View Full Version : Correct paint color for wheels

Terry Lange
12-11-2012, 01:39 AM
I am finally nearing the completion of the restoration of my '59 Comet Olds. I will be dropping off the wheels tomorrow for sandblasting and powder coating, before mounting Coker bias ply tires on them. My factory setup has the dog dish hubcaps and trim rings, so more of the wheel is exposed than with a full wheel cover. Should these wheels be painted gloss black, or semi-gloss? All of the underhood components have been painted in semi-gloss, but since the body is a very deep gloss black, should the wheels match the body or the undercarriage?

Paul Steinberg
12-11-2012, 05:55 AM
In 1959, GM painted the rims in body color, unless the car came equipped from the factory with full wheel covers, and in that case, they were semi gloss black.
I suggest that you use paint, rather than powder coat, since powder coat can chip, and once water gets under the powder coat, the metal will rust severely, since it can't get out. I have seen this first hand on parts of my tractor that were powder coated, and others were painted. The painted surfaces are still rust free, although after 10 years of being out in the elements, it has dulled. The powder coat still looks shiny, but it has pealed on the edges and the metal has rusted. One attachment that was fully powder coated, rusted so badly, that it was not usable and junked. There are two types of powder coat, one is extremely flexible and doesn't chip, and the other (most common) is like a rigid plastic, that chips and cracks. I see powder coat as an expensive alternative that isn't as good as the original process used when the car was new. Unlike paint, once applied, it is difficult to remove totally, and unlike paint, it can't be repaired. How difficult is it going to be to find replacement original wheels if you were to need them? Is powder coat really worth the risk, and it cost more than paint.

Matthew Taylor
12-11-2012, 11:50 AM
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3551/3476854569_b6d08f0ce8_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcslbf/3476854569/)
F150 Wheels (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcslbf/3476854569/) by pcsmoroute66 (http://www.flickr.com/people/pcslbf/), on Flickr

These are Gloss Black Powder Coated Aluminum wheels on my F150 from 4 years ago. I had them balanced on the inside only, and they have lasted just fine. I do also run a second set of wheels with snow tires in the winter - I suspect that your '59 Olds won't see much winter use.

John ED Renstrom
12-11-2012, 01:22 PM
the car most likly will not see the grind of daily driver use, so for me it's a matter of use what is cheapest. why waste money were it doesn't count. but you do need a good finish on the wheels. I have not so far been able to determine if CB was buying incomplete cars from GM or not. if they were incomplete then how the wheels came would be a guess. the wheels on the Caddy Commercial chassis were supplied un painted with only the factory sealer on them that's the gray tone you see. the spare in my 72 cb military ambulance was semi black/factory wash paint same as infer fenders. as were the ones on the ground. same as the one in the 72 Seville. the wheels on the ground have been repainted on it. me I would paint them gloss color in any medium you wanted. I don't recall a dog dish hubcap that was not on a painted wheel. but they only painted the outside. most of the full wheel covers were put on a primed wheel. who cared if they rusted under the shinny trim. but the spar is the only one that will give a clue as to what they were. that is as long as it's not been redone each year newer the got cheaper with there finished product.