Classic Trim
I have a '91 Chevy S-10 Blazer. It's a 2WD model with the big V-6. I've lowered the truck substantially and added 18-inch Billet Specialties wheels and 35-series tires. I've shaved all of the emblems and door handles. Now it's time to paint the truck, and that's why I'm asking for your advice.

It seems with all the super-nice trucks competing for attention that it's hard to be special without being stupid. I don't want to spend the money for one of those thousandcolors- airbrushed, every-trick-in-thebook paintjobs. I like flames, but those too seem like they're all over the place. I don't want a solid color either.

What I'm thinking about is some kind of two-tone paintjob, but again I don't want the standard top-half/ bottom-half job that everybody else has. I'm sure you guys have seen every imaginable paintjob, so I'm hoping you can offer me some unique (or at least relatively unique) suggestions.
Jim Schnieder
via e-mail

Jim, we've got one word for you: Buick. Now, we realize that contemporary Buicks are the cars your grandparents drive to funerals of their friends who also drove Buicks, but at one time Buicks were very popular cars. Buicks were pretty cutting edge in the styling department, they had lots of power, and they had some really wild paintjobs. In the mid '50s, you could get Buicks with three-tone paint schemes.

If you study fashion designers and automotive designers, you'll notice that they often incorporate elements of the past into their new designs. The idea is to take something that worked well before and put a modern spin on it. The new-generation VW Beetles and Ford Mustangs are prime examples of this concept.

Professional designers are very talented people. They really understand form and flow. They know how to make objects as attractive as possible. That's why it's smart to copy them.

If you go all the way back to the '30s, you can find some super-wild paint schemes on those huge classic cars such as Packards, Duesenbergs, Cadillacs, and various coachbuilt European cars. The two-tone paintjobs on those cars were often very bold with highly contrasting colors and big, sweeping lines.

Back to the Buicks. The '56 Buick side trim is one of the most handsome designs ever to emerge from the General Motors Design Studio. it has an elegant flow that goes from above the front wheelwell to the rocker panel in front of the rear wheelwell. Then, it arches up over the wheel opening and goes straight to the taillights.

Actual Buick side trim has been very popular with customizers over the years. Besides the '56 trim, '54 and '55 trim has also been used. Another leadsled favorite is the '53 Buick "swoosh" that has been used on many iconic '50 Mercury customs. Any of these side-trim designs could be adapted to your Blazer.

Since you can't use actual Buick stainless trim, you'll need to duplicate the shape with paint. You could airbrush it to look like chrome, but we like the idea of using silver leaf. Silver leaf is like gold leaf. it comes in very thin, fragile sheets and is applied to glue that's known as sizing. The silver or gold leaf needs to be protected with a clear topcoat.