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Brass fittings on antique cars and tarnishing

I own several antique cars and belong to the Horseless Carriage Club of America, which is for cars built no later than 1915.The club members do not just store and exhibit the cars , but drive them frequently and on week long tours. These cars are also known as "Brass Cars" , because they have lots of brass fittings - Lights, horn, windshield frame, instruments , hubcaps, etc. It's the brass that gives these cars their beauty.But, lots of polishing is required to keep the cars looking good, but this is tiring (!) and over time, thins the metal. So I would like to know the best way of impeding the tarnishing, or better yet , ending it. lacquer has not been successful as it tends to crack and flake when exposed to the weather/UVL/ humidity/temp changes. Is there a plating alloy that is brass coloured, but doesn't tarnish (Like gold - which is too expensive), or a chemical treatment or even an electric charge process, such as is used in rust prevention?. Incidentally, the next generation of antique cars (1916 and up) are known as nickel cars, as their plating is nickel, and the same problems with tarnish occur , but less rapidly than with brass. Thanks in advance and here's hoping....

Terry Brown
Hobbyist/collector - Ontario, Canada

Well if you want brass era cars you generally have to polish. (They did have servants for that then!). That being said, I believe that whomever lacquered parts for you used a material that was unsuited for the environment the part was to be used in. I would check with other vendors who might be able to lacquer the parts or provide a polymer coating which will withstand the elements. However, this may effect judging of you car since the appearance will differ slightly from polished bare brass.

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York

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