Before we go any further let's answer the big question first.
"Do I have to Strip the Paint off my Car"?
The answer is maybe. If you have the original paint on your car and need to refinish because of chips fading or wear through of the top coat to the primer, you probably don't have to strip your paint. If your car is in this condition it is possible to wet sand the paint down to the original primer, repair the chips and use it as the basecoat for your refinish. However, if your paint is lifting from the primer, is cracked or checked or your body requires work or if you just want to change the color of your car, then you should consider stripping. Before you make this decision take your car to a couple of professionals for an opinion. A professional can decide whether the foundation of your paint is sufficient to build upon for a long lasting refinish. If you decide to strip the paint from your car you can accomplish it in three ways. Mechanical removal (sanding), Media Blasting, or Chemical Stripping.
Mechanical removal is a tedious, labor intensive process and is not recommended as a means for stripping an entire vehicle. In the case of a Corvette this is even more so because subtle body lines in the fiberglass can be sanded away or the body can be gouged if sanding is done improperly.
Media Blasting depends upon the skill of the user and the proper equipment and media used. This is a process best left to a professional with the proper equipment, knowledge and workplace to perform it properly. There are different types of media used in the blasting process. Sand, glass beads, walnut shells and baking soda are a few that come immediately to mind, On a metal vehicle improperly applied media blasting can cause rippling of the body due to the heat generated and a hardening of the metal due to the peening effect of the media. On a fiberglass vehicle improperly applied blasting can actually gouge out or cause holes in the fiberglass. On the other hand, properly applied correct media is a quick way to remove the paint from a vehicle and leave a surface which is ideally suited to refinishing. If you decide that sanding or chemical stripping are not an option, research different media blasters before you turn your pride and joy over to one. Ask to see vehicles which have been stripped and also ask which refinisher they do their stripping for. Contact the refinisher and ask whether they are satisfied with the results of the blaster and if they have had problems with vehicles which have been stripped. You should also make sure that the blaster is fully insured so that if damage occurs you can be compensated properly.
The third process is Chemical Stripping. This is accomplished by applying a stripper to the paint finish, waiting until the underlying paint is softened and removing the paint by scraping or wiping the softened paint and stripper off the surface. This process is dirty, slow and can be hazardous due to the chemicals involved but I believe that for an amateur it is probably the best way to go. Chemical stripping allows you to work on one area at a time and the amount of time required for the paint to soften allows a certain amount of control over the process. Metal vehicles can use a number of strippers available at most large auto chains but Corvettes and other fiberglass vehicle require special strippers so that the underlying body panels are not damaged. During the course of two paint strippings on my vehicle I
How To Paint Your Car