As of right this moment, the painting is half-way finished. We stripped everything down to bare metal; we're talking sanded like crazy, which actually took us a couple of weeks. We used 80-grit paper, wire brushes, scouring pads, and a bit of paint stripper for the tough spots. All in all, it turned out great. A final once over with a 110-grit paper got it ready for primer. I used a grey prime, since I'm using a darker color. The jury is still out on whether or not the grey will also work under white paint. Trial and error, my friends.
Two coats of purple later, here's the results... See for yourself: