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1952 Chrome stinks - (an update)

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  • 1952 Chrome stinks - (an update)

    I come to the forum today looking for sympathy. This old korean war era chrome is just so horribly bad. I tried to get the dash together this week, it has a shiny coat of body color paint on it. The dash chrome is so weak that it comes off on the rag when you polish it. Not even with an abrasive, you can wipe it off with windex practically!
    What to do? I can't rechrome everything. %$#@$!

    So I have dash trim that is have poor chrome with mostly bronze showing through. Look swell. [xx(]

    OK, enough whining. I am looking ahead to the hardtop trim, and I seek advice. It's pitted pot metal. Here's a picture of a finished hardtop, and mine that is still missing this trim at beltline and around the rear window.



    Leaving it off is not an option. The car is painted and I did not fill all the holes. Would look stupid anyway.

    a). I am considering paiting all the trim the color of the underlying metal. White on the top, gray on the body. Think it would look OK?

    b). Has anyone EVER seen a paint or powdercoat that approximates the look of chrome that they thought was decent?

    c). Tough it out, and rechrome pieces over the next 5 years at a cost of thousands.

    Dan
    52 hardtop
    www.studebakerhardtop.com

  • #2
    There is a painted "chrome" finish that I saw painted on the steel roof of Billy Gibbons '61 Caddy. It appears to be a multi-step process. Check with a paint supplier.

    Comment


    • #3
      I keep hoping someone will invent a chrome substitute that will at least look presentable. Back in 1980 when I redid Old Spot I used mostly NOS, but much of it wasn't that great. I remember my dad trying to polish the headlight surrounds on his 52 Land cruiser and the air around him swirling and gleaming like snow. He almost polished all of the chrome off before realizing what was happening.

      1952 Champion Starlight, 1962 Daytona. Searcy,Arkansas
      "In the heart of Arkansas."
      Searcy, Arkansas
      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
      1952 2R pickup

      Comment


      • #4
        I've seen a 52 hardtop with all the trim removed and filled, it's not a good look. Has anyone ever seen one with painted trim? Got a picture perhaps?


        Dan
        52 hardtop
        www.studebakerhardtop.com

        Comment


        • #5

          This is tricky to get right and forget sharp corners but sticky backed
          aluminum tape from most any hardware store can be applied, burnished,
          and polished to the lustre of chrome. The picture is of a sample I just made
          using a piece of pipe as a mandrel to wrap on the tape. Polished it by hand
          for a minute or so. Cheap and doable on straight pieces.
          ...Dick Curtis
          Santa Barbara


          The 1950 Champion Starlight
          Santa Barbara
          CA

          Comment


          • #6
            Starlightchamp seems to have a good idea. What I have used in the past is either the chrome moulding stick-on or black stick-on and run it along over the holes. Some can be bought in a regular auto supply while others I had custom made from my auto parts store. It wasn't really all that expensive and really a lot less than having chrome redone.

            1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
            1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

            "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

            Comment


            • #7
              I have seen stainless tape too. My '86 tbird has a "chrome" accents on the rubber mouldings on the sides of the car. They were some sort of aluminum with a clear plastic layer over them. The plastic weathers and turns yellow and moisture gets under it and dulls the aluminum so they look bad. Someone on a tbird forum I read found or had made (can't recall which) some stainless tape the correct width so the fix is to carefully strip the mouldings and apply the stainless tape. With the pot metal parts, prep could be lot easier and less risky of gouging than rubber. I think perhaps the aluminum tape would dull quickly since its sort of soft. Its certainly worth a try tho.

              Also, some rod show or another I saw a similar vintage chevy where they painted the pot metal trim with metal silver. Car was a contrasting color. It was different and didn't look too bad IMO.


              Jeff in ND

              '53 Champion Hardtop

              Jeff in ND

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by Michidan


                a). I am considering paiting all the trim the color of the underlying metal. White on the top, gray on the body. Think it would look OK?

                b). Has anyone EVER seen a paint or powdercoat that approximates the look of chrome that they thought was decent?

                c). Tough it out, and rechrome pieces over the next 5 years at a cost of thousands.
                Dan,
                I think you should hold out for option C. That '52 is going to be BEAUTIFUL []. Great color combination. Unique pro street look. When you start compromising your original idea, it's a slippery slope . IMHO, options A and B will not look NEARLY as nice as C. The chrome will make the car "pop"...exterior chrome at least. If you want to do a "custom" dash, it could be made to fit with what looks like a nifty "resto rod" theme.


                Dick Steinkamp
                Bellingham, WA

                Comment


                • #9
                  All my chrome has been done either by LiBrandi or Custom Coatings. Both are probably at the top end on price. I would venture the four beltline pieces would come in at less than $1200, maybe less than $1000. The nice thing about reputable plating shops: you send it, they quote it, you don't like it, they send it back.

                  I'm with Mr. Steinkamp on this one. You do it halfa--, you'll always regret it. Do it right and the regret will be over in a few monthly payments.

                  Brad Johnson
                  Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                  '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
                  "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                  Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                  Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                  '33 Rockne 10,
                  '51 Commander Starlight,
                  '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                  '56 Sky Hawk

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hmmm. Thanks for the opinions. I might try the tape on the dash parts, they are smooth enough to try. I do agree that the exterior should be replated, but I have to realistic as well.

                    Then there is the whole front grill! I think I'll throw it all in the dumpster and run a polished moon tank up front. Ha! That'll show those Studebaker platers what I think of their quality control.

                    Some parts simply MUST be chrome, and I've already had the headlight bezels, tail light bezels, and hood emblem redone. But is was not cheap.

                    Nobody opts for body color trim? I would not run gray over the roof, nor white along the body. Too cheezy. But the trim does divide at the color seam, and if kept seperate, it would still be "there" but kind of disappear into the colors of the car. Maybe it would be a clean look. Not that I want to shave the trim off the car, I do not.
                    By the way, there are 13 (!) pieces to the beltline alone.

                    Dan
                    52 hardtop
                    www.studebakerhardtop.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Due to my long term relationship with 52 models I have often pondered what could be done differently with the front end on a modified. I have seen some awful attempts to customize 52 grilles and so far I have not seen a paint combo on one that IMHO is better than stock. I have seen some with the grille teeth and/or the horizontal bars left out and that's not bad. I have wondered about painting the bottom grille piece body color also.
                      I have wanted to do a gasser version and the idea of a moon tank could work on a nice mount that would clean up the frame ends. The way yours looks in the current picture makes it seem like it would work. I'm just not sure what it will look like with the hood. What I had planned to do was copy the picture out of my parts book and play around with whiteout and colored pencils to see what might work. If you could get someone to photo-shop some ideas with a photograph it might be better.
                      I am really looking forward to seeing your car completed some day.

                      1952 Champion Starlight, 1962 Daytona. Searcy,Arkansas
                      "In the heart of Arkansas."
                      Searcy, Arkansas
                      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                      1952 2R pickup

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Michael Waltrip had powder-coated rims for the Daytona 500; on TV they looked like chrome. The commentators said they looked chromed even up close. I have no idea what brand of powder coat it was however. You could probably e-mail MWaltrip via NASCAR(or go on his web site) and get an answer.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I had some parts powdercoated. I chose the "near chrome" that the powdercoater had on hand for my cast iron head (because it looked good on his sample piece). But it came out like a shiny dark gray. Still more chip-resistant than paint (it survived when Overnight Freight dropped the engine on its end) but definitely nowhere near chrome.

                          If, like me, you haven't heard of a Moon Tank, I found these pix on google's image search. So, is this what you want on the grill?



                          or this:



                          [img=left]http://simps.us/studebaker/misc/images/Avacar-hcsdc.gif[/img=left]
                          Paul Simpson
                          "DilloCrafter"

                          1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
                          The Red-Headed Amazon
                          Deep in the heart of Texas

                          Paul Simpson
                          "DilloCrafter"

                          1955 1/2 Ton Pickup
                          The Red-Headed Amazon
                          Deep in the heart of Texas

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hehehehehe. Well, either would be quite cool.

                            The orignal thought was your picture 1. Gasser style. Leave all the front hardware off and mount a tank. i.e....



                            TaDa! No more grill problems! I like this look a lot, but there is more to imitating a gasser than a polished moon tank. So I vey much doubt I will go that route.

                            But Gads! The chrome problems I have. Leaving the grill aside, the beltline trim options are not many. I have been web searching. Powdercoating gets a bad rap. I guess it looks more like pewter than chrome.

                            There is this:
                            http://alsacorp.com/products/mirrach...irrachrome.htm

                            And this:
                            http://www.sprayonchrome.com/index2.html

                            To spend that much, you might as well do real chrome. I don't know yet, still seeking options.

                            Dan
                            52 hardtop
                            www.studebakerhardtop.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think I would like it with matte Black mouldings on the Gray and White Body!

                              I think it would look way better than Gray on Gray and White on White or vice versa! But I would want to see a modified pic or drawing of it first, if it were mine.

                              Of course plan C is the best for a stocker, but I think you could use a little "owner discretion" and "wallet protection" on a Street Rod! [^]

                              StudeRich
                              Studebakers Northwest
                              Ferndale, WA
                              StudeRich
                              Second Generation Stude Driver,
                              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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