After focusing on getting the car running and assembled it was time to indulge in some good ol’ fashion bling. The car was functional but as is the case with all classic cars, there is a ton of chrome We decided to pull every piece of chrome off the car and get it re-chromed. The car would look a lot better and help finish a lot of missing items like door handles for example.
We decided to start with the chrome refinish with some stainless steel. The front window is a metal frame with stainless steel trim. We had the window frame powder coated and the stainless steel polished. From the parts car, there was an extra windshield we could choose from and we purchased new rubbers from Sunbeam Specialties. There was a recommended auto glass shop, Pete’s Auto Glass, which was highly recommended by a few shops from around Whittier, CA. At the shop, they chose the best windshield and popped the glass in the new powder-coated frame along with the stainless steel trim. It’s a highly respected shop for a reason, and I didn’t even phase them.
After the windshield was finished, it was time to get ready to install all the chrome pieces. My Tiger Club buddy recommended a shop literally down the street, Canning’s Ace Hardware. It’s an Ace Hardware that has an impressive array of hardware and anchors the store. What is most impressive is the amount of stainless hardware they have available. Places like this are few and far between and put Home Depot to shame. Any time I need any hardware, this is the place to go. If you find a spot like this in your hometown, skip the Home Depot.
After rounding up all of the chrome from the entire car from all the boxes from both cars, we found the best of each item and bagged up and labeled each item. Out in Southern California we have a little place called Santa Fe Springs. This is one of the strongest manufacturing areas in all of Southern California and it is literally just down the street. Anything from metal fabrication to sand blasting is all concentrated on one city. The great part about this area, is other businesses surround the area and have created a huge multicity area of heaving industrial manufacturing. After a simple search I landed on a chrome shop that was exactly what we needed. Cal-Tron Plating in Santa Fe Springs was the shop I chose. The moment I walked in and saw classic car photos on the wall, I know I was at the right spot. The owner was working the counter and we got to talking and had a long-winded car conversation that led to a tour of his shop. He showed me the process because after all, I am an engineer and will always want to know how anything works. I got to see the process of preparation, dipping, and lastly polished. He even showed me the stacks of parts he made for Fender guitars. It was a pretty cool experience.
After a few weeks, I picked up all the parts and slowly started piecing the parts together with my new hardware. The door hardware could now go in with the new stainless screws we picked up. The door hardware worked like a dream, Everything felt smooth and functioned well. The window mechanism rose and fell like butter. So the oil soak trick is indeed confirmed.
All throughout the car, chrome parts were added. Trunk handles, door strikes, door grabs, and rearview mirror brackets were installed. The car was really starting to come together. With these little details, the car started to look nice. Looking at the dash and windshield, the car almost seemed presentable, even complete in certain areas. I was kinda spooky since we still had such a long way to go. This made it seem like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
The bumper was ready to go from previous chroming. With the help of some Sunbeam Specialties bolts and bumper brackets, the bumper along with the bumper accents went on the car. The valence was still not on the car which made the car look like it was missing its jaw. The bumper helped break up the gaping jaw look of the car. The quarter windows also needed to go in. We had the finished new frame but needed a window professional to help install the glass. For the time being, The frame would have to do for now.
Lastly, one of the more complicated parts of the chrome project was reinstalling the door handles. The door handle can only be described as fiddley. The push button had to be manually adjusted with screws in order to get the right amount of pressure to open the door. After several adjustments and curse words later, the door handle finally relented. The video above shows the finished product. The car doors could now be opened without having to reach into the door in order to be opened.
The was a relatively easy part of the build since it only dealt with stock Sunbeam Alpine parts and reconditioning them. It, however, gave me extreme satisfaction in cleaning up the small subtle touches of the car. With just a few chrome pieces installed here and there, the car started to really shine through its rugged unfinished exterior. It’s small wins and projects like these which really give a project momentum. Motor on.