Restoration Impossible: Shining the Chrome

Jun 6, 2017 update to the Lotus Elan project car

Here’s what we sent. We inadvertently forgot to disassemble the door locks. The folks at Graves told us they could chrome the push button (lock cylinder) on the door handles, but we would need to do the disassembly.

When restoring a car, you need to focus on managing time almost as much as you need focus on doing the actual work.

Getting chrome work done takes weeks, if not months. We wanted to get this stage of the restoration taken care of early so we wouldn’t be waiting on it later.

On past projects, we have used Graves Plating, which has been a loyal advertiser of Classic Motorsports since we started the publication.

When picking a chrome shop, you need one that is reliable and won’t lose or damage any of your parts. There are also varying degrees of quality in the chrome world, and Graves is at—or near—the top of that spectrum.

Since we have this car entered at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, we want someone we could trust for an extremely high quality finish. And since most of the parts we will be sending are as rare as hen’s teeth, we need to make sure nothing is lost or damaged.

In an effort to save some money, we used another chrome shop one other time on one of our project cars. When a door handle came back nonfunctional due to poor chroming, we have never used anyone but Graves Plating.

When sending metal out to be chromed, you must disassemble everything. Most chrome shops do not want to be responsible for disassembling something like a door latch assembly.

You also need to carefully document exactly what you send and what condition it is in, so you have a photographic record.

We sent our parts to Graves Plating and spoke with owner Rod Graves who told us he could handle the parts with no problem. They told us it would take about four or five weeks to get the parts back to us.

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