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Chrome question

Started by Joe Bento #20081, January 07, 2007, 09:43:59 PM

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Joe Bento #20081


For those of you who have done (approximately) this:

What did you pay to re-chrome all the exterior trim pieces to a 1940 Caddy I have Series 72, but whatever you have that is close will be helpful).

Just trying to get a ball park what I am in for here.



FRED #23106

Just last week, I had the following pieces rechromed for my 1939 LaSalle at a shop in Conneaut, Ohio.

Hood Ornament (was badly pitted).  Like new now for $150 *
  * This included taking it apart (2pcs) and reassembling.

Turn Signal Arm (from 1940 Cadillac - small piece and pitted, but rare - for $65  (There were originally no turn signals on the 1939 LaSalle, but I want them and this is the most attractive and most original looking compromise).

2 Bumper Cross Bars that attach between front bumper guards. These are flat steel bars about 3-4 ft. long.  $120 each.

Small support tie bar for above (fits between cross bars in center) $30.

My car needed no other plating, but I did leave a set of five (5) original LaSalle full wheel covers (not hubcaps) for plating at the same shop. Estimated cost - $150 to $175 each. These are very similar to the hubcaps for a 1940 Cadillac. You can buy these (new repros - but perfect) from Bill Hirsch for about the same cost as my plating, including the Cadillac center medallions. Some use the same repro wheel cover on the LaSalle, with a LaSalle center medallion, but they are NOT the same wheel cover as the original ones on the LaSalle. (Close, but not the same).

Others can supply other plating costs, but some shops charge double the above prices. In particular, pot metal parts (grilles) are usually quite expensive if badly pitted.  You will be in for a surprise if you need every piece of chrome on the car plated and will then discover that restoring a car is a "not for profit" venture.  (I guess you already found this out by now).  Good luck with your "adventure".


Bill Gauch

I got some quotes for my 38, Series 65 (with the expensive-to=chrome-eggcrate-grill):

Prices for some of the major pieces are provided below:

$600 - Front bumper
$600 - Rear bumper
$160 - Guards (each)
$180 - Cross bar
$1200 - Grille

I have not gone ahead with this yet, and now I dont know if I will because I have heard some bad things about this place. Of course, I still may go ahead with them, as I have also heard some good things and they are close by. Hope this helps.

Barry M. Wheeler #2189

Hi, If you have heard ONE bad thing about a chrome shop, dont use it. Especially your irreplaceable grille. I would almost bet that the "bad" thing involved losing a part. I need a few things plated on my car, but I think Ill keep my "nearly" perfect side grills for awhile. It may be that you cant find a place like this, but see if you can find one that will take your parts, give them to one guy, and have him do them on one day (or two, however long it takes.)  (I know enough to be dangerous about plating, and this individual treatment may NOT be possible for a modern production shop.) After all, they are in the business to make money, and we are merely nuisance  work, wanting the impossible, and wanting it done yesterday, at yesterdays prices.
The government has gone after this industry like so many others, making it almost impossible to operate at a profit. in any case, dont take the parts in until you have the money IN HAND to pay for them. Many times, you will see things on eBay that you know have been left in the shop and never picked up.

FRED #23106

Whenever I send anything to a plater, I carefully photograph and measure each piece and on small parts, make a photo copies as well.  I give a copy of all of this to the plater, along with a typed purchase order, listing each individual piece. This alerts the plater that the parts have importance, and hopefully he will not lose any.

My plater takes photographs of each part upon receipt for his records and also for his protection. I recently dropped off 5 original 1939 LaSalle wheel covers and the first thing he did was to lay them together on the floor and take a couple of pictures.

Back in the late 60s, I had a 1939 LaSalle 4-door and the grilles were slightly pitted, but quite acceptable. A friend of mine (Lester Wax - CLC Member) gave me some advice that I will never forget - "Sometimes it is best to let the parts stand on their own merit".  Back then, platers did not have good methods for plating pot metal and I am glad that I took his advice. Even with the todays improved methods, if the chrome is not too bad (especially on pot metal parts), I recommend staying with Lesters advice.  

Sometimes we get carried away, looking for perfection, only to be disappointed later if the parts are not satisfactory, or worse yet, if lost.

Another thing is to try to get the plater to give expected lead time and try to hold him to that schedule. I once had a plater in IL hold some critical parts for about 10 antique slot machines. After about a year and many certified letters and much hassle, he finally returned them to me. In the meantime, I had the 10 machines all apart waiting for the parts and after that long, had a hard time figuring out where everything was to fit.  Some platers want a deposit, but so far, I have not had any ask me for deposits.  If such a request is asked, I recommend that you try to negotiate to either no deposit or a very small deposit. (Or ask the plater for a deposit, as he has your parts !! LOL).  



I did every piece on a series 62, 1949. Widow reveal , door handles, everything. I think just under 6, 0000.00 when all was said and done. Dont have the records in front of me, but seems thats what i recall.   Art

Mike Josephic #3877

As Barry mentioned, the EPA has made life very difficult for platers.  They have to treat their waste products before dumping them, a very expensive process.  This has put many smaller shops out of business in the last 10-15 years.  What this means for us is that those whom are left have become much more expensive.  From about 10 years ago, cost have almost doubled.  I paid over $15K to have the chrome done on a 55
Eldorado (including Sabre wheels) about a year ago. If youre redoing pot metal, they have very good processes to redo that now, however its very expensive if its heavily pitted.  Large pits have to be drilled out and silver soldered.  If the guy is really good, he can copper them up heavily and re-do the details as well so you dont lose definition as in the old days.  Go with somebody that you get recommendations from fellow members or better still, where have personally seen their work if you go to that extreme.


Rhino 21150

On a 1938 5019, plain as can be bumpers without the center "La S" marker or the guards: quoted $600, actual $680 with shipping. Tricity Plating, TARGET=_blank> Quoted $80 per guard, no quote on centerpieces. The work came back ART. They plated the backs too. I am delighted with results. A shop in High Point, NC powder coated the brackets glossy black for $50. Gorgeous. Chrome took three months, powder three days.


Even though not exactly on the required information, you can check out the following website: TARGET=_blank>

it is very helpful and informative.

Steve Hales clc# 16187

Joe, I did my 1939 LaSalle 5019. Grills, Handles. Moldings etc. for around $4500.00-$5000.00 I sent them to The Finishing Touch.  These people are the best as far as I am concerned. They Guarantee  show quality or they tell you it cant be done show quality. You get an estimate and a list of items sent to them. before the work starts. The Finishing Touch adversities in the CLC. It take a while 3-5 months because they are busy. But , it is done on the time they estimate.Their price are high of course but not outrageous . That is my .02. TARGET=_blank>



2nd that recommendation for Finishing Touch.  

Excellent work - you pay for what you get; old time craftmanship.

Ken Andersen # 21420

Dear Joe,
I am restoring a 1928 Cadillac 341-A 7 Seater.
I recently got back:  Radiator Shroud, Gear Stick, Rear Bumperettes, Front Bumpers, and so other small parts and paid AUD$ 2600.00 for top line quality Nickle Plating.  
The balance of all items that need to be nickled are currently with the same vendor, & these will end up costing another AUD$4000.00.  Total in all: AUD$ 6600.00.  This includes all work to pre all items, copper coat, then nickle plate, the polish and add a sealer.