Check out the two bumpers in the photo; the one in the foreground looked as bad as the rusty and pitted one in the rear before it was blasted with garnet. This medium aggressive abrasive left a soft satin look to the bumper that nicely mimics finely cast aluminum. This could be coated with DuPont’s Hot Hues Matte Clear (PN HHC 5300) and left as is for a great low-maintenance, industrial look. On a side note, blasting with medium to fine media is also the perfect way to hide modern billet components and give them a finely cast look. Large components will likely require a professional’s help, but for smaller parts affordable blasting cabinets are available through Harbor Freight and Eastwood.

Spray-On Coatings

The current trend toward industrial finishes and treatments on cars is actually a blessing for DIY guys since the rattle can industry has been rolling out new-and-improved cast metallic finishes in the past few years. Just rethinking the tone of your trim can make all the difference on even lowly stock parts. If your chrome or polished aluminum is still in decent shape, you could re-coat it with Dupli-Color’s Shadow Chrome Black-Out Coating. It’s a two-can system with a translucent black basecoat and clearcoat that creates the look of black chrome on polished metal or chrome surfaces. It’s even resistant to brake dust, road abrasion, chipping, and fading, making it ideal for chrome wheels, bumpers, interior/exterior trim, accessories, and underhood components. Like the look of polished copper? Dupli-Color’s Copper Plate uses a similar process to re-coat polished or chrome parts to appear like they were plated with copper. We’d love to see this on a black car.

Creative Platings & Anodizing

Believe it or not, you can do your own custom plating and anodizing at home on a small scale with kits from Caswell Plating ( You’re not exactly limited to just a few options either; they also carry home DIY kits for anodizing. Among the treatments available are nickel, copper, gold, silver, cadmium, brass, tin, bronze, black chrome, and yes, even good old classic chrome plating. This isn’t modeling toy stuff either (though Caswell has solutions for that as well), the anodizing and plating kits are designed to provide a commercial quality finish on a miniature scale, in approximately 20 minutes. Most of the finishes can be applied as a final satin metal treatment, or with a little buffing taken up to a mirror shine. The only hang-up is that the quantities of material are designed for smaller parts along the line of what can fit in a 5-gallon bucket. Still, that covers an awful lot of trim parts on most classic cars. Want to hear the part that really got us interested? They have kits for replating pot metal!

Crinkle Coat

Perhaps made famous by Carroll Shelby and his line of Cobra valve covers for Ford powerplants, black crinkle coat is an excellent (and cheap) maintenance-free alternative to shiny stuff under the hood. Often relegated to vintage-style builds, and mostly Fords, we’ve been seeing modern variations on crinkle coat appearing on high-end cars from the likes of the Ringbrothers, and this ’62 Chevy II (known as The Runt) from RPM. The paint is a custom-blended two-tone of metallic red and root beer brown. Obviously money wasn’t an issue on this build; chrome just didn’t look at home with this palette. What you can’t see here is that Runt also makes use of black crinkle coat on all of the trim including the grille, wind wings, and so on, to create a completely chrome-less look. This is an easy one to duplicate and will instantly give any car a more hard-core appearance. Crinkle finish powdercoat should be used on areas that will see lots of abuse or use, but a good ol’ rattle can of Wrinkle Paint Black Aerosol from Eastwood can handle everything else and will match perfectly.