plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
1960s GM chrome plating
December 25, 2008
Hi I've been told the process GM used in the 60s was called flash plating. Is anyone doing this? I need an air cleaner and valve covers redone to look original. Thank uGordy Coe
car restoration - Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
December 29, 2008
Hi, Gordy. GM did use stainless steel exterior trim on cars with a very thin "chrome flash" to deter rusting, although I thought that was in the 70s rather than 60s. That's the only "flash" chrome I can think of. I'm not an enthusiast but I thought air cleaner and valve covers were painted. If they were chrome on some high performance models, they were probably conventional nickel-chrome plating as described in our Chrome Plating FAQ.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 31, 2008
I have been doing plating on these types of parts for years. Now days it seems that there is some kind of a car judging nut craze going on that they require the air filter lid, bodies and valve covers look like a lightly polished dullish orange peel chrome plating that was the way they looked when they came off the factory line. In other words a cheaper chrome finish.
Now days when I get these parts they have been rusted and dinged up. The only way to fix the rust and dings is to grind and polish them out to a bright finish. Well of course this will polish out the orange peel (cheap) finish that came out of the factory. So when I am done with the parts they are very bright, smooth and shiny or "over restored" as the judges would say and then they will take points off the judging of the car.
It used to be that the brighter and smoother the parts were the higher the points received. Now days an original old part that is in original shape seems to command greater value than one that has been worked out to a nicer than off the assembly line finish. Things sure have changed over the years.
If some one wants a beautiful, smooth and bright chrome finish on a part , I can do it. But I cannot replicate an orange peel stamped chrome finish.
- St. Louis, Missouri, USA
January 7, 2009
What do you mean. Can't you take the shortcuts to get the low quality levels GM got? You really should figure out how to put the defects back in the parts you have repaired. Besides, why do you do all that work. You just have to dip in the chrome, right?
Sorry, my bit of sarcasm for the day.
process supplier - Great Neck, New York