Faux Wood Car Paint Project: 1931 Buick

Partial Faux Wood Trim Restoration

The owner wanted to minimize changes to the original interior.  He removed the 5 pieces that were most damaged. Of course my advice was to do them all at once.

After my work was done and installed, I was fortunate to have full access to the car for shooting pictures. This car is so gorgeous that I decided to create a larger pictorial blog post. 

I shot video and images of the graining process for this project and added it to The Perfect Wood Grain Car Graining Course

Bill, a retired architect, bought this gem in 1989 in all original condition. He painted and re-chromed, had a new top installed and made other needed repairs, but mostly left it alone. For example, the upholstery is all original. 

1931 Buick Hood Ornament, Grill, Headlights, Radiator

The owner of the media blasting shop I use was concerned that his process might damage the old, thin metal. 

A low pressure sand blaster was used instead. This got the job done and gave us the light texture we needed for maximum primer adhesion. 

I followed my standard process of creating a sample panel with 4 variations on the original grain for the customer to choose from. Faux wood car paint project sample panel and trim

Base Coat Alternative

For the base coat, I used a spray can product called Montana Gold. Formulated for murals, this product offers a much wider range of colors than paint or hardware shops, and they had a nearly perfect match for this project.

I normally use and recommend 2 stage auto paint for any car color and clear coats because interior parts like dash boards are exposed to direct sunlight and high temps.  

I made an exception for this project because the car spends 99% of its life in a garage out of the sun, and the spray can saved the customer quite a lot of money over a custom two stage color. I did use a 2 stage clear with UV protection.

Also, Montana makes a very high quality product formulated for durability, color fastness and adhesion to a variety of surfaces. 

1931 Buick Faux Wood Paint Project Escutcheon Trim Pieces

Bill was very happy with the new grain and, surprise surprise, now wants to do the rest of the interior pieces! 

Buick 1931 faux woodgrain window escutcheon installed.
The lower window escutcheon newly grained and installed over the original upholstery.

’31 Buick Details and Images

Apparently Buick (or Fisher?) applied an adhesive faux mahogany on the dash and ashtrays but painted the other escutcheons. 
1931 Buick Faux Wood Dash Escutcheon

Buick 1931 door ashtray wood grain & original upholstery

Buick 1931 Fisher Car Body Label Plaque

'31 Buick original upholstery rear seat with Elliot Ness violin case
A violin case belonging to an “E. Ness”? Not sure what that’s about… but that all original upholstery (including silk window shades) is pretty amazing. 

The owner is a retired architect. He built two garages on the spacious view property.

Authorized Buick Dealer antique garage sign

And about that view… Olympic Mountain range in the distance.

Buick owners custom garages

Side view with the “suicide door” door open.1931 Buick Suicide doors open side view

The Buick Straight-8 (Fireball 8) engine. A successful workhorse for Buick, in use until 1953.

Buick 31 Motor Compartment open

Thanks for reading.

For inquiries about this car graining project please go to my contact form to get in touch. 



Would you like some help with Faux Woodgrain?

Link to woodgrain paint course sign up page

Link to woodgrain car paint course sign up page



3 Responses

  1. Jim Crabtree
    | Reply

    Wow! Beautiful work Norman!

  2. goldenwestkid
    | Reply

    My best guess on the Violin case: It’s a 1930’s car and gangsters of that time were known to hide guns in a violin case….E. Ness is short for Elliot Ness the prohibition agent. Beautiful job on the Buick!

    • Norman
      | Reply

      Right on the nose, Derek! The client has a sense of humor and takes the car to lots of shows. I make sure he has my business cards with him :^)

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