No, the main advantage to powdercoating your frame is the durable finish that the powdercoating process leaves. Ultimately, powdercoating's main purpose is to protect and preserve the metal. If you were to paint your chassis and then, while bleeding the brakes, accidentally spill brake fluid on it, the brake fluid would eat through the paint and leave bare spots on the frame. However, that won't happen with a powdercoated frame. The finish is chemical resistant and all you would have to do is wipe up the spilled fluid.

Another advantage with powdercoating is that as soon as the chassis cools it's ready to be handled, unlike paint which can take up to a couple of days to cure before it's ready to touch. With powdercoating, Frank and his crew can get right back to work on Project Bomber.

An added benefit is that when properly done, powdercoating is a very "green" process, in other words it's really environmentally friendly. The idea of "green racing" is still a somewhat new phenomenon, but powdercoating really fits the bill. The powder granules are not a significant health, fire, or environmental hazard. In its dry form, it's called a nuisance dust largely because it will make a dusty mess if it gets spilled. However, there's nothing dangerous about it. It has virtually no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, it's not flammable, and is non-carcinogenic. Compare that to wet automotive paint which is flammable, carcinogenic, and full of VOCs.

In addition, because the powdercoat granules are applied in dry form, electrostatically, very little is ever wasted. Some professional powdercoaters report 95 percent of the granules ending up on the parts being coated. In some cases, powder that doesn't end up on the parts can even be reclaimed and reused by sweeping the floor and putting it back in the gun. As a comparison, wet paint-transfer efficiencies can easily drop below 50 percent, and overspray goes right into the atmosphere creating a big hole in the ozone layer unless, of course, you're inside a paint booth with the proper air reclamation system.

Are there any disadvantages? A quick and simple answer--not really. If there's one disadvantage to powdercoating it's the fact that the process is not something you can do yourself. You'll need to get it professionally done, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Powdercoating Project Bomber, as you saw here, cost a mere $350. You'd be hard pressed to paint a chassis for that dollar amount. Typically, you can expect prices to range from $350 to $550 for a powdercoating job like this one. The price is largely dependent on the color you choose--the more exotic the color, the higher the price. If you go really crazy, you can easily exceed that $550. But the bottom line is that by opting for powdercoating you're getting an amazing-looking frame that's extremely durable and resistant to chemicals and spills.

Conclusion In reality, a powdercoated chassis is far superior to a painted chassis. You can't even make the argument that the painted chassis is more vibrant. The chassis might look nearly the same during the start of the season, but as the season wears on, the painted chassis will start to chip and wear, whereas the powdercoated frame will look nearly the same as the first day you unloaded it from the professional who powdercoated it. So the next time you're deciding to paint or powdercoat your frame, have it done right and take a powder!

W.M. Kelley Company