A frame question from a Danish restorer

July 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


It was with great interest that I read about the methods and products suggested in the article on frame restoration (Auto Restorer, March 2011, pages 14-17).

Does the Mechanic on Duty have any suggestions on where to look for information about which products and methods were used by the automobile factories to coat the frames back in the days? What I particularly have in mind is the practices used by the Big Three during the 1960s and early 1970s. Was there ever any available documentation of that?


I’m not aware of a single source that details the products and methods used by all of the major manufacturers to coat the chassis of all of the vehicles they produced in the 1960s and early ’70s.

There are many marque-specific books, magazine articles and Web sites that explain in detail how the cars and trucks were originally built and how to restore them to a correct factory configuration, and, as usual, there are many more of these resources for the more popular vehicles such as Mustangs, Corvettes, the GTO, 1955-57 Chevrolets, Ford pickups, etc.

Having said all of this, the overwhelming majority of car and truck chassis manufactured during the 1960s and ’70s (as well as the vast majority made both before and after these decades) were coated with some shade of semiflat (or, if you prefer, semi-gloss) black enamel paint.

Complicating the task of compiling a comprehensive and accurate accounting of chassis finishes for all vehicles is the fact that there are typically a lot of variations for most vehicles over the course of time, and even over the span of individual model years.

(Editor’s note: I don’t remember the last time, if ever, that we have received an inquiry from a reader in Denmark, so when this message came in I immediately contacted Jeppe to ask him about the state of the vintage vehicle hobby in his country and to tell us something about the cars he owns. His report can be found on pages 24-25.)