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Chrome powder coating vs real chrome


Rogillio
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i like having my wheels powder coated, and perhaps some engine brackets, but nothing shows correctness and class like high quality triple chrome plating, plating, like bodywork and paint, there is no shortcuts, there is no replacement. either go first class, or don't go at all. this reminds me of having my '53 custom catalina leather seat interior restored, i could have saved a lot of money having cheaper non-leather materials used, but it wouldn't have been correct, and it wouldn't have been leather. "don't give me no plastic saddle, let me feel that leather when i ride"

 

charles l. coker

1953 pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator

poci

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Family time can be enjoyed without a big expensive vacation.  

I have over a weeks free stay at a Resort in Florida that I may never use and a prepaid 5 day pass to Disney.  I have no real desire to use.   Of course being self employed makes it hard anyways,  especially with an online business that is always open. I guess I need to get a cushy government job with a ton of vacation time so I can be bored enough to need to get away.  All I would think of on vacation is all the stuff I need to get done when I get home.  We took a two week vacation to Hawaii almost ten years ago,  by the end of the vacation I was ready to help the homeowner we rented the cottage from with work he needed done.  I'm just not one for lounging around. 

I'm not a thrill seeking type of person either so that probably makes a difference. 

My senior trip in High School was a 1 week Caribbean cruise as well so I've had the Cruise experience.  I've been to Disney probably  7 or 8 different years when I was a bit younger and I'm not that old. We take the kids to Six flags for a Couple hours at a time.  It's nice to come home at night and not be in strange places.

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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I have seen numerous illustrations of chrome that appear as genuine chrome at a glance. it is the technical application of the pattern of light and shadow that makes it worth considering. this example is the only one I presenty have on my phone. but it demonstrates the effect.

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Edited by mrspeedyt (see edit history)
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Yes, be careful which substitute you use to replace the real thing, powder coat has good properties but can't come close to a good chrome job. If you're using it for a temporary substitute keep in mind it could cost you hundreds to have it stripped before decrotive plating.  

Can the powder coating be burned off?

Part of the prep for powder coating of some pieces requires a burning process.

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  • 3 years later...
On 6/2/2015 at 12:37 PM, JACK M said:

Cheesy, maybe. The expensive alternative? Cant justify it. 

One has to weigh the balance between the look they want and the wallet they don't have.

I took this project on after someone had already done the tail lights and fuel fill. Not what I would have gone with but looks OK to me for what it is.

The black (flat black by the way) bumpers look right at home on this car. I don't know how it will look when the rest of the trim goes on but the budget only allows so much.

This very durable paint is in the thirty dollar a gallon range. John Deere chassis paint.

I spent a bunch on the 392 and the four speed and had to get real about the expense of chrome. Fortunately I have a good grill and trim.

 

For those of you that see this as perverted please do not respond. I am having fun and that is all that matters to me.

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Sir, your car looks fine to me. I would put your car in the custom hot rod class. Hot rods/custom cars are what the owner wants. On the other had if you were restoring the car to original I would have to say the obvious. We both know the car looks great. I believe your main concern is what is under the hood. IMHO, I think you are doing just fine. Keep up the good work. BTW, IM keeping my 63 Riviera as close to original as possible, BUT I’m using new replacement parts under the hood. I upgraded my interior lights to LED so I can SEE. Keep having fun. Red Riviera Bob

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On 6/4/2015 at 10:12 PM, Rogillio said:

Like all things in life, we balance what we want with what we can afford.

Chome the bumpers and radiator shrouds on 2 1926 Dodge Brothers Coupes or take the family on a Disney Cruise the Christmas? Hmmmm.....hello Mickey!

Sir, you are a smart man.

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Look up Spectra Chrome.   A local body shop bought one of these systems after going to SEMA.  I believe it just sits now because their wasn't much demand in our area.  You spray a base coat from a paint gun, rinse the part with some silver stuff, and spray auto clearcoat over it.  It was really hard to tell the difference between it and chrome.  

 

Either way chrome plating on a car that originally had nickel looks terrible.   A quick walk through the GM heritage center and you can see all kinds of bad restoration choices like chrome where nickel should be.  

 

 

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I remember looking at some chrome powder oat about 10 to 15 years ago while doing a Indian motorcycle resto,a friend came by about a month ago with a roll bar for a dune buggy,big difference,he said the powder coating suppliers are working night and day trying to perfect it,give it a couple years and they should have it perfected,   Dave

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Is it possible that we're all living in the past?   Country Travler's Lincoln (Reply #5) looked pretty good from here.  

There is a local guy doing it and I'd sure rather have that than a painted bumper or grill.

1934 Ford Grills are now over $2500 to chrome plate.  Glad I don't need that right now.

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I suppose it depends on what you can afford, and your objective for the car.  Powder technology has come a long way in the past ten years.  Chrome and paint have become so expensive, that I think powder trim and plastic wrap bodies may increase in popularity as alternatives for driver antiques and local show cars.  Not for the AACA purist or concours fairway, but economical ways to spruce up and preserve a car on a budget.  I started out with rust-o-leum on a Model A as a teenager.  Forty years later, earned the AACA senior award for the same vehicle.  If powder fits your budget, and will make the car look better to you, then I say give it a try.  Let the rest of us know how it works out.

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There was a fellow in California that has the wire wheels on a Auburn speedster 'washed'  with some sort of chrome.  It was cheap., not electroplated.

The car actually went to Pebble Beach that way.  I posted on this forum about it, but can not find it now. 

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My two cents on this idea of real chrome/nickel vs painted or powder coated chrome. My opinion if you going to restore a car at all, do it right as it came from the factory. If the cost of chroming or nickel is too much for you, and I understand that some people are restoring cars on fixed incomes or on shoe strings,  then just save up for that piece you need. You don't have to have it all done at once and can save up to get that piece done right.  I hate to look at an old car and then see modern wiring, disk brakes when there were none originally and changed electrical form 6 volt to 12.  When I look at an antique car I want to see originality, as it was the way it left the factory, which the AACA judges look for.  Chroming is expensive, due to the labor intensiveness and EPA regulations etc. But you can shop around and get estimates which vary greatly. Recently I sent detailed photographs out to get the radiator shell of my car re-nickled.  These estimates varied by as much as $2,000 from the lowest to highest.  There is a local company not to far from me and he was the highest, the lowest was a well known national company we all see advertised in the car magazines.  Since we always say we are caretakers of these cars, passing them on to future generations, then we owe it to them to have it done the way it would have been back then. So people can see the difference in the techniques and material used then and now a piece of history.

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Discussions like this always seem like rationalizing the cheap route, even though everyone knows it's wrong.

 

"It's almost as good."

"They're making a lot of progress making it look better."

"I can always remove it later if I don't like it."

"It's more durable than real chrome anyway."

 

Those are rationalizations intended to make it easier to make the wrong decision. If it was just as good as chrome, people would just do it instead of asking for opinions about why it might turn out OK. It doesn't look like chrome. Yes, it's pretty good for the money, but it's not the same and it shows. Nobody will be fooled, least of all the people whose opinions you care about--fellow car enthusiasts.

 

Look at it this way: everyone has worked on their old cars and found really hacky work that some know-nothing has done in the past. Not only was it badly done, but it took a lot of effort just to get back to 0 so it could be fixed properly. Anyone would think that hack mechanic was an idiot. There are probably choice words uttered in his honor before the real work begins.

 

THAT is what chrome powdercoating is doing, but instead of bad wiring or a cobbled-up carburetor, it's cosmetic. Someone in the future will curse the guy who did it for being a cheapskate and a fool. As I think I said before (this thread is now more than two years old), I'd rather look at deteriorated chrome than fake chrome that's smooth. One says, "I just haven't gotten to it yet," while the other says, "I'm too cheap to do it right and I don't care."

 

Once choice is right, one is wrong. You know it, we know it. How you choose to proceed is an individual choice.

 

NOTE: I keep saying "you" in this post, but I mean the general "you" not anyone in particular, including the OP. No offense is implied or intended. 

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I like to think the hobby of restoring antique cars can be for everyone, not just for the rich.  Why cast out an entire group of people based on their financial status in life?  What's the point in that?   I would much rather see someone restore a car on a budget as a fun hobby then to see them be discourage from doing anything simply because they can't afford to pay for the highest quality restoration.

 

I also think that different people have different motivations for "restoring" an old car.   They also may very likely use the term "restore" to mean quite different things.

 

For example, someone who is interested in taking a car to an antique car show may see the term "restore" to mean "Restored to perfect factory condition".

 

However, for someone else the term "restore" may simply mean to bring a car back into usable service.   If I get the thing running and put it back on the road street legal, then I've "restored" it from its previous condition which may have been simply sitting in a field rusting into the ground.

 

So even the term, "Restoration" can mean quite different things to different people.

 

I'm definitely interested solely in the latter.  I have no interest at all in trying to compete with rich people to obtain a trophy for the most convincing factory restoration.   I may as well give that up right now.  Why compete with rich people when I'm at such a huge disadvantage financially?  That makes no sense.

 

So for me painting parts that were previously chromed is the only rational option.   The only question for me is what color of paint would be best used for a specific part?  Should I paint previously chromed parts silver as a "poor man's chrome job"?  Or should I choose another color so there's not even any suggestion that I was trying to emulate chrome?

 

I like the bumper in Jack M's post #9.  I think it looks great!

 

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In fact when I see something like this I say to myself, "Now there a SMART MAN!".   He chose to wisely save a lot of money instead of foolishly throwing money away on something that didn't need to be chromed.  And it looks just fine.   Sure there will be those who scream and complain that it's not factory original.  So what?  Who cares?  If it bothers them that much let them pay to have it chromed. ?

 

if they thought they were going to have to pay for the chrome job they'd suddenly be saying, "You know, on second thought, it doesn't look all that bad after all". ?

 

 

 

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I think Jack's car looks awesome. But that car isn't the AACA. It's HAMB. And since the original poster that started this thread was asking about a 1926 Dodge coupe that he's restoring to stock specs, telling him to powdercoat everything satin black isn't relevant. The black looks cool, but silver powder instead of chrome on an otherwise stock/restored old car looks weird. 

 

Rationalize it any way you want, turn it into a class warfare thing by saying chrome is too expensive, but when the question is "Will chrome powdercoating look as good as real chrome for less money?" the answer is no.

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Not to get too far into the weeds, but should a 26 Dodge Brothers have chrome or nickel plating.  Some dim memory tells me that the 1927 Pontiac was the first car to use chrome plating - don’t quote me on that!  Just wondering.

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To me painted or powdercoated trim just screams "cheap". I recently saw a nice mid 30's car with silver painted trim and asked myself Why! If one is going to go to the trouble to "restore" a car then why not do it correctly. We all know that "real"restoration is a very long and expensive process but we do it for the love of the cars and the history. If one is not really prepared to spend the money or the time there are alternatives or other hobbies.Remember that a fixed up car or a hot rod is not really restored  and in many cases liberties are taken to lower the cost and speed up the job or to personalize the vehicle to fit one's taste. If a 1926 car uses nickel, the the parts should be nickel, if chrome , then chrome. Nothing more frustrating for me is to see a nicely done car with old chrome or custom interior, bad glass or painted trim and the owner bragging about the great "restoration" job and his over the top value estimation when it would cost half of what he thinks it's worth to make it presentable! Just my opinion! I too, work on a budget, that's why I've been building my '36 Dodge for almost 20 years, but I want it to be as correct as I can get it. I know that it will never be worth what I have already invested, but I can be satisfied that I tried to keep it historically accurate for ever that's might be worth for future generations.

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Here's my story and I am sticking to it.

I certainly appreciate correctly restored cars and I have owned a few.

But I need to see progress as my patience is limited. Also is my budget. I cant have a project tying up space waiting for me to get rich.

Therefore I lean toward taking on other botched projects which will never be correct anyway.

I RARELY sell any of these projects as they are personal and personal just doesn't sell.

My lucky kids and grand kids can deal with them as they please when I am gone.

I keep my fleet in running condition. I have more running cars than non running. (most of my peers cant say that).

 

I guess if my stuff screams cheap I can live with that. The only place I get dissed about my stuff is on the AACA site. Everybody else like them. And a bunch of guys on here like them too.

Its a 'to each his own' hobby and we CAN all get along.

 

By the way, I don't do The Hamb.

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On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 10:06 AM, Matt Harwood said:

Those are rationalizations intended to make it easier to make the wrong decision. If it was just as good as chrome, people would just do it instead of asking for opinions about why it might turn out OK. It doesn't look like chrome. Yes, it's pretty good for the money, but it's not the same and it shows. Nobody will be fooled, least of all the people whose opinions you care about--fellow car enthusiasts.

 

There is a lot of chatter and activity about getting younger people involved with our hobby.  Many young enthusiasts are starting families, paying off education debt, and financing homes, so have a lot of competition for their discretionary dollars.  The 'cheap' way is the only way for some.  While I realize that factory correct and picture perfect are guiding lights of the AACA, I think that we have to avoid telling enthusiasts that they are "wrong" when they don't do something a certain way.   I have experienced pushback when marketing the AACA locally; as our club has the reputation of being disdainful.    Sorry, but "Just save up until you can afford real chrome" doesn't feel very empathetic.

 

 I'd rather see a '26 Dodge with a powdered radiator shell at an AACA show, than to see a vacant piece of asphalt because the owner didn't feel his car was good enough to bring to the show. 

 

"It's almost as good."

"They're making a lot of progress making it look better."

"I can always remove it later if I don't like it."

"It's more durable than real chrome anyway."

 

These also apply as rationalizations on how one can still be involved in our hobby, albeit not to senior standards, given real world limitations.  Heck, I have on occasion used radial vs. bias-ply, halogen vs. incandescent, rubber valve stems vs. metal, acrylic vs. lacquer paint, vinyl vs. leather, stainless vs. chrome, chrome vs. nickel, aluminum vs. pot metal ...the list goes on and on.... using one or more of the rationale(s) above.   Does that make me "wrong"?   Perhaps I should check out this HAMB thing.

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Ugh. This again? WTF guys? Is there suddenly a shortage of reading comprehension or what? Are you too busy grinding axes to read carefully?

 

The question was "Does chrome powdercoating look like chrome?" The answer is no, it does not. That's it. That's all I said.

 

Jack showed us his hot rod with black powdercoated bumpers (a  car I pointed out that I liked) and then apparently took offense to the fact that I said it wasn't the same thing as someone wanting cheap alternatives to chrome on a restored car and that such a solution wasn't appropriate for the AACA and wasn't what the OP was asking about. Correct is still correct. I have this piece of crap 1935 Lincoln with a bum motor--should I throw a big block Chevy in it because a new Lincoln V12 is going to cost $30,000, then get all pissy when they won't let me show it at AACA events? After all, it's all I can afford. Better to have some bastardized car filling a space than not, right?

 

Yeah, that's what I thought.

 

Now others are saying that I'm being elitist because I pointed out that silver powdercoating (or silver spray paint) doesn't look like chrome. It doesn't. I didn't decide that. I don't care how poor you are, crappy results are crappy results. It has nothing to do with your social status or how good a person you are, but if you think spray painting instead of chrome will go unnoticed, you're mistaken. It will look like crap. Nobody will say so because most people are polite, but don't mistake that for approval or that you've pulled one over on us or that one is just as good as the other.

 

I don't care how much money you do or don't have. I don't care how old you are. I don't care about your car even a little bit. Go ahead and paint it with bright orange latex house paint. I don't farking care. Do whatever you want, do whatever you can afford, it matters not a bit to me. Spend as little or as much as you like. Do it any way you want. I don't care and I bet nobody else does, either. It's just a stupid car. It doesn't matter even a little bit in the grand scheme of things.

 

But don't come in here asking "If I paint my car with latex house paint, will it look as good as a professional two-stage urethane paint job?" It won't. Tough luck. If you can't afford the professional, do whatever works for you. Have fun. That's what really matters.

 

Don't start whining and crying because I pointed out that no, the latex house paint won't look as good as doing it properly and don't accuse me of being elitist or a snob just because I pointed out that rationalizing the decision as an economic necessity still doesn't make it the right decision. Crappy work will always look like crappy work. If you're OK with crappy work, I'm certainly not going to argue with you. It's not my car. Do whatever you want. I see crappy cars everywhere I go. It's a bulk of the hobby. It's fine with me.

 

One last time for the simpletons: chrome powdercoat will not look like chrome. If it's all you can afford and you're OK with the look, go for it. If not, don't. I. Don't. Care.


Know what? Screw you guys. I'm done. Do what you want. Stop sending me all these PMs asking for free advice and information. I'm busy. Figure it out yourselves.

 

/End transmission

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Ugh. This again? WTF guys? Is there suddenly a shortage of reading comprehension or what? Are you too busy grinding axes to read carefully?

 

The question was "Does chrome powdercoating look like chrome?" The answer is no, it does not. That's it. That's all I said.

 

Jack showed us his hot rod with black powdercoated bumpers (a  car I pointed out that I liked) and then apparently took offense to the fact that I said it wasn't the same thing as someone wanting cheap alternatives to chrome on a restored car and that such a solution wasn't appropriate for the AACA and wasn't what the OP was asking about. Correct is still correct. I have this piece of crap 1935 Lincoln with a bum motor--should I throw a big block Chevy in it because a new Lincoln V12 is going to cost $30,000, then get all pissy when they won't let me show it at AACA events? After all, it's all I can afford. Better to have some bastardized car filling a space than not, right?

 

Yeah, that's what I thought.

 

Now others are saying that I'm being elitist because I pointed out that silver powdercoating (or silver spray paint) doesn't look like chrome. It doesn't. I didn't decide that. I don't care how poor you are, crappy results are crappy results. It has nothing to do with your social status or how good a person you are, but if you think spray painting instead of chrome will go unnoticed, you're mistaken. It will look like crap. Nobody will say so because most people are polite, but don't mistake that for approval or that you've pulled one over on us or that one is just as good as the other.

 

I don't care how much money you do or don't have. I don't care how old you are. I don't care about your car even a little bit. Go ahead and paint it with bright orange latex house paint. I don't farking care. Do whatever you want, do whatever you can afford, it matters not a bit to me. Spend as little or as much as you like. Do it any way you want. I don't care and I bet nobody else does, either. It's just a stupid car. It doesn't matter even a little bit in the grand scheme of things.

 

But don't come in here asking "If I paint my car with latex house paint, will it look as good as a professional two-stage urethane paint job?" It won't. Tough luck. If you can't afford the professional, do whatever works for you. Have fun. That's what really matters.

 

Don't start whining and crying because I pointed out that no, the latex house paint won't look as good as doing it properly and don't accuse me of being elitist or a snob just because I pointed out that rationalizing the decision as an economic necessity still doesn't make it the right decision. Crappy work will always look like crappy work. If you're OK with crappy work, I'm certainly not going to argue with you. It's not my car. Do whatever you want. I see crappy cars everywhere I go. It's a bulk of the hobby. It's fine with me.

 

One last time for the simpletons: chrome powdercoat will not look like chrome. If it's all you can afford and you're OK with the look, go for it. If not, don't. I. Don't. Care.


Know what? Screw you guys. I'm done. Do what you want. Stop sending me all these PMs asking for free advice and information. I'm busy. Figure it out yourselves.

 

/End transmission

 

 

 

Matt! Matt! Matt!   I hate when you beat around the bush or sugar coat it. Come on, tell us how you REALLY feel........;).........Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

Sounds silly, but the old car world is a small universe. 

Matt, I didn't take offence.

I just think that this hobby has so many different facets. Its not all about just pure cars is all.

I appreciate that you like my Chrysler, and I appreciate that it isn't you.

I think there is room for all of us in this "small universe" and most of us cant be cured.

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Edited by JACK M (see edit history)
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Good points taken by all. I finally broke down and had my radiator shell re nickeled $685. Of course this was after finding a useable shell.

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My "Oakie Chrome" shell that was on the car when I bought it was very deeply pitted. 1125911976_25BuickFRONT.jpg.e33f5e3ede8b7d5bfec73345d82a834c.jpg

I am working on getting things better but still as a driver. I did buy a set of rusty bumpers (originally nickeled) for my car that the steel finished surface was so wavy it would have taken an huge amount of work to make them presentable. They must have looked pretty shabby when new. To re-plate them would have been over $1,500. So my powder coated, driver quality bumpers (which are an accessory on 1925 Buicks). Unfortunately they will no longer match the nickeled shell. Oh well...DSCF5627.thumb.JPG.5aafb8d48df593735a64948ce00a66fa.JPG

 I remember detailing New Oldsmobiles in the 1970s and was amazed how shabby the chrome finished bumpers looked. Rough surfaces and cloudy .

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As many people know I am restoring a c25 McLaughlin and recently paid $3,000 for nickel plating.  I could have painted many of the parts black and it would have looked fine, such as the gear shift lever and steering parts.  The nickel however is the correct finish for this auto and it looks beautiful.  It is a fairly plain looking car and the brightwork will give it curb appeal.  Just a one time purchase.

 

Larry, in this era the rad shells were painted so dodged that bullet and no bumpers.

 

Matt, I am with you.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

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