To Chrome or Not to Chrome…

Chrome is Good! As seen in Car Kulture Deluxe Magazine – by Ron Springer

I guess I am little more than a six foot tall Pack Rat at heart because I, like the Pack Rat, have an eye for all things shiny. I like Brass, Copper, Silver, Gold, Chrome, Stainless, Polished Aluminum…almost any metal that gives off the telltale “glint” that says to me, “LOOK AT THIS!”

I remember when the “Monochrome” craze was just getting up a good head of steam in the car world. I was extremely, almost militantly resistant to the idea of painting all the beautiful, shiny parts of a car. I eventually came around to the idea after seeing a monochrome white F-100 in a magazine. I even tried the look on a couple of eminently forgettable cars of my own. But when I see a group of vehicles parked together, regardless of make, model, or year I always find myself seeking out the car with the most chrome stuff on it. Regrettably, someone coined the term “Bling” to describe all things shiny and over the years anything with an excess of Bling has become passé.

I am here to champion the cause of Chrome Lovers the world over. I say, “Stop taking all the cool Chrome and Stainless off of your car!” Invest in it! Add to it! Stick on, bolt on, or hang as much of the stuff on your car as you possibly can. Don’t shave the door handles and hood ornaments. Don’t Deck it and remove the trim. Don’t minimize the grill and downplay the beltline. Put a great big, in your face hood ornament on it and stand tall! These are the things that make the cars of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s what they are – Over the Top! There’s a good reason Appleton Spotlights are chrome, and the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz has the most square feet of chrome of any car ever made in America.                  Chrome is Cool!

This is not to say that I am some sort of backwards Hillbilly that doesn’t understand the importance of flow and symmetry in the planning of a build. But just gaze upon the Hood Ornament of a ’39 Pontiac Silver Streak or the Front End of a 1952 Buick Eight and tell me it would look better without all of that chrome. Take in the full effect of the venerable 1942 Lincoln Continental, or the the ’41 Cadillac Series 62, or even a ’64 T-Bird and tell me it would look better without all of that shiny stuff. Even a ’40 Ford just wouldn’t be the same without that awesome chrome grill.

Take away my chrome? “Say it ain’t so Joe, say it ain’t so!”

From the very beginning of Hot Rods and Customs, chrome has been king. In the early days of Rods and Customs every car on the road had tons and tons of chrome. Being different meant getting rid of the chrome. But truth be known and accepted…accepted is key…most of our cars spend most of their existence either in the garage or on the road alone.  When a car is viewed as a stand-alone, it looks better and draws more compliments when it has all of its shiny parts intact and gleaming for all to admire.

Don’t agree? Just try this experiment. Take two cars from roughly the same era and build quality to any place where crowds of people gather. Make sure one has all its shiny parts still attached, and the other one is shaved, decked, nosed and de-chromed. Park them 20 yards apart. Now stand back and count the number of people who pause to admire the two cars. At the end of the day, the one with the most chrome will get the greater number of gawkers. Don’t care what the “public at large” thinks?” – Liar – We all care about that. There is nothing more fun than having a group of average, non car lovers, standing around your car “ooing” and “awing” while you try to act indifferent.

If Customs aren’t your thing, then consider this; Isky’s T had shiny Valve Covers and Chrome Pipes for a reason.                                                          Ed liked chrome!

You could spend hours regaling me with tales of the woes of chrome. You could go on and on about how you spend all that time getting the bright-work ready for a show only to have to do it again when you arrive, and a third time when you get back home. You could complain that chrome is so expensive and it is difficult to get a good quality piece. You could rant about bulbous hood ornaments and garish side trim. You might even proclaim that too much “bling” interrupts the overall flow of the body lines and minimizing the presentation of chrome actually enhances the effect of the remaining shiny stuff because there is less of it to look at. Go ahead! Convince me!

There are plenty of arguments to be made both ways, but for my money, it comes down to just one thing…                        To polish or not to polish…and I…actually like to polish.

et ita abscedit  Ron

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