- Frame or sub frame:
The frame and sub frame on all Sixties through Seventies GM muselecars were painted
semi-gloss black. Some restorers like the frames a little more on the shiny side, while
others like a flatter finish. There are a lot of different formulas for this and different
paints you can use. Most restorers use acrylic enamel or acrylic urethane finishes with a
flattening agent for frame components because of their durability, One formula that you
can use is as follows:
3 qt. PPG Delstar mixing black
1 qt. flattening agent
PPG DTR601 quick-dry reducer
- Inner fenders,
firewall, radiator support: As with the frame, there are many different formulas
that can be used to achieve a semi gloss black paint to match the factory finish. Some
restorers like to mix their own paint to get the shine they desire, but. many restorers
also use a premixed PPG paint for their engine compartment. We have used PPG 9423 lacquer
on our cars and it is about as close as you can get to the factory finish, We usually buy
it in quart cans because that's enough to do a complete engine compartment. Many of the
spray can manufacturers (e.g. Krylon, VHT) make a semi-gloss black that also looks good
on, engine compartment components if you don't have professional spray painting equipment.
If you have spray equipment here's another custom lacquer formula that you can use:
2 qt. PPG mixing black #386
1 qt. universal flattening agent
1 qt. mixing clear #3 10
PPG DTL16 thinner
- Radiator: All
GM cars of this era had Harrison radiators that were painted gloss black. We paint them
with PPG Deltron gloss black acrylic urethane.
- Radiator cap:
Radiator caps were not painted, they were plated.
- Radiator shroud: Radiator shrouds should be left natural plastic. Some shrouds on early GM cars were steel
and they should be painted semi-gloss to gloss black.
- Fan blades:
Fans on GM cars differed from brand to brand. Some divisions, like Chevy, painted
the fan and blades black, while other GM divisions used natural stainless fan blades with
black center hubs. If the fan was a clutch-type, the clutch was natural aluminum with a
gold cadmium center. The clutch shaft and spring are natural finish.
- Exhaust manifolds:
This is another area where the GM divisions differed. According to restoration sources,
Chew exhaust manifolds were over-sprayed when the engine was painted. According to Pontiac
sources, Pontiac engines were painted first, then the exhaust manifolds was installed.
Whatever the case may be, if you are going to drive the car, any over- spray that may be
sprayed on the exhaust manifolds will bum off quickly.
- Exhaust manifold locks:
The exhaust manifold locks were natural finish unless the exhaust manifolds were painted;
then they were oversprayed.
- Hood hinges, hood
latch, hood catch, hood springs: These components look like they are natural
finish, but they were actually gray phosphate plated. This process is available from
several plating companies including Delco Moraine Power Brake Booster Restorations by
- Upper and lower
alternator brackets: Most pulleys and brackets used on GM cars were
painted semi-gloss black, but there are some exceptions to the rule. Research your
particular car because on some GM brands, individual pulleys could have also been gray
phosphates, zinc, or cad plated. Some of the GM divisions also used large aluminum
brackets that were natural aluminum in color.
Natural aluminum finish, no paint or plating.
- Alternator fan: Zinc
- Alternator pulley:
Silver cad plated -or gold cad plated (depending upon the application). Most plating shops
can handle either application.
- Master cylinder: Most
of the GM cars came with natural finish master cylinders. For a lasting natural look, they
can be painted with cast-iron gray paint, which is available from a variety of sources
such as The Eastwood Company, VHT, and Krylon.
- Master cylinder lid:
The master cylinder lid should be cadmium dichromate (gold rainbow cad This
type of plating is available from several sources, including Delco Moraine Power brake
Restorations by Steve Gregori or from the ASL company. The master cylinder bail clips are
- Power brake booster:
All GM power brake boosters were cadmium dichromate. The two companies mentioned above can
rebuild and re-plate your power-booster.
- Brake distribution
bracket: Cadmium dichromate.
- Power brake hose clips:
- Brake lines:
Natural steel, no paint or plating.
- Brake line clips:
We've seen these clips in natural finish, black oxide, and zinc chromate (green)
- Fuel lines:
Natural steel finish, no paint or plating.
- Horns: Gloss
- Windshield wiper motor:
Gloss black finish.
- Clutch cross shaft:
Gray phosphate plate.
- Clutch linkage parts:
Gloss black finish.
- Clutch fork: Natural
steel finishes that can be painted with cast-iron spray paint
- Clutch return spring:
Natural steel or gray phosphate.
- Clutch return spring
bracket: Natural steel finish.
- Battery box hold down
clamp: Semi-gloss black.
- Water pump pulley,
crankshaft pulley: Semi-gloss black, some crank pulleys were cast and left
natural finish. Some water pump pulleys on early GM musclecars were zinc plated.
- Engine dipstick handle:
Natural steel finish.
- Steering box:
The cast-iron portion of the box is natural finish. The access lid is natural aluminum;
the bolts are black oxide.
- Stabilizer bar:
Depending upon the GM division, these can be natural or semi-gloss black.
- Stabilizer bar
brackets: Depending upon the GM division and supplier, the brackets can
be semi-gloss black or natural.
- Tie rods, steering
components: natural steel finish. These components can be painted with
clear or cast- iron colored paint
- Control arm cross
shafts: Semi-gloss black enamel.
- Control arm bolts and
large-end washers: Natural steel.
- Control arm adjustment
shims: Natural steel.
- Voltage regulator
cover: Gloss-black enamel.
- Horn relay:
Natural, no paint.
- Accelerator rod,
accelerator lever: Black oxide.
- Engine accessory
braided ground strap: Natural, no paint or plating.
- Fender bolts, fender
bolt washers: Black oxide.
- Heater/heater shroud: Semi-gloss
to gloss black lacquer. Generally, more shine than the engine compartment.
- Front springs:
- Shock absorbers: Gloss
- Power steering pump:
Gloss black enamel.
- Power steering
brackets: Semi-gloss black enamel. Some brackets may actually look like a cross
between semi-gloss and gloss black.
- PCV- hose clips: Black
- Ignition wire dividers:
- Some of the preceding
information was used by permission from Terje K. Larsens
Mainpage. Thank you, Terje!
- Another place this information
appears, and includes some very useful hints on detailing your car's components as well,
is the Resto Shop at Team Chevelle.