avantey

1930's running board trim finishes

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I was cleaning my 1931 Hupp L sedan today as I ready it for a tour next week.  I decided to clean up the running boards and I am not sure what the finish is on the trim pieces.  It is a dull gray over a steel piece on three sides.  The piece by the rear fender cleaned up to a shiny finish different from the rest but also on steel.  Could the flat gray be a zinc plate or maybe a cadmium plate for weather resistance?  It is not a mottled finish like galvanizing gives but a uniform flat gray look.  I believe it to be a plating  as OOOO steel wool created a small bit of very fine powder removal when used and rubbing too far created shiny spots like bare steel.  I will try to add pictures tomorrow.

 

Just one of those little things I have never seen discussed here.  I have always thought/ observed most trim was polished aluminum or SST.  With the vast knowledge base here is there any history on what was used in the early thirties?

 

Thanks for any and all knowledge,

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I do not think they are aluminum since they stuck to a magnet quite  well.   That is the reason I asked the question as my first reaction was Al as well.  Did anyone use anything else?

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Thanks for the further explanation Keiser.  I hadn't thought of that and have not had it off the car to see if that is the construction.  If true then all the flat gray is oxidation and could/should come off right?  This car is mostly an original survivor so it could be 80+ years of patina, a polite term for a lot of work coming up!

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Model A Fords from 1928 until September of 1930 used zinc trim around all four sides of the running board. Perhaps your '31 Hupp used the same type of material.

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From Mister Google....

 

Do magnets stick to zinc?
Iron, cobalt and nickel are magnetic. Metals that have iron in them attract magnets well. Steel is one. Metals like brass, copper, zinc and aluminum are not attracted to magnets.

 

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My 28, 29 and 30 Graham-Paige have steel with zinc coating, it shines up pretty well when new, but after 80 years of neglect dull grey is what I have.

 

Lots of stuff on the internet on how to polish zinc...

 

Now you have me wanting to polish mine out

 

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I have to drive over to the garage where my Model A is stored so I'll let you know. Just have to remember to take a magnet.

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Agree the trim probably is zinc or aluminum.  But would it have been polished originally?  For example, here's Henry in the 20-millionth Ford.  Note the running board trim doesn't appear as shiny as the polished stainless radiator shell, etc.

 

HenryFord_07_2000-700x547.jpg

Edited by CHuDWah (see edit history)

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OK here are some pictures of the trim on the 31 Hupp. 

DSCF8556.JPG.d36bc1a505406b36a5ce142660d6511a.JPG

This is the front edge driver's side.  Inner and outer trim are flat gray, front edge is looking like polished aluminum will be the end result.

.

DSCF8558.JPG.4aa640ec29dc01b007164eb668364128.JPG

This is the driver's side rear edge, notice how rear piece shined up real easy to a chrome like finish.  With the fine sw and polish there is some sheen starting on the outer piece, not sure if I am removing the plating or cutting thru the oxidation at this point.

 

DSCF8563.JPG.461982cdc5849e353592d2aa3cb3c3fc.JPG

This the passenger side I have not touched yet.

 

DSCF8562.JPG.416c89e10dd14266fef0d4f8819a2bcb.JPG

 

A closer view of the driver's side to show details in piece

 

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Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but I tried a magnet on the running board trim on my 1929 Ford Model A and it is magnetic. I would think that it is zinc plated steel. It was never polished on the Model A and left in it's dull finish. 

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Thanks for all the replies.  I was talking to a fellow Hupp'er last night and he said his '28 M had running boards constructed as Keiser 31 described right down to the lock in tabs on the steel backer.  He did say his were polished originally and the repros he got are polished.  My guess is that they did not change build methods too quickly in the Depression and mine are similar.  I will try to polish them some more tomorrow.

 

Again thanks to all for the input!!

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59 minutes ago, avantey said:

Thanks for all the replies.  I was talking to a fellow Hupp'er last night and he said his '28 M had running boards constructed as Keiser 31 described right down to the lock in tabs on the steel backer.  He did say his were polished originally and the repros he got are polished.  My guess is that they did not change build methods too quickly in the Depression and mine are similar.  I will try to polish them some more tomorrow.

 

Again thanks to all for the input!!

 

 

Well, Hupps were more expensive than Fords so it's not surprising they had more shiny stuff.

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They were more expensive and a little heavier car.  I feel my L was competitive to a smaller Buick in 31 at 90HP, 118" WB and nicer interiors and it was their smallest eight offering then.  I know Hupps were at a similar price point to the Buicks too.  In 29 they were the fifth best in sales at 60,000 but that halved in '30 and halved again to 15K in '31 so they barely survived the Depression and never really came all the way back to 1929 prominence.

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