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1958 rear bumper filler panel stripes

Pete Phillips

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It's been about 12 years since I restored a '58 Buick, and one thing that's so important to the correct appearance of the car is to get the black stripes repainted in the rear bumper panels. I remember going to a drafting supply store and buying the correct width of adhesive tape, applying it to the rear bumper panels on the part that isn't painted, and then painting the whole thing--the part that is left exposed--black. Remove the tape, and the correct black stripes appear.

I'm working on a 1958 model 49-D, the 4-dr. hardtop Special station wagon. Now the drafting supply store is gone, so does anyone have a good method for masking off these narrow lines? I seem to recall that the wide stripes are clear, and the narrow ones are black?

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338


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Try a good body shop supply store; they should have varying widths of blue plastic tape. It is kind of like pin stripe tape (which is another option) but meant to provide a nice seal for precision masking for painting. It's made by 3M, here is an example of the half inch width, but they make a variety of widths.

Buy 3M Tape Plastic Blue 1/2In X 36Yds #471 MMM6408 at Advance Auto Parts

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Detail like that always amaze me. I figure in any day and age there had to be a simple way to do this considering the number of parts that were needed for the original assembly line. In this case I would suspect the quickest thing originally would have been a paint stick, if they even existed then. Can you trim down a quality paint brush for this, or a foam brush?

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Pete, when looking at Dei's picture of his spare blown up, it almost looks like the black paint has a texture / wrinkle finish to it. If it were me, I would mask the whole thing, rub it down with a rag to basically imprint the tape with the proud sections / stripes, then using a very sharp and new x-acto / hobby knife, cut the tape away from the sections that needed paint. Then the tape is masking the part you want, and peel the tape from those areas that are going to be painted. Just run the knife along the inside ridge of the proud sections as a guide. Should work real well. Also, don't forget to prime it with a self-etching primer first before you paint it. Really helps the adhesion between the metal and the paint.

Just some thoughts,

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(Pete, when looking at Dei's picture of his spare blown up, it almost looks like the black paint has a texture / wrinkle finish to it.)

Pete & 1957buickjim,

Just to clarify, this piece is a well used one and what is perceived as a texture finish is just well worn off paint. I tried cleaning it up a bit before shooting the picture and while it was faded some before I did that it ended up removing some additional paint. If you look at the end formed section where it has been under the license plate trim, the paint is solid and while not a high gloss still just black paint.

It's my humble opinion (after owning four 58 Buicks since 1971) that these panels are some grade of stainless, with the smaller strips being a high polish and where the black is was left or sanded in a ruff state to allow this paint to bond. Any rust on them, with a bit of effort, comes off and the panel is not rusted or pitted. You can see the points where the chromed parts attached and over time indeed those rusted and left staining (rust) on the panels.

The black paint on all my cars and the spare panels are original and while not a high gloss, not sure with being subjected to Canadian winters (and age) they ever were from the factory. They are definately not flat black but somewhere in between. Just a guess but maybe to get it to bond to the panel without primer the paint used was not the usual enamel used for steel panels and leaves a less gloss finish? I have seen several 58's where they were painted/restored with a high gloss and like the look too. Your car, your call I guess.

I've attached a couple more pictures to help with my explanations.

Good luck with your car. Would love to have a 58 Buick wagon some day (sigh). Doug



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