Lacquer paint would not contain lead. In the U.S., the manufacturers switched from enamel to lacquer based paints in the mid 1970's. My '88 M3 and my '91 Ranger both have single-stage paint. Or did they have a clear coat that went over them? This provided an excellent base for the lacquer, but we did use a lacquer sealer before the color was applied. FWIW - I've noticed metallic colors were converted to 2-stage before "solid" colors. However I beleive the manufacturers stopped using lead in automotive paints much earlier. The term lacquer is used for a number of hard and potentially shiny finishes applied to materials such as wood or metal. There are some alternatives though. Lead was used in Enamel paints. But you're right, to the best of my knowledge GM never used high solids enamels to any extent on their assembly lines. Ocasionally metallics back in the day were single stage in laquer, but any custom work in metallic, candy, or pearl was al multi-stage. These fall into a number of very different groups. Early 80s was the beginning of urethane." Acrylic lacquer was the primary paint formulation used by General Motors for the majority of the production years in which classic Corvettes were manufactured, serving until the early-'80s. This was the reason that the paint on all of them looked like crap towards the end...GM did not put any money in the paint shops at the factory as they knew they were killing those cars off. Lacquer setups.. spray cans.. etc.. they will last great in covered areas without salt etc.. like underbody or interior. ... My caddy has lacquer paint (and its cracked on the top of the car/ front clip) And never believe the myth about using lacquer primers under acrylic enamel or urethane paint. So for the most part were lacquer a single stage paint? Lacquer was applied at the St. Louis plant, and enamel was applied at the new Bowling Green plant. But t the time lacquer was used because it wsa the best technology available. Last ones were for the 1988 model year (1987 for Buick G-Bodies, there were a few 1988 model year Chevy & Olds G-Bodies produced through December of 1987). In 1981, Corvettes were produced with two different types of paint. As previously posted, different manufacturers started using two stage paint at different times but I think many manufacturers started switching in the mid-late 80's. There is a reason GM stopped using them.. wookie: "the lacquer paint jobs back then lasted about 10 years. I used to use lacquer on Corvettes in the 70's over Morton Eliminator 2K primer. Too many things can go wrong with paint, so give yourself an advantage by using … Many manufacturers are in the process of changing over to water based paint. Morton paint Co.'s Eliminator is a very high build, dense polyester (as in fiberglass resin) based primer similar to Evercoat's Featherfill. 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