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Re-silvering headlamp reflectors


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Compliments of the season to all forum users. I need to re-polish tarnished headlamp reflectors, on my 1935 Series 40. They have the very "yellowed" patina, so I presume the original was nickel-plated. Is that correct ? The original silver finish is so thin as to be almost non-existent, so I presume it has been shined by using harsh, cutting type polishing. I appreciate any advice.

Kevin

Christchurch, NZ

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Hello Kevin,

Originally they would have been silver plated. Some restorers have them nickel plated mainly because not many platers offer silver plating.

I had a pair re-silvered for my 34 by a company which do work for the Perth Royal Mint.

I was then fortunate enough to get a complete N.O.S. set of headlights for the 34 so didn't use the re-silvered lenses and still have them.

If you are interested in a re-silvered pair of lenses send me a PM and I'll send some photos.

How far have you got with your restoration, any photos yet?

All the best for the New Year.

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Has anyone tried chrome? I think the progression on exterior bright trim silver was used on some foreign cars, don't know if any US cars had silver grills, but then there was nickle followed by chrome.

Since chrome is readilly available today, it should work.

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Chrome absorbs light, and is a very poor choice for reflectors. This is counterintuitive, but true.

I believe the Uvira process requires that you have your reflectors nickel plated first, then they put a few microns of aluminum coating on them, and then they're great.

Original silver plating is nice, but very fragile.

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AGREE!!---- Chrome absorbs a substantial portion of the light, and reflects much less.

UVIRA --- we have had several of our cars' reflectors silvered by Uvira, and are delighted with the result -- not terribly expensive, and quick turnaround!

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I had my reflectors done by Uvira about 30 years ago and they are still perfect today. At that time they did the whole job of polishing the reflector, nickle plating, vacuum depositing aluminum, and followed by some protective clear vacuum deposited coating. The coating is what preserves the reflectivity.

With Halogen bulbs these are as bright as modern headlights.

Steve D

1838 40-41

Steve's Automobiles :: 1938 Buick Special 40-41

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Thanks Gents , for all the positive results.

Clearly, re-silvering is the way to go. Thanks for the offer Stuart, I'll be in touch, post haste. Progress is pretty slow, I've spent the winter, in between dodging earthquake rubble, trying to rebuild the wooden frame, without patterns and only crude measurements taken from the metal body itself. All a bit challenging for someone of limited skills. The engine is nearly back together, held up for a long while , sourcing a replacement harmonic enginge balancer.

Regards

Kevin

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...I've spent the winter, in between dodging earthquake rubble, trying to rebuild the wooden frame, without patterns and only crude measurements taken from the metal body itself.....
My cousin and her husband in Chc own a 1935 Buick. After 20 plus years of marriage she it yet to be allowed to drive it.
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