The Gen 1 MINIs had a problem with the clear-coat that was applied at the factory. Some owners were able to talk their way into getting it fixed at the dealer under the extended corrosion warranty. Given that my MINI is long past that option, I decided to pursue a two part strategy: first, I ignored it, but that didn’t work. Second, I decided to cover it up.
Since the two parts that are failing the most were the roof and rear hatch, I thought I’d start with the roof. I always wondered how my car would look (and if it would be any cooler inside) with a white roof. So why not try white plasti-dip? If I don’t like it, peel it off and I’m no worse off. Or so I thought. More later.
Don’t know plasti-dip? Start here at dipyourcar.com. Their website and associated Youtube channel is very informative. My original plan was to dip the roof white, and then apply some sort of vinyl sticker over it. (That didn’t work out either.)
So first the prep. I peeled off the loose flakes of clear-coat, sanded and repainted before applying the dip. With this step I was hoping that when the plastic-dip was removed, it wouldn’t take more of the clear-coat with it.
I masked off the roof, fixed the small flakes, applied the pre-dip treatment and started to apply the plastic-dip. Here’s where my plan veered off course. If you’re using a traditional paint gun, you want to thin the paint and apply a thin first coat. If using rattle cans — like I was — you want a thick first coat. This makes it easier to remove later on. I applied the paint too far from the surface and ended up with an un-even suede like finish. When I went to remove it, it wasn’t thick enough to peel in large pieces so to took several hours to rub off. And when it did come off, it took huge chunks of clear-coat with it. Lessons learned, I tried again.
This second time, I sanded and repaired a much larger area of the roof, prepped and started laying down thick, smooth layers. It helps to heat the rattle-cans in warm water for a smoother finish. I put down three layers of gray to get some separation from the red, and four layers of white. I was going to use a glossifier finish, but I actually liked the flat white better.
The final surface is not perfectly smooth (hence no sticker on top) but looks pretty good from 5 feet, which is all you need from a track-car. I have since cleaned up the black on the gutters, and dipped the splitter green. All in, I’m happy with the result. I think given the amount of prep work I ended up doing to have a strong enough surface to start with, I could have just painted it white with traditional paint.