up with a great-looking paintjob for your fans and sponsors alike. Having that great-looking paintjob is nice, but what about your chassis? At one time or another we've all worked on a race car with a chassis that was in pretty rough shape. To avoid that worn-out, beat-up, rough look you have two options: You can paint your chassis or you can powdercoat it. But which one is better?

Well, Circle Track has done the legwork for you by following the Frank Kimmel/Circle Track Project Bomber through the powdercoating process. The bottom line? Powdercoating will always be a wiser choice over painting your chassis. Read along as we explain why by showing you the process and its advantages.

Process The powdercoat process is pretty basic and relatively straightforward. The secret is in the actual material--a combination of finely ground plastics with various hues and pigments, which determine the final color of the finished product. This powder is applied to the surface being powdercoated via electrostatic transfer. We'll explain what this means a little later.

A wide range of items can be powdercoated but there's always one common denominator. The key to having an amazing-looking finished product, a chassis in our case, is very similar to painting a body--it all lies in how well you prepare the surface of the part you're powdercoating. There can't be any rust, metal shavings, paint, or any other foreign matter on the surface being powdercoated or the granules won't properly adhere to it.

You have two choices to accomplish this task: sandblasting or chemical washing. If you read "Bomber Foundation" (on page 58), then you know that Frank Kimmel and his crew chose to sandblast the frame and usable parts of a '76 Chevelle. While both methods are acceptable, I, like Frank, personally prefer sandblasting largely because it creates a rough surface that will only assist the powdercoat in sticking to the frame.

Once the sandblasting or chemical washing is completed, you have to ensure that the chassis is completely dry--but simply letting it air dry will not be enough. It has to be 100 percent dry, so it'll be baked in a large oven at 300-350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.

Once the part is completely dry and clean, it's time to apply the powdercoat. Like we said before, the powdercoat is finely ground plastics made up of hues and pigments. It's applied dry with a special powdercoating gun that resembles a hairdryer. The gun simultaneously applies an electrostatic charge to the powdercoat granules and metal. This basically means that the electrostatic charge holds the granules in place on the chassis/frame until it gets baked in the oven.

The baking step involves moving the chassis into a very large oven where it will get baked for 45 to 60 minutes at 350 degreees F. This process melts and cures the powder granules and pigments onto the chassis in one step. The result is a very even and uniform look along with an exceptionally durable finish.

Advantages of powdercoating Some might say that the main advantage of powdercoating your frame is because of the great uniform finish and availability of many vibrant colors. Granted, there are no drips, runs, or puddles with powdercoating but realize that painting offers just as many color options, and in some cases more. And while those odd color options may be available in powdercoating too, they can drive the cost up.