Painting Esprit's Mesh
The mesh on the Esprit (as everything metal) suffers badly from rust. A few owners have replaced it will better quality mesh with great results. On looking into this option, I found all my mesh was riveted into the bodywork. One look told me it was a big job that could wait.
Then I decide maybe I could paint it will some metal paint in a spray can. On a quick trip to a DIY store, I found some hammerite spray (silver or black), which is the same stuff I used to protected my headlights. I chose silver with the proviso that if it look bad I could paint it black later. I also bought some masking tape and a wire brush (in a sponge!). With a little bit of experience in painting my front spoiler, I was happy I would at least not screw up big time.
You will need the following parts:
You will need the following tools:
The most important thing when spraying anything, is the masking of the area. This should take as long as is needed to cover all areas that aren't in need of new paint. It took two people about an hour to mask the rear and sides of my Esprit (although there was a lot of sitting back and admiring our work!). So don't rush this!
Rub the area to be painted down with a wire bush (mesh only) to remove as much rust as possible. Be careful not to touch the paintwork, as that's a whole other job.
Masking up the rear isn't difficult, just a little time consuming. Using masking tape, we taped up right to the mesh covering the paintwork. Stuffed some newspaper into and around the exhaust pipe and then secured it with more tape. You can see (just) the rust colour of the mesh before we started. Tape up the whole job and check that no paintwork is showing.
You can now start adding newspaper to protect the surrounding areas. This is taped to the paintwork. We started with the immediate area and carefully covered it. Then just to make sure we used larger pieces to cover the whole bumper. Leaving no areas uncovered for any over-spray.
You can now start spraying the Mesh! Read the directions on the can carefully and follow them. I did 4 coats with 15 minutes drying time inbetween. I used some stiff board to hold behind the mesh to stop over-spray onto the exhaust and inside of the bodywork.
Once the last coat was dry, we removed the paper and tape to see how it looked. Once I saw the improvement, I decided to do the side mesh as well. Another trip down the DIY store to get some more masking tape and a quick rummage through the bins for some more newspaper and we were ready to start again.
You can't really mask the inside of these without removing stuff. So I've painted inside a little, which isn't really a problem. The results again were in my opinion brilliant. Especially with the Esprit being black.
The before and after shots. Not exactly the same angle, but you get the idea. A nice new silver mesh without all the cutting, drilling and riveting. The front mesh has been left for now, as masking behind the mesh involves removing parts, which is a bigger job. I didn't want any overspray on my radiators. Also the mesh over the front is much larger, letting in much more air, so maybe wouldn't look the same as the side and rear. I may paint it by hand and see how it looks.
Hand Painting the Front Mesh
I decided to give the front mesh a coat of the same paint by hand. I bought exactly the same paint in a can instead of in a spray. Masked up the paintwork, and used a small brush to give the mesh two coats.
As you can see the mesh is different at the front. Stronger and more open for the radiators. I still think painting it looks good, although not the massive improvement it made to the rear. Only takes about an hour, as masking up is easy as you don't get any overspray.
I'm never overly keen on doing things like paintwork on my Esprit, as this is a bit of an art form. But after looking at my rusty mesh and then seeing how easy it would be to replace. I decided on the easy option. Not sure of the out come, at worst, I would be replacing the mesh. So it wasn't that bigger risk.
The results are much better than I'd imagined. It took around 3 hours, but then I'm not the quickest worker and take too many Diet Coke breaks! The Mesh looks new and brings the whole rear of the car out. I really didn't think it would come out this well. As for how long it will last, well only time will tell. But considering how easy it is, giving it another coat won't be too bad. This is one of the mods/maintenance jobs I think is well worth the effort. Minimal effort/cost, Maximum effect. If your mesh is looking old and rusty. Do what I've done. You won't be disappointed.
If you try this, feel free to e-mail me with your Verdict at firstname.lastname@example.org