Restoring a car is all about the details. In this month's Resto section, we took all of the trim off from Project FearleSS and had it refurbished and restored; simply because we found out there are not many replacement parts for these models yet. We plan to be driving this project once it is done, so we thought about the wear and tear that would entail and we opted to re-anodize the grillee and aluminum to the original condition.
When you look into the history of anodizing you will find out that its existance has been around before the wide usage in the automotive industry. Anodizing was first used on an industrial scale in 1923 to protect Duralumin seaplane parts from corrosion. This early chromic acid-based process was called the Bengough-Stuart process. Variations of this process soon evolved, and the first sulfuric acid anodizing process became and remains the most common anodizing electrolyte.
Anodizing has always been a good method to keeping the car's aluminum looking good while keeping it durable. The thickness is thinner than chrome and is more forgiving than when you chrome plate aluminum. If you were to chrome an aluminum grille and caught a rock or road debris, the aluminum will crack and or peel; versus the anodizing which would flex with the aluminum.
Project Fearless has been coming together and, like most builders, we are multi-tasking to try and get the build completed as soon as possible. While the bodywork is getting done, we sent out the trim to Silvano of Premier Polishing, who took on the complete restoration duties for all of the car's trim. From the anodizing on down to the chrome on the bumpers, this job was not too big or too small for the pros at Premier to handle.
1. Project Fearless gets her grille done.
2. The original upper and lower grilles were stripped from the original anodize and had to be polished and straightened out.
3. While Silvano polished all of the '68 trim, he had the original chrome stripped down on the bumpers. This will assure a good bond between the coatings.
4. The bumpers had to go through a belting process to get them as smooth as possible.
5. After polishing the bumpers, they were ready to be copper plated to begin the process of becoming a showpiece.
6. The die cast, or pot metal as it is commonly referred to, was stripped down to be restored correctly.
7. To get that deep look, your parts need to be copper plated. These bumpers were ready to be polished one more time to get the deep shine that we were looking for.
8. The copper plated parts need to get polished.
9. All of the aluminum was stripped down before it was run through a belting process to remove any blemishes. Given how thin these aluminum moldings are, they can only be belted a few times to not blow through them.
10. These moldings turned out good and were ready to be reinstalled onto our car. After the final polish they should look like this.
11. The anodized finish was wrapped up and ready to be delivered.
12. Since stainless steel has natural nickel in it, most chrome shops do not recommend chroming it, as it will eventually peal because you are adding nickel on top of nickel and it will not bond properly. In our case, the moldings were polished to a mirror finish.
13. When the parts are done being polished, the final polish they should look like this.
14. After a few hours of belt sanding, the trim was done.
15. The trim was going to look good once it was bolted back on.
16. Since the car is still not ready to have the trim attached, we are going to leave them in their protective packaging.