1957 turbine wheel cover painting?

Pink T-Bird

Active Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1957
I'm having the original wheel covers professionally polished, but the shop does not do repainting of the 37 or so black "slots" or the white centers. Can you recommend someone that will do the correct paint application, or alternately has the stencil/template so I can do it myself? If I end up doing it myself, what shade of white is correct for the center section?
I am aware of the black decals, but I prefer painted if possible.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
I don’t know the answer to your question, but wanted to mention that replacement wheel covers are available from CASCO for $162: https://www.classictbird.com/mobile/Hubcap-57-Full-Wheel-Order-4-Per-car/productinfo/1130B/. They aren’t new old stock, so they’re not “original” in that sense; but they are apparently “made from the original tooling.” I just had to replace one of the turbine wheel covers on my 57 because it was cracked; the one from CASCO fits perfectly, and i cannot tell it apart from the originals on my other three wheels. So, depending on the cost of having your originals professionally polished and the time for you to then repaint them yourself, these CASCO replacements might be a more efficient option.

Of course, if you’re purposefully choosing the refurbish the originals rather than replace them, then please disregard. My ‘57 isn’t 100% original anyway, so getting reproduction wheel covers worked fine for me.

(And I’ll be following this thread with interest anyway, because my other three do either need to be polished and repainted or replaced for aesthetic reasons at some point. The white centers are all still fine, but the black slots are pretty scruffy.)
 

Pink T-Bird

Active Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1957
I don’t know the answer to your question, but wanted to mention that replacement wheel covers are available from CASCO for $162: https://www.classictbird.com/mobile/Hubcap-57-Full-Wheel-Order-4-Per-car/productinfo/1130B/. They aren’t new old stock, so they’re not “original” in that sense; but they are apparently “made from the original tooling.” I just had to replace one of the turbine wheel covers on my 57 because it was cracked; the one from CASCO fits perfectly, and i cannot tell it apart from the originals on my other three wheels. So, depending on the cost of having your originals professionally polished and the time for you to then repaint them yourself, these CASCO replacements might be a more efficient option.

Of course, if you’re purposefully choosing the refurbish the originals rather than replace them, then please disregard. My ‘57 isn’t 100% original anyway, so getting reproduction wheel covers worked fine for me.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm kinda a stickler for keeping original parts when I can. Besides mine were in really really great shape for originals, or at least I thought so until Concours 1 judging at CTCI San Antonio last month. No curb rash, no deep scratches, no dents, all white paint intact, but stainless no longer mirror shiny and a lot of the black paint gone. Lost 2 points for wheels and wheel covers.
The polishing shop estimated no more than $100 each to polish, but will not do the paint. My fault, as I apparently misunderstood his definition of 'restore' as a polishing shop versus my definition of 'restore' as a car owner....
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm kinda a stickler for keeping original parts when I can. Besides mine were in really really great shape for originals, or at least I thought so until Concours 1 judging at CTCI San Antonio last month. No curb rash, no deep scratches, no dents, all white paint intact, but stainless no longer mirror shiny and a lot of the black paint gone. Lost 2 points for wheels and wheel covers.
The polishing shop estimated no more than $100 each to polish, but will not do the paint. My fault, as I apparently misunderstood his definition of 'restore' as a polishing shop versus my definition of 'restore' as a car owner....
Concours is a really tough hurdle. It all depends on how 'Perfect' you want to go. Is spending close to $500 worth the two points? At auction will you get your money back if you go that route? I just saw a 'restored' Mustang at the recent Mecham auction that brought big bucks but you could see the rear bumper was crooked in the right rear meeting the sheet metal.
Mine is a driver so I don't fret, More fun driving it than showing it in a formal setting.
 

Pink T-Bird

Active Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1957
Concours is a really tough hurdle. It all depends on how 'Perfect' you want to go. Is spending close to $500 worth the two points? At auction will you get your money back if you go that route? I just saw a 'restored' Mustang at the recent Mecham auction that brought big bucks but you could see the rear bumper was crooked in the right rear meeting the sheet metal.
Mine is a driver so I don't fret, More fun driving it than showing it in a formal setting.
I missed Gold by 13.5 points, so 2 points is a significant piece of what I need. And I drove 2000 miles round trip to the meet.
I’m not worried too much about auction prices, I literally keep my cars forever. I still have 2 of my first 3 cars. One of which consistently awarded gold at that make’s club meets, always slightly higher score each time. Pursuing little things like this, it won best of show at that club’s show this year. Pursuing similar strategy with this car.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
I missed Gold by 13.5 points, so 2 points is a significant piece of what I need. And I drove 2000 miles round trip to the meet.
I’m not worried too much about auction prices, I literally keep my cars forever. I still have 2 of my first 3 cars. One of which consistently awarded gold at that make’s club meets, always slightly higher score each time. Pursuing little things like this, it won best of show at that club’s show this year. Pursuing similar strategy with this car.
If you are going that far I'd polish the heck out of them and find a technique to restore the black in the turbines yourself as it will be labor intensive and I think there was a thread on here about the correct color for the white in the center. If you are going Concours the quality control is in your hands. Replacements won't cut it in that environment.
Nothing like your own handywork to prove to the judges you know what you are doing and you will be so proud of your own work.
 
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Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Thanks Ward57, I just tried to search every permutation of wheel cover paint, hub cap paint, white paint, etc and could not find it. Any clue you can recall about what topic it was under?
Colonial White is pretty much the consensus. As far as the vanes I wouldn't go with decals. They could curl and peal and look worse than worn paint. My car is off getting a new exhaust system so I can't look but if I remember the black is more of an egg shell finish to make them look deeper but not flat black which would collect dirt.
You might reach out to the restoration departments at Hill's or CASCO and see if they have any idea. Also maybe you can contact one of the judges through CTCI and see if they can give you any guidance.
 
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