Chrome Plating: A Costly Proposition?

Chrome Plating: $$$$$ and then some…

Until a few days ago, I’d never actually shopped for chrome plating services; the cautionary tales from other folks had kept me from going down that road.  I’ve often joked that the cost of re-chroming everything on my Packard would cost double what the car is worth, but based on prices other folks have gotten, it turns out I’m probably not that far off.  Of course, that a 50’s Packard sedan in #1 condition (which mine certainly isn’t) won’t break the $20k mark probably hurts the price comparison.  But the fact remains that for a lot of cars, especially those of the 1950’s, the cost of chromium plating can add up and can quickly become your largest expenditure in a restoration.

With that in mind, I had determined months ago that I wouldn’t bother trying to re-chrome any of the heavily pitted or rusted stuff off the Disgustang.  Everything that needed it was too far gone to be a viable candidate for re-plating anyway.  But as I’d discussed in my post on back-orders, the fact that I haven’t been able to get a replacement passenger-side rear quarter window assembly has gotten me thinking about the possibility of getting an old frame re-plated.  Sure enough, a quick call to Verne’s Chrome Plating confirmed that the frames COULD, in theory, be re-chromed.  The guy I spoke to knew exactly what I was talking about, from the riveted-on rollers to the pot metal frame.  If they aren’t too badly pitted, re-doing them would run half of what I’d planned to spend on the new/reproduction assembly!  That’s much more affordable than I’d expected (I’d figured $500 or something outlandish like that).  My frame is pretty far gone, but folks are selling frames on eBay for around $50 with shipping, so I’ll still be well ahead.

So…I bought an original, used frame from eBay.  But now that it’s arrived, it’s not quite what I was hoping for.  Yes, the chrome isn’t nearly as pitted as the one I took out of the car, but the glass is useless in this new purchase– it’s scratched.  That’s not a huge problem, I have a “good” piece of glass that I pulled out of the original frame, but I’d hoped for some added value.  Secondly, the rollers on this new purchase aren’t as good as the ones on my original frame.  They may be fine, and it’s not as if I’ll be rolling that rear quarter window down that often, but I’d rather not spend the money to refinish parts that are already worn.

Let’s see if I can return it…