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1926 nickel or chrome?


Guest rbjt

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G'day,

Restoration of my dad's 1926 Pontiac in Australia is coming along well. I am hoping someone can confirm if the radiator shell, headlight surrounds and exterior handles etc would have originally been nickel or chrome plated?

I am trying to be historically accurate but if they were nickel, what are thoughts on redoing them the same or changing to chrome? I am wondering about appearance, durability and ease of cleaning.

Thanks and regards,

Ryan

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Guest Bill Miller

Ryan,

Your 1926 car would have had nickel-plated brightwork so to be accurate you need nickel plating. You should know that nickel plating is simply one step short of chrome plating. First the plater electrically applies a thick coat of copper, then a layer of nickel, and then a very, very thin semi-transparent layer of chromium. If the finish is nickel, the plater stops the process short. While not as needy as brass, nickel does require a little maintenance so be prepared to polish it periodically. I use MAAS metal polish on both nickel and chrome and it seems to clean everything up nicely with a minimum of effort. Nickel is a bit softer than chrome but it's still pretty tough, but don't use abrasives on it. Personally I prefer the warm tone of nickel to chrome, but with chrome you don't have to clean it nearly as often. If you are going to have a car judged (something I don't care anything about) I understand that most clubs do not make a deduction in points for chrome plating on a nickel-era car.

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