Shiny Patina: 1968 Ford Mustang

I am sure most of you reading this are no strangers to the show Fast and Loud.  While I often disagreed with some of the things they were doing to those cars (the Model A Ford in particular), the show had its moments.  One of the “techniques” they used was clear coating a rusty vehicle.  They called the rusty finish on the car “patina,” and the idea was to preserve this patina.  Well, we now have proof that this technique is an official “thing” in the collector car world.  Take a Texas sized look at this 1968 Ford Mustang GT we found on eBay in Mount Hope, West Virginia.  All this patina is selling for a Buy It Now price of $14,999.99.

Let’s get this out in the open right now.  I am on the fence about this whole clear coating a rusty, faded automobile.  On one side of the coin, a car is being rescued from the scrap heap in 99% of these situations.  That’s a really good thing.  We need for more cars to be rescued and enjoyed.  God knows all of us have seen cars that have been destroyed by an owner that will “fix it up someday.”  Well, someday never comes because it takes money, skill, tools, patience, and a good place to work to restore a car.  Not everyone has those things, and many a car has been lost to promises and excuses.  Clear coating eases the financial burden because it saves a lot of money on body work, paint and primer.  The cost to refinish a car is outrageous, and EPA mandates are driving the price up every year.

On the other side of the coin, I just can’t fall in love with the looks of a rusty car that has been clear coated.  Especially of the car merits more, be it from rarity, originality, or just the suitability of the finish on that particular type of car.  On a rusty 1970s pickup, OK.  On a muscle car, not so much.  I never saw a car with this treatment until Fast and Loud arrived on my TV, so it makes me wonder if it is a fad.  Fads such as billet everything, satin black cars and trucks, and World of Wheels type show cars.  These things come and go.  Will this be a lasting technique?  Who knows?

On this particular Mustang, we can see that they sprayed the gloss clear on pretty thick.  Three layers thick, according to the owner.  It doesn’t appear that they started with a bad car either.  The seller claim the rust is limited to  the battery tray, one spot on the passenger floor, and a couple of small places on the quarter panels at the wheel well.  Claiming that the car lived its life in California, the body is assumed to be tip top due to the dry climate out there.  As seen above, the patina business basically stops at the door jams.  The interior has almost been completely redone, except for the headliner and a couple of spots here and there.  I think I’d replace the horn section of the steering wheel as well if I were the new owner.

Underneath, we see that the patina is continuing to evolve.  The floors don’t look too bad, except for the spot the owner mentioned on the passenger floorboard.  There might be a small area of rust through on the driver’s side as well, but I am not sure.  A new gas tank and exhaust system from the headers back has been installed.  The car also has had the brake system brought back to snuff, and the GT wheels sit on new tires.  While it is a running and driving car, I wonder if the rear end has been flushed and topped off.  The shocks look like they have seen their last day as well.  These are just minor concerns though, and easily remedied.

Under the hood, we see the same old Ford 289 that powers most Mustangs of this era.  Hoses, belts, and plug wires look new, and the owner says that both the engine and the automatic transmission run without issue.  I wonder if they had to get the transmission rebuilt?  I’ve never had any luck whatsoever with an automatic transmission that has sat for a long time.  Has anyone else?

In all, I like the car, but I am not sure I like the clear coat treatment.  It seems to have been a fairly solid car, at least as far as Mustangs go.  They all rust.  I happened upon one that had been garaged for over ten years near my old home.  It was a beautiful 1965 coupe from about 50 feet away, complete and original.  When I got closer, there was rust everywhere.  Even bubbling up under the paint in the middle of every panel.  I just turned and walked away.

For the right price, I probably wouldn’t walk away from this Mustang.  It is a pretty good car.  I just don’t think the clear coat would last long if the car ended up in my garage.  When I say that, I don’t mean to disparage anyone who is into this.  We need all the enthusiasts we can get in this day and age of declining interest in many areas of the hobby.  Owning a collector car is a love more than anything else, and we all are attracted to different things.

What are your feelings on this car, clear coating patina, and the influence of TV shows on car collecting?  “Let ‘er rip ‘tater chip!”

Fast Finds


  1. RoKo

    “Gas Monkey influence” is more of a condition than an advantage, in my opinion.
    Spraying clear coat on to show off the fact the car is in dire need of a paint job.

    It’s like someone with burn marks and scabs lathering on body sparkles.

    Like 1
  2. DG

    Let me be the first to say I think clearcoating over a rusty car looks dumb. If you have the time and money to clear coat it, why not just repaint it? There are those who will say its only original once. Well it didn’t come from the factory looking like someone drove it through a sand storm then parked it outside for 40 years. Patina used to mean a few scratches and faded in places. Now it can mean looking like it was dredged out of the ocean. Its a fad.

    Like 1
    • skloon

      At least use a matte clear

  3. Mountainwoodie

    Another lemming fad…………………….

    Like 1
  4. MoFo

    It’s Tacky, like those Glossed over cheesy TV shows,
    they have way too much to answer for !!!

    If you are gonna clearcoat, do it in style with a matte finish and keep it looking like it was.

    Like 1
  5. Joeinthousandoaks

    I think this is a good look for the right vehicle. A 68 Mustang isn’t the right vehicle. Paint it the original color

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      I’ve seen a couple of Rat Rods that looked good with clear coat put on them but that’s about it. This is not a vehicle it looks good on.

  6. Chebby

    I get the distaste for this method, and don’t think too many cars should be done up this way, but think about it: good paint jobs are expensive, and bad ones look terrible. Body work is complex, and even really nice paint has a tendency to bubble after a few years. This is a cheap and easy treatment for when you’re never going to invest the time and money to do it “right”.

  7. Darrun

    I personally don’t like the look, but it does offer some preservation. It will slow down rust on the outer body, but on the other hand, it will create a whole lot more work for the next guy. All that clear will need removed to do it right.


    I think the “look” is fine for any pickup prior to about 1960. After that , no effing way. Trucks have a way of looking tough which is exemplified by dings, fade, scratches and discoloration. Cars don’t fit the mold, they are meant to be clean, polished, and in their Sunday best. There are exceptions, but it slays me to see a car not reach its potential. It’s like an unfinished piece of art, it deserves to be completed. Sorry for the sermon.

  9. Howard A Member

    1st, I’ve never seen one episode of that show, so no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. 2nd, I’m not sure where this “clear coat over rust” started. Probably California, where rusty cars are an unusual sight, so let’s capitalize on that concept,,, a shiny rusty car,,,of course. I suppose one doesn’t need to worry about a color match with clear coat. May as well clear coat the underside while you’re at it. Pure silliness. Living( and working on) rusty cars all my life, I’m sick and tired of it. I agree, more work for the next person, do it right, sheesh. Nice blue, or SOMETHING!! This car, with those wheels would look really nice.

    • Keith

      Seasons 1 & 2 were pretty good (2012). Not so great after that

  10. 408interceptor

    My “field find” 1965 Caterpillar D8H is one of those vehicles that actually looks pretty tough wearing decades of worn paint and surface rust. The “Joe Dirt” look on a classic car was meant for the movies not the street.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi 408, cool dozer. The picture doesn’t do it justice how big this thing is ( I think in ’65, only the D9 was bigger) I’ve worked around several D8’s, and the saying was, if you get a D8 stuck, you were screwed, as there wasn’t a much bigger machine to get you out. The D8, I feel, was Cat’s “bread and butter” machine, I think it’s still made today, almost 60 years later.

      • 408interceptor

        Thanks Howard, I bought it a few years ago to dig a 1 acre pond on my property. It’s in semi retirement now, and where I live nobody complains about 30 tons of lawn art. It’s parked next to a seasonal dirt road so I can move it around whenever I want. The starting process usually takes about 10 minutes with the pony motor on a 70 degree day. The old dozer looks good with all the “Patina” but I still plan on painting it bright yellow. It’s very risky buying something like this as the repair costs can easily exceed the purchase price, probably why most are scrapped out.

  11. Djbartu

    Am I alone in hating the word “patina”?

    • Andy

      Nope, you are not alone in hating the “patina” fad. Patina is a fancy word to describe RUST!!! Rust is not a good thing to be showing on a vehicle…

    • Mike

      I hate that word. It isn’t patina. It’s rust…..

      • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

        Ok, couldn’t help myself… Some Patina Etymology, paraphrased:
        It is thought that patina was first used in 17th century Italy to describe the green hue that copper gets as it ages.. it is oxidation (rust…).It came to also be used to describe oxidation on other metals, primarily bronze and was used mostly in the fine art/antiques world. It can also be found describing the look of aged, antique furniture.

        Is the word being used correctly to describe a well worn but still useful and beautiful automobile? I’d say it is.

        Is it being overused now as a marketing ploy? I’d say it is… However, the use of patina for marketing is NOT exclusive to the automotive world. Antique dealers have been doing the same for many years.

        RE this particular Mustang… I don’t like it. My wife saw it and said, “oh, nasty”. Can it look “good” on older trucks as mentioned previously, I think it can and even some cars can look ok, if it’s real and not sprayed gloss.. I too agree that maybe a matte finish would have been less offensive/obvious.

  12. William

    No profanity or patina ,don’t they mean the same thing?

  13. jw454

    According to the door jams, it needs to be painted white. Fortunately white is not that hard to do.

  14. Jay E.

    This car looks terrible, the clear coat makes it even more so. If you are going to put on a clear coat, there should at last be a nice patina underneath to save. This one is awful. The preservation until the future is fine, if I had to do that in this car I’d at least wet sand it with 400 to knock off the shine and make it look like it is a project. Personally I’d just shoot it flat black primer like we did in the old days, give it a Hoonnigan look, until I had the money to strip it properly. Hard to believe how Gas Monkey became a brand in just a couple of years. It is stupidly entertaining.

  15. Karo

    I find it interesting that this car has center vents like an A/C car would, but no A/C. There are no side vents, compressor/condenser nor the A/C controls. In ’69 Ford offered Comfort Stream or “power ventilation” in the Mustang/Cougar that had center vents to help with airflow (but wasn’t A/C). I wonder if there was something similar in ’68. Or maybe those center vents are just there for some random reason.

  16. CCFisher

    I get the whole “it’s only original once” concept, but doesn’t the act of applying clear paint violate that? And wouldn’t a matte finish be more appropriate? Misgivings and methodology aside, this is a deluxe interior Mustang GT. It deserves better.

    • Rodent

      This car has drum brakes, so it isn’t a GT. If the fog lamps are original, it may be a V8 Sprint package. That would explain the wheels and pop-up gas cap as well. Should have GT style C stripes as well. Wish there was a Marti Report.

      I had a 68 coupe 302-4v 4speed disc brake car from 1977-2001. Diamond Blue with blue standard interior and factory AM-FM stereo. Kind of wish I hadn’t sold it. Maybe that is why I have a special love for the 68.

      • Rodent

        I should clarify that a V8 Sprint would have these wheels with plain centers and a pop-open gas cap with a horse, not a GT emblem.

  17. Moosefeather

    I’m not a huge fan of the ‘patina’ look either and agree it mostly suits a truck and when done not too glossy. However, I have seen some pretty nice cars done up or should I say left alone. I recall on another car show they fixed up a guys ’56 Ford Wagon I believe it was. Maybe someone else has a better memory than me. They actually stripped it down properly, applied different colors primer and a rust color paint. Painted the car red and white then sanded down parts of it to give it a patined look. I thought that car was gorgeous.

  18. Superdessucke

    If I were to buy a muscle car I would definitely want it to be a little bit rough. I just can’t stand the over-restored garage queens with super high ride height on new Chinese-made springs and skinny reproduction tires (probably also made in China).

    I like them low, a little dented, wide tires, maybe a little rusty, and tough-looking. Just like they were in the 1970s and early 1980s before The Craze took hold.

    That being said, I don’t know if I would clear coat over the blemished paid. I think I would just leave it.

  19. Retired Stig

    Ugh. Doesn’t work for me at all. Most of the time the “patina” is fake, or enhanced by some gorilla with an angle grinder, and looks it. On the other hand, it is much less expensive than all those hot rod kits that got painted coral, baby blue or avocado green a few decades ago…

  20. comatoes

    For sure spray some clear coat over the remnants of the original paint when its mostly still there to preserve it not over some poor primer and obviously reworked “rusted ” areas … and not on that kind of car…. just looks too try hard .

  21. LAB3

    Fads come and go, I’m really hoping to see the whole “100% unmolested” thing finally go to the wayside as well. Let’s not even get into the whole “Tribute Car” thing, who’s gonna pay $150 for a nosebleed seat in a stadium to see Rick Jaeger and The Tumbling Gravel”? Those of us who are old enough to remember the “Good old days” know full well that car culture was about making it go faster and looking better while doing it. Whatever is coveted today will be old hat in few years, guaranteed! Now turn off that damn music and stay off my lawn!

    • Keith

      The Rick Jaegar convert I went to was awesome!

  22. B

    It’s right up there with leaving the dirt on a “barn find”. Maybe on a pre-war or early post war pickup but on a car – not.

  23. chris lawrence

    Why would I pay for this car when you can get one with paint on it for the same price?

  24. Shayne

    Man this car looks bad.. and I like Patina. I buy original paint cars and keep them with their original paint. My 65 K code was an AZ car that was never wrecked and has almost 0 rust. The car is a driving experience (4speed close ratio, 3.91 9″, 351 Windsor 4v (original motor long gone). But the car feels like a car you take to the drag strip. No fancy paint, it’s a fun car you can beat up and race. Don’t have to worry about the fancy paint. Some cars are ok and some need restored

  25. LimoDan

    I like it as a preservation technique to get a car on the road and fun as you work through the Gremlins , I can fix about anything mechanical but my paint and body skills look like it was done with a gorilla and a push broom , so it’s a way to have fun while saving up for a new paint job .

  26. Miguel

    They didn’t remove any of the rust before they clear coated it.

    I think the rust is going to keep growing.

    Heck, what happen what you paint over rust?

    Bubble city. I have a few cars to prove it.

  27. Bruce Fischer

    You want to see patina. Heres what my 56 Chrysler looked like with its original paint.I hated it and now that why its all taped up and ready for paint. Bruce.

  28. Dick in SoCal

    At least the filler is easy to find and the body is ready for sanding…

  29. Bob C

    I am from west Virginia. I have owned three mustangs the last being a 1973 mach 1 with a 351 block. For the life of me i can’t understand anyone taking a classic car and clear coating it. The real beauty of any car is in the color. Just my opion! Can we all agree that this mustang would be such a sweet ride if painted. The best part on this car are the shinny GT Wheels!

  30. Scott in San Jose

    An AH 3000 passed me on the freeway. It had faded paint, racing number, roll bar, period decals, no interior to speak of, and a loud rumble as it passed. Looked like it had been clear coated. Didn’t get a good enough look to see if it was original or antiqued. Only car I have seen that I thought looked good like that.

    This poor thing to me looks like the owner is just lazy.

  31. JagManBill

    “Patina” on a race car shows signs of use…like war paint. “Patina” on a street car shows signed of abuse, like neglect…

    Agree with the concept that if your going to “preserve” the “patina”, satin clear coat it, not glossy.

  32. KevinR

    I don’t like the “patina” look. It just looks like an unfinished project to me. When you’ve got a real “barn find,” wash the damn car.

    I REALLY HATE the fabricated patina look that seems to be in vogue these days. Richard Rawlings should be drawn and quartered for making this trend popular.

    This car deserves better.

  33. Clay Byant

    The first impression is a lasting impression. This car looks like crap………………

  34. Steve McCarron


  35. Mike

    $15000 will buy a decent driver this thing would have to be blasted or acid dipped to kill all the “surface rust” that has a good hold on everything underneath this car. Looks like a Flipper took a $3500 car and clear coated it put a nice set of wheels on it and cleaned the engine some and wants $15000 for it. no optioned mediocre interior. A lot of work $$$ for somebody. Just my humble opinion.

  36. cidevco

    You can’t make Patina such as this guy tried to do. Sand paper and clear coat just ruined this car. The only Patina I accept is natural…

  37. Miguel

    This car is for sale close to me for around $7,000 USD. I realize it is a ’69 and not a ’68 but there is a huge difference in the price.

    • C Carl

      Good looking Mustang Miguel. Own a 69 and it’ll be your favorite.

  38. James

    That clearcoat looks like crap in full gloss. The patinaed look should only be retained on older vehicles and ONLY where the patina looks like an original paint car worn by the elements and not by man made abuse. This patina looks like crap and preserving the crap makes the whole car look like crap.

    I also do not think it is an original GT.

  39. Chris Kennedy

    To clear oner the patina is so overrated… Especially when the clear is glossy! How about a flat clear to duplicate the dull natural patina??? Yuck! Sorry, I just don’t like it.

  40. Pa Tina

    What can I say?

  41. C Carl

    Thin coat of white. Thin coat of red. Wash and wax once a week.

  42. David J David J

    I’m down with preserving patina on certain cars that will live in museums as ambassadors to their kind.

  43. C Carl

    Good patina

    • Bruce Fischer

      Now that cutlass look nice and natural.Bruce.

  44. Shane

    Bad patina and glossy clear coat….wow what a fail. At least use matte clear.

  45. gaspumpchas

    I think we beat this dead horse enough. My $.02 is–I don’t watch the tv car shows as they are made up and fake.American ass pickers are 2 shysters that have run the prices on Collectibles.Now not affordable to someone without a fortune to spend on a rusty barn hanger sign. Leno is a nice guy but a rich kid, and he plays with other rich kids Like Tim Allen. History repeats itself- Rich GoldChainers have the primo stuff.Guys like me who use junkyard parts and get in grease up to our neck have more doing it ourselves.I think guys on here share my opinion.Shade tree mechanic and proud it!


    I guess the guy doesn’t have to worry about door dings

  47. Bob

    To me it looks like this Mustang was made to look like this. I t almost looks like it was sanded through the color & somehow made to rust where they wanted it to. I’ve seen a lot of cars from out west , but never saw one PATINAED like this. Maybe I’m wrong.

  48. rbtempe

    Rather than take time and effort to clear coat it would have been time better spent cleaning up the undercarriage

  49. Moparman Member

    This reminds me of a passing fad from a few years ago…ordinary bluejeans were bleached and machined in spots to simulate “years” of wear. They always looked awful to me, because the fake wear patterns did not match the wear patterns made by body parts!! :-)

  50. Keith

    They could invest in 3 layers of clear coat but not $40 to replace a rusty battery tray?

  51. Tony

    I’m a big fan of the clear coat thing. I’m about to do a Nissan 300ZX. Currently patchy with original colour and undercoat here and there. Looks better than original already and the clear coat will enhance it for sure. Just wondering though what sort of finish after reading some of the comments. Will probably go for matte

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