I still wasn't finished with these just yet. They were starting to look really good, but they needed the final push and the last bit of detail to truly set them off.
Once the wheels were back home and fully unmasked, I set about to remove the grey paint from the machined areas surrounding the "windows", and the outer rim edges. The other area I felt these needed help with, was this outer rim edge. In stock form, the paint color stops here at this edge:
Here's a pic of a stock wheel "borrowed" from the Internet:
To me, it seemed that these two machined surfaces side by side just seemed too wide, in turn making the wheel appear to be smaller than it actually was. With that in mind, I thought it would look much better if the inner machined surface was painted as well.
You may have noticed that I did not mask off the areas I'm talking about after they came out of the blast cabinet and before paint.
My reasoning for doing this is because aluminum oxidizes very quickly (within about 6 hours of being disturbed), and I wanted the etch primer to take hold as soon as possible after blasting. The time it would have taken me to mask off these areas on all 4 wheels prior to painting the grey would've taken me far too long, likely past my 6 hour window.
The downside of this decision however, was that I now had a huge painstaking task ahead of me in removing the paint from the unwanted areas. I didn't want to sand the paint off, as this would have left behind sanding scratches, and I definitely didn't want that.
I didn't see the point in taking any pics of this process, but all the grey was removed from the unwanted areas with Q-Tips dipped in lacquer thinner. Yup, you read that right. By hand, a tiny bit at a time.
I'm not at liberty to say exactly HOW long it took me to do this, but it's ridiculous!
If anyone's curious, it took just over 500 double ended Q-Tips to completely remove all the paint from these areas on all 4 wheels!
Here's the end result with the painted center cap installed:
Worth it? Most definitely in my opinion.
Nearing the end of the project, I sourced out two used center caps in better condition than the ones I had, from a website called Hubcaps.com. They were very friendly and helpful, and even went so far as to email me pics of what they had ahead of time for my approval.
Also in anticipation of completing the restification, I was able to locate the correct lug nuts for this style of wheel here in my city. They use an integrated washer, and are apparently commonly referred to as "Corvette" style. Up until now, I had just been using a standard shank style lug nut with double washers to prevent them from bottoming out on the studs.
This is what they're actually SUPPOSED to use:
The chrome on the center caps should tie in nicely with the chrome lug nuts.
Which finally brings me to today. One more final trip back to the shop, this time to lock everything in with a couple coats of clear. The fronts obviously received two coats of clear, but the backsides did as well to hopefully cut down on the amount of brake dust buildup. If nothing else, it'll seal off the pores of the aluminum, and hopefully make them last another 37 years!
Next weekend will be a biggie for me, I'll be taking the wheels in to have the raised white letter BFG radial T/A's I picked up last year mounted on 'em. That should really set off the old school look I'm after!
After I get the wheels and tires mounted on the car next weekend, I'll post up some pics of the final, finished end result. I think it should look great!
Who says old school, painted wheels can't look good in this age of big rims and bling?
Thanks for tuning in everyone. Check back next weekend once they're installed on the car finally!