Dashboard bead cheat

One of my most favorite details on the TD is the chrome bead that runs around the dashboard, hugging the curves on top and on the bottom and just visible under the vinyl welt that finished the top of the dash.

Originally it was a trim piece, nailed (on the bottom, screwed) on over the rexine covering the dash to give a neat, finished appearance. People who transform to polished wood almost always leave it, since it’s such a juicy decorative contrast between the wood and the painted metal scuttle top.

And it’s a durable bit too, protecting the end grain of the plywood from the worst of the elements.

So I was tickled to death that the beat up original dash I bought came with the beading still attached–both the surround and the glovebox bits. It was rough like the rest of the piece, but I figured a little steal wool and polish would bring it back acceptable.

I was wrong.

The glovebox pieces are OK. Well, one is. The other was turned inside-out when I got it and was stripped nearly to the copper/brass underneath. I decided I liked the contrast and left them like that. I Pelucid-coated the brassy one for good measure.

The main top dash piece, however, is a different story. Pitted and needing a full re-chrome to look nice, I toyed with the idea of paint (krinkle black? center bronze?) and then set about looking for alternatives.

As you may know, Moss Motors carries the part in stock. The full bead kit lists for $223.95 plus shipping.

Of course, one of the great things about a replica is that you can do things non-stock and still hold your head high.

I decided to see if this 1/8-inch chrome bead from Auto Barn might be useable.

Item Name:Custom Chrome Flexible Interior/Exterior Molding (1/8″ Wide)
Item Price:$13.95

Cost me $20.90, shipped. It came today.

Here is a shot of the old part–it’s clean as I can make it. Doesn’t even look that bad. top bead test2

(Until you click on the pic a couple times and get the close-up).

Now here’s a quick and dirty test of the old dash with

1. Some steel tape hastily affixed to the top; andchrome bead cheap2

2. the $14 plastic stick-on chrome bead stuck to the front.

chrome bead cheap 4chrome bead cheap 5Trust me on this: that $14 bead is much nicer. And with the vinyl welt will make the tape part all but disappear. It’s just a tiny bit bigger than the original–so close I doubt one person in a thousand would notice the difference.

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About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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