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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have fashioned a couple custom aluminum dollys for restoring the profile of the trim strips around the grill and wheel openings. Many of the frontal pieces are dinged and sandblasted from road debris. They are quite soft and malleable and appear to be made of aluminum or tin alloy. Are they originally plated? Has anyone tried scuffing and polishing them with fine Scotchbrite? What works best?
 

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Detritus Maximus
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They were probably anodized.
I have heard good things about Everbrite being used on car trim. I have used it on brushed stainless steel and it is a nice protective finish. Plus you can refinish/reapply every few years if needed.
 

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On the Manta, the wheelwell trim and lower rocker trim is stainless steel.

The grill/headlight trim is aluminum however. It is clear anodized from the factory, which gives it some surface hardness. But it does not shine up well once it tarnishes.

I typically sand off the anodizing and polish it like normal aluminum. It is therefore more fragile at this point, but nobody is really logging 20,000 miles per year on these cars anymore.
I recently restored some of this trim for Gary Farias’s Ascona wagon with the Manta front end swap.
 

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Some pics.
436137
436138
436139
 

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A clear coat would go a long way to help preserve that aluminum.
It’s been my experience that clearcoat on aluminum just dulls the heck out of the shine. It also doesn’t adhere well because of the polished surface (exactly the opposite of what paint wants for adhesion). Once you get a single chip in it it peels in sheets.

I find it’s easier to just touch up the polish on occasion.

I should add that I’ve done metal polishing since I was 17 years old, so I guess that’s 38 years of experience, give or take!
 

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Pedal Smasher
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Thanks for the insight Bob. There has to be a product that helps preserve the aluminum though, without sending it off to be clear anodized. Or maybe that is the only good way to protect it?
 

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1970 Opel Gt - Purchased July 1972 - Chartreuse - restored - 3000 miles as of 02-16, 2021 -
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That is good to know - after spending 50 hours sanding and polishing my wheels I clear coated one of them and was suprised how it changed the look, not in a good way, so I removed the clear coat and will, like you said, just touch it up once in a while, same goes for my valve cover, I have read that if you do a really good job with the sanding and polishing that the polished aluminum will remain in good condition for a long time especially on cars that spend the majority of their time in a garage.
 

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Clear powder coating?

Edit: sorry, posted before reading.
 

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That is good to know - after spending 50 hours sanding and polishing my wheels I clear coated one of them and was suprised how it changed the look, not in a good way, so I removed the clear coat and will, like you said, just touch it up once in a while, same goes for my valve cover, I have read that if you do a really good job with the sanding and polishing that the polished aluminum will remain in good condition for a long time especially on cars that spend the majority of their time in a garage.
There are liquid polishes that do a good job of touching up the shine and they have some protective qualities as well. I use them frequently.

I used the liquid polish on these outer rim shells after assembly. I had buffed them with white coloring compound and a loose buff by machine, but during assembly they got a few scuffs in them. The liquid polish not only removed the scuffs, but enhanced the shine as well.
436143
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
On the Manta, the wheelwell trim and lower rocker trim is stainless steel.

The grill/headlight trim is aluminum however. It is clear anodized from the factory, which gives it some surface hardness. But it does not shine up well once it tarnishes.

I typically sand off the anodizing and polish it like normal aluminum. It is therefore more fragile at this point, but nobody is really logging 20,000 miles per year on these cars anymore.
I recently restored some of this trim for Gary Farias’s Ascona wagon with the Manta front end swap.
Geez Bob, I could sure use some help when your done goofing around with Gary's MantAscona Voyager. Your wheels with the yellow centers sure look nice. They must be for the sportwagon huh?
 

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Geez Bob, I could sure use some help when your done goofing around with Gary's MantAscona Voyager.
Long since done. Got it ready a few weeks before Carlisle.

Your wheels with the yellow centers sure look nice. They must be for the sportwagon huh?
Race-only wheels I’m afraid. Way too fragile for street use at 9,5 lbs each. Plus they’re a bit too wide for my Sportwagon at 13” x 10”. Would need to add flares. I have a few sets of 13” x 7” rims for the Sportwagon since I plan on keeping the body stock.

These rims are slated for my hillclimb Manta.
 
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