View Full Version : What's a 1952 Commander dash made from?

01-20-2014, 08:44 PM
Since I have never owned a 52 Commander before, I have not studied the things that are different from a Champion up close. The overlay around the gauges always looked like brushed stainless or chrome to me, but I never checked. Anyway, as I was looking at the pictures of the car I bought I noticed cracks and what appears to be rust on the panel. The cracked surface may be clear coat that's peeling, but is that rust coming through? If you blow up the first photo you will see what I mean. Some of you 52 Commander owners chime in. Frank, Jim, anybody who knows.

http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s186/52-fan/_57d_zps0c5fa2d0.jpg (http://s152.photobucket.com/user/52-fan/media/_57d_zps0c5fa2d0.jpg.html)

http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s186/52-fan/Paintingthetrunkdash5-4_zps6d34a0ed.jpg (http://s152.photobucket.com/user/52-fan/media/Paintingthetrunkdash5-4_zps6d34a0ed.jpg.html)

01-20-2014, 08:51 PM
I don't know but, the rust makes one think NOT Stainless Steel and probably brushed, chromed Steel, unless the rust is running down from the bare steel on the back of the dash.

01-20-2014, 09:15 PM
Well if the shop body manual can be believed PN 296485P Face, Instrument Panel is "P", Painted or Primed. In this case painted silver perhaps, no, not so much . Although it appears to be a low grade of stainless steel, with a clear coat which is crazed, hence the corrosion. Mine has similar surface corrosion.

01-21-2014, 01:12 PM
I will agree it probably is a low grade of stainless steel. We all know about "Korean chrome" and how poor in quality it was. Stainless steel was also of a poor grade as well. Poor grade stainless steel also showed up on the engine-turned dash pieces on '42 models as well.


01-21-2014, 06:49 PM
Thanks for the replies. I know it is a bit silly to even ask about this stuff when the car isn't even here yet, but I find myself looking at the pictures and planning my course of action. I haven't looked forward to anything this much in a long time.
I hope its a clear coat over stainless steel. After enlarging the picture it appears that the brown is old finish. If I can strip the old finish and polish the metal without getting a chrome shop involved it will be great. Of course, since the car is modified anyway I can use a different finish. I am already thinking of painting the dash body color like the 52 Starliners and convertibles.

01-21-2014, 07:06 PM
Is the dash overlay magnetic?

01-21-2014, 08:20 PM
Yes it is, I just checked the one in my garage.

01-21-2014, 08:23 PM
Yes it is magnetic, as is all the other stainless on the car. But then all stainless is magnetic, but is just a matter of degree. The 1952 Studebaker stainless is probably a series 400 which has a relative low percentage of nickel making more magnetic than say a 300 series. Due to the brushed finish on the dash face and the failure of the clear coat, which allowed moisture to be captivated between the paint and the stainless, resulting in what is defined as a corrosion cell. The door handles which are also magnetic are polished and as a result far more resistant to corrosion.

41 Frank
01-21-2014, 10:39 PM
I agree with the others Howard that it is a low grade of stainless, not chromed. Mine looks good enough to leave alone but I did have to disassemble all the gauge clusters and have the bezels rechromed as well as the strips of chrome that run at bottom of dash.