How to Polish Automotive Chrome Plating Trim

Automotive chrome plating is a great feature that adds style to any vehicle. With the right polish and techniques, you can keep it clean and sparkling. The car care industry has infinite resources to make polishes that are specifically formulated to get your chrome shiny. These polishes can vary in intensity so you have to be careful you use the appropriate polish for use. It is best to use a gentler polish for more delicate instruments such as mirrors, headlights, gauge bezels, black chrome, and glass.

If a polish is labeled “all chrome”, that generally indicates that it is a gentler polish and is good for most standard uses, such as the removal of smudges, small scratches, and the restoration of that automotive chrome plating brilliance! For bigger scratches, rust, and other jobs a gentler polish can’t handle, you’ll want invest in a grittier polish, which is similar to jeweler’s rouge. A grittier polish may revive that old bumper, but be sure to read and follow the directions on the label. While it’s good enough for a bumper, a grittier polish can easily scratch softer surfaces, so opt for a gentler polish when it comes to those shiny, new 23 inch chromed-spoke wheels.

Most brands of polish also include polymers that leave behind a protective residue that can ward off smudges and fingerprints while helping you maintain that classic chrome sheen. You can find chrome polish at almost any automotive store and it is available as either a liquid or a cream.


As mentioned above, always, always, ALWAYS, begin by reading the various polishes’ labels and choose one or more that is compatible with the style and condition of the chrome you want to revive.

Before you begin, always make sure you wash the chromed area so any grit and dirt won’t be left behind and scraped across the finish during polishing. Be sure to park in your garage or in the shade to ensure that the polish doesn’t dry too quickly. Automotive chrome plating polish can be applied a few different ways depending on your preference. Always start with a clean, cotton-based fabric to apply the polish. A terrycloth towel is the traditional favorite while disposable cotton wipes or cotton polishing pads are just as effective. Polishing pads are easy to cut in half if needed to reach difficult areas.

Apply the polish to the applicator and begin to massage it onto the chrome, being careful to follow the instructions as listed on the label. Be sure to work in small areas and make sure you polish every spot. Before you know it you’ll be done and your newly polished automotive chrome plating will shine like the first day you laid eyes on it! Think chrome gets to have all the fun? Think again because many of these products will also protect and shine other metals as well, such as aluminum and magnesium.


Classic Components, the leader in Chrome Plating since 1986, is now offering a new Chrome polish & sealant. This product will revive and protect all of your chrome.  This is what they use to clean, polish and protect all the parts and wheels coming off their chrome plating lines. This sealant and wax is a non abrasive formula that will clean and polish Chrome, aluminum, stainless steel and even brass.   It also works twice as fast as other polishes whether you apply it by hand or machine. Safely get rid of the dullness of your old chrome parts and wheels with
Classic Components new chrome polish and wax! Contact us for more information or to order chrome plating or the Chrome Polish & Sealant.


What Is Black Chrome?

Chrome is made by the electroplating an outer coating of chromium to another metal such as steel or aluminum. The surface to be chrome plated immersed in an acid bath along with an anode metal. Direct current electricity is applied; this makes chromium ions to adhere to the surface of the metal. Before the chrome is electroplated, copper and nickel layers are applied to the metal.

Black chrome plating takes a high polish and possesses a depth that is not evident in other chrome finishes. The copper and nickel undercoating makes hard and durable black chrome finishes resistant to rust and corrosion. Highly polished black chrome is often used as a decorative surface for automobile and motorcycle parts and household faucets. Telescope and microscope manufacturers often use matte finish black chrome on parts to reduce reflectivity.
Before chrome, electroplating, metal objects must be thoroughly cleaned. Before the copper and nickel coating is applied, the part is immersed in an electrostatic bath to remove heavy soil. It must be cleaned once more by hand to get rid of any residual dirt and surface impurities. After cleaning, the part is ready for black chrome plating to be applied.
Electroplating process requires attention to safety because the chemicals involved are highly caustic and are often carcinogenic. Complying with environmental protection standards for safely using these chemicals can make black chrome plating more expensive than other types of finish.


– Norton Rechrome and Rebuild

Check outthe beautiful chrome restoration Classic Components did on these custom Norton bikes.  Our customer in Colorado spends over 250 hours on each custom motorcycle re-build. 

They completely disassemble each Norton Commando bike and re-build it from the ground up to create a stunning re-birth of one of the most exciting and rideable British motorcycles ever built. With their extensive experience and complete dedication to each project, it’s no wonder they’ve become one of the leading custom motorcycle builders focusing on Norton motorcycles.

If you are interested in their contact information or in Classic Components chrome work, please contact Mike in the sales department!


The Story…..the kid and the car; then and now

Son of a son of a mechanic and only 12 years old; the memory remains clear as a photograph of those few seconds…………

Living in the foothills of Camarillo, California, 55 miles or so west of Los Angeles, it was still country then, and we waited at the foot of Alosta Drive at East Loop Drive for the big yellow school bus each morning. The intersection was then, and still is but to a lesser degree, a bit of a chicane; quick right then sweeping uphill left……..

I heard it coming and then it popped into view, flashed through the curves and snarled up the hill driven by a blond lady. That was my unforgettable first sighting of a Lotus Elite. The year was 1962. The car was stunning, left hand drive, white…….I guess it made a deep impression. Now some 49 years later I still marvel at the beauty of the white Elite, I’m still dazzled by its foot work and the ripping snort of its exhaust tone. So here I am today, the caretaker of white Lotus Elite 1308 and have been so for almost 43 years.

I grew up in a family Garage, parts store, tow service and gas station in that country town; I was pumping gas and fixing generators at age 10. But when I was 15 or so my Dad and Grandfather sold the business. My Dad went to work for his Uncle becoming the manager of the west coast branch of Nisonger Corp., who imported and repaired Smith Instruments (a few of you may still remember Ernie, my Dad…..I sure do). We moved to West Los Angeles where I also worked for Nisonger repairing all sorts of Smith’s products and at age 15 ½ I purchased my first car; a $300 1959 bug eye Sprite.

Growing up in the country, I learned how to drive at age 12 and at 16, I was gone…….
at least during my waking hours. Who else of you will admit to walking the high school corridors air shifting while making engine noises?

A 1 ½ year later, January 1968, I talked Dad into loaning me the $2500 to buy a 1960 white Lotus Elite; please note that yes, I did pay him back, though it took a while at $3.50/hr. I do believe the connection to that morning at the bus stop years earlier was only subconscious. But what a thing 1308 was, the “Flower Child” as my mother called it.

Ah the stories…..remember in 1968 the Elite was just an older sports car then, but really boss for a high school kid. I dated Debbie, the head cheerleader and thought it was the greatest thing to drive around with her megaphone on the rear parcel tray. Dare I say at 17 she was willing and I was a lot more flexible? I dated Debbie for several years so she my come up in a few Elite adventures. Alas, I’ve lost touch with her, but she became a PHD in Chemistry and moved to the east coast.

I believe that I’m the third owner. I don’t remember the name of the guy I bought 1308 from, but he did keep saying “Toby Anstead owned this car”. Can anyone tell me who that might be? 1308 was a very original early series 2, stage 1 car with the exception of having black loop carpet and an MGB generator and regulator. 1308 was sold by Bob Challman in 1962 with no options. To this day I do not believe she has been out of California, although I’ve driven her to the Bay area at 3 or 4 times; as I said, my back was better then. Bob Challman was a piece of work himself, but that’s another story for another time to be told by others.

To tell all the stories would take the whole issue…….

As a new Lotus owner, I read about Lotus West car club in the Los Angeles Time auto events section, back in the day when the newspaper was the way to learn about such events as well as to buy a used car. I headed from West LA to Glendale via the San Diego Freeway and didn’t get too far before the rear end started making a horrible squeal. Who knew the rear bearing leaked oil or even how to check the level? This was the first of what has been thousands of Elite projects, although that is the only time I had the rear end completely out. Dad called one of his major customers, BMC, who in the end sent a return cabbage head off a Morris Minor. I can’t remember if it’s a 4:11-1 or 4:22-1.

It was later that I joined Lotus West and as number 46; the first non-charter member. In those days there was an active sports car scene in LA and the Lotus West get together, cruses and meeting were something to look forward to and don’t forget “Stress Cracks” their newsletter. At the 1968 Le Circle Concours, one of the first Lotus West events I attended, 1308 won first in the Lotus class. That was a pretty huge thrill for the first time out.

The story is not yet finished in this detail…..but in summary, I have owned 1308 since January 1968. For several years she was my only car and I have driven her to San Francisco at least 4 times. She had 42,000 mile when I bought her and now has 72,000. In 2009 I decided to have her painted since time had shrunken the paint such that she was covered with “chicken feet”. Well dumb me, it didn’t occur to me that with new paint, I couldn’t put back 50 year old rubber, and worn chrome….hence we started a complete refreshment. I call it that, since I never completely tore her down at one time….sort of kept pecking away. Remember I was 17 when I bought her and in those days, “if it didn’t move chrome it”; so she really got almost too shinny in the process (or so think some of the concours judges. The paint work is excellent, the moldings and interior are all new (being an assembled car the rubber is relatively easy to find) but the chrome work is spectacular!

I cannot say enough good about South Bay Chrome!…the work cannot be beat and the friendly personal service is not exceeded anywhere! A special thanks goes to Frank Martin.

Since I finish the Elite in show condition a year and a half ago (is it ever finished?), my wife and I have shown her in seven concours events and brought home five trophies.
A show car is only as good as its weakest point. In our case it works backwards; the chrome work dazzles and sparkles, setting the tone for a lovely car, great design decades ahead of itself and better than new presentation. We are all just custodians of these works of modern mechanical art and for our case, with the commitment of professionals like South Bay Chrome, we will strive to maintain the respectful standard.
1960 Lotus Elite Bio/Info

Debuting at the 1957 Earls Court Motor Show was Lotus founder, Colin Chapman’s first road car, the type 14 Lotus Elite. Based upon his successful formula of rigid chassis and soft suspension and coupled with his obsession for lightness, the Elite is the world’s first fiberglass monocoque production car. “You could cut though the car and the only metal you’ll hit is the drive shaft.”

988 Elites were produced from 1959 to 1963. Weighing only 1300 pounds and powered by a 85 hp 1216 cc single overhead cam FWE Coventry Climax engine, the Elite is capable of speeds over 120 mph. Originally selling for $4100 in Manhattan Beach, CA, the elite was expensive for it’s day.

While Chapman’s intent was to build a production road car, he also recognized the opportunity for racing in the under 1300 cc GT class. In 1959 early Elites finished 1st and 2nd in class at Le Mans; they continued these winning ways for 6 consecutive years, also winning the overall Index of Thermal Efficiency twice, helped by it’s coefficient of aerodynamics of 0.29, it is still one of the most efficient designs ever.

Generally regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever, the Elite is truly a unique design of a “racing car for the road”.


– Any Yankee Fans Out There?

I know it’s a little late for a baseball-related blog post with the World Series just having ended (and the Yankees not in the finals this year), but check out these custom wheels we just chrome plated for Thomason Performance in Manchester, NH!  This NY Yankee-themed bike was built by Kneivel Cycles in PA who has a licensing agreement with major league baseball.  They will be building several other MLB-themed bikes in the future using Thomason Performance as their wheel manufacturer.  Classic Components had to rush this job for the customer in just a few days to make the show deadline.

The detail of these wheels and matching pulley is incredible and really sets off this chopper!


We get this question a lot!  Actually, our slowest time of year is usually August-November.  For some reason, however, our phones are ringing off the hook lately!  Not sure if it’s our new website or what?  It certainly isn’t the improving economy from what you hear in the press but maybe things are picking up?

Automotive and misc. industrial jobs seem to come in throughout the year while many motorcycle-related jobs tend to arrive in the early and late Spring – our busy season!

Don’t wait until March – this is a great time of year to get started on your project.  Now that we are under one roof and more streamlined, we are more efficient than ever; getting jobs done in record time.

We suggest you take advantage of our super fast turnaround times while they last!  Please feel free to contact our sales team if you have any questions!