ElectroClassic EV
Classic Cars Reborn into the Electric Future

The Wheel Deal

Not exactly real Fuchs wheels, but reproductions.  These have just come back from Cal Blast in Upland, are completely stripped of paint and covered in powdery white baking soda.  Compare this to a picture taken when I first bought them.

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The original paint was cracking and chipping badly enough that I decided to strip the wheels entirely, including the backs.  High pressure baking soda blasts away all of the old paint, and leaves a silky flat finish without abrading the metal or rubber.  Not having to remove the tires and valve stems for this process was convenient.

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The next step was to brighten up the “spokes” with a Scotch Brite pad.  Rather than wear my fingers down old school, I cut the pad to fit a hand sander, and donned some hearing protection.  All four wheels took about an hour, including some hand buffing around the inside rim.  Instead of a highly polished chrome look, I’m going for the subdued brushed appearance.

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I deliberated over leaving the wheels unpainted, but felt they would appear too bright and lightweight.  Painting the recesses black will give the wheels some visual weight, and bridge the blackness of the rockers and bumpers.  Here you can see the masking, which took about 40 minutes per wheel.  It’s very important that all of the tape edges are compressed firmly onto the wheel surface to avoid bleeding and to ensure clean lines.

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The first coat is etching primer,  which digs its tiny teeth into the metal for strong paint adhesion.  After masking, each wheel was immediately sprayed and then placed in the sun to bake.  Applying masking and primer to all four wheels took about 4 hours.

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I’m using appliance enamel for the color coat, because it cures to a very hard, tough finish.  Some say it’s toughness is second only to powder-coating.  Aside from any grand claims, it should suit my purposes just fine.  I gave each wheel a medium coat, then waited 30 minutes before applying a second.

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Here they are with the masking removed.  I’ll wait a few days for the paint to cure before applying a finishing coat of protective clear on the backsides.  Giving the first round of paint time to harden ensures it won’t be lifted by the second round of masking tape.  In the meantime, I’ll look for some product that will brighten and protect the raw brushed aluminum faces.  This is a classic Fuchs look, and I’m pretty happy with the result.

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3 Responses to “The Wheel Deal”

  1. You, sir, are an artist.

  2. A high compliment. I appreciate your comments, thank you.


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