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View Full Version : What's it made of?


Chris M. Kelley
06-02-2016, 04:37 PM
I wasn't sure where to put this. And I know I'll get bashed for the metallic spray paint, but time was an issue. The ambulance was retired in 1970, so I assume these sat in their location found for the past 46 years... Under water, and it wasn't clean water. It was subject to many flash floods over the years. The fact that it was still intact amazed me, b/c there were S&S hubcaps, too, and they were so brittle they fell apart when I picked them up.

I just want to know what its made of, so I can get the proper agent to clean the other, which is in REALLY bad shape. I found these while cleaning today, and they came from a '59 S&S, the first ambulance the company I work for had. I was given permission to take them. But my intent is to take this one (which has the town croppped off) and mount it to an oak plaque and give it to the first captain, whom is still active, as a gift.

I could not find anything to clean chrome with, locally. I think they're made of chrome. It's pretty lightweight, I mean, it weighs about as much as a can of pop, and they're just over 18" long, by about 2.5" high.

Here's the pic (of the one I was able to clean up) :

Chris M. Kelley
06-02-2016, 04:42 PM
Maybe it's cast aluminum? Would that have been possible in 1967? That's when it was purchased.

I honestly have no idea what it's made out of, but it looks the same (chrome letters, black spacer, chrome bar, as the lettering on the hearse for the town's oldest funeral home, which still uses their original hearse.

Paul Steinberg
06-02-2016, 06:06 PM
Cast aluminum. If the S & S wheel covers fell apart, then they were either stamped steel or spun brass. Either one would disintegrate if submerged in water for any length of time.

John ED Renstrom
06-02-2016, 10:18 PM
I go with Paul on this one sand them with progressive finer grit paper and then buff. it my understanding aluminum buffs better if you don't get it hot. so buff slow and cool it off

Peter Grave
06-02-2016, 10:53 PM
My two Cents, be very careful buffing the Aluminum it will be brittle from age and break VERY easily. I suggest clean with a mildly abrasive cleaner just one of the commercial cleaners for aluminum will do. Finish the job with very mild not real abrasive grade steel wool. Rub lightly. Finally to get a good chrome like shine Mothers Polish is the way to go. Use soft cloths flannel is what I use. I have done two of my crotch rocket bikes frames over the years they shined just about like chrome when done and I had A LOT of time in them (Oh yeah and sore fingers)

John Royark JR
06-05-2016, 01:47 PM
Maybe it's cast aluminum? Would that have been possible in 1967? That's when it was purchased.

I honestly have no idea what it's made out of, but it looks the same (chrome letters, black spacer, chrome bar, as the lettering on the hearse for the town's oldest funeral home, which still uses their original hearse.

Cast aluminum. Nameplates have been made out of that since at least the 40s, most likely earlier. The same back then as how they are made today for the new hearses, not much special about them (other than the history). They were-and still are-offered in brushed, polished, or chromed finishes.