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Customs The chrome steering column mystery

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by gtokid70, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. gtokid70
    Joined: Jul 30, 2015
    Posts: 111


    Well i bought a car last year, not knowing much of its history. The car had many custom features, grill, louvers,taillights ect. I did manage to track down some history on the build, finding out that the car was built around 84. I was able to see some early pictures of the car ( a little beat up ) but one thing i did notice was it already had a chrome steering column. Now to my knowledge, chroming a column in a 57 ford isn't a 10 minute job , chrome appears aged ,so my question is WHY would somebody go to all this trouble was it a common thing in the past? 20190207_080958.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-A520W using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  2. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,400


    Chromed columns weren't uncommon, there were some aftermarket suppliers of columns that came chrome right from new, and other guys would cut up a chrome plated piece of tubing to make a new sleeve for the column and maybe just have the end piece plated. Are you sure that's a factory '57 column that was chromed and not an aftermarket part?
    loudbang likes this.
  3. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,954

    The Shift Wizard

    The rod and custom culture has been serviced by many industries, including chrome plating shops. The influence between the car owners and the service owners and employees works both ways. So often folks in the plating business will also be rod and custom owners themselves. What you have might be a day at the beach for someone in the chrome plating business while seeming complicated to the rest of us outside the business. You're right, though. It is a mystery...... but only because we don't know the simple backstory.
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  4. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,075

    Atwater Mike

    My '55 F100 was all prettied up by the original owner, who worked at the Ford Plant in Milpitas, Ca. (San Jose) bought it right at the plant.
    He pulled the NEW steering mast jacket and shift linkage, and had it chromed with the emergency brake handle and the vent handle, while the truck was at Toupal's being upholstered.
    A few cars/trucks in the shows then had chromed steering mast jackets ('columns', for the unwashed) They were always a 'finishing touch'.

    The one in question is a stock piece that has been chromed. (everything unbolts, easier than you think; but the chrome shop might have it a week...easier to have an extra to chrome!)
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  5. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 15,490


    It's just nuts and bolts, and maybe a few special clips, to remove that mast jacket. It was common to chrome anything that would fit in the tanks back in the day when chrome was more affordable.
  6. And looking at the truck it was probably built as a show piece. HRP

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  7. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,968


    It might be something as simple as Mercury columns may have been chrome from factory. Easy switch. Just a thought.
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  8. gtokid70
    Joined: Jul 30, 2015
    Posts: 111


    Well its definitely a orginal column, it came originally a 3 on the tree and it looks like by the outline of where the shifter was mounted, its very possible it was done when the shifter was still on the column ( thinner or worn chrome). Car originally came from California ,crossed into Canada around 83 ,looking stock and beatup , but lots can happen in all those years . If only cars could talk. I did also notice the gas pedal arm is also chromed ?

    Sent from my SM-A520W using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  9. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 6,519

    Bandit Billy

    If you cant eat it or sleep with it, CHROME IT! And seriously, put a run of black electrical tape under that hose clamp, it will keep it from scratching and the clamp wont slide around on the smooth shiny stuff.
  10. Someone wanted a street rod so they chromed it
  11. fordrodsteven
    Joined: Apr 1, 2017
    Posts: 99


    The column in my '55 Bird is all chrome. (original)
  12. I don't think thats unusual at all. Lots of cars back in the day had the columns chromed. I had the Mustang column chrome plated that I put in my coupe back in 1976 or so. I wanted to have the column in my 56 Chebby plated too but the cost of chrome has skyrocketed since the 70s so I passed on it.I like chrome, so did the previous owner of your truck I guess.
  13. Three Widow's Garage
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 206

    Three Widow's Garage

    Could have just been a kid with a job at the chrome shop running some parts after hours for his own car.
  14. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,425

    from Quincy, IL

    Chroming everything in sight was very common in the late'50s/'60's.......just look at the hot rod/custom car mags from the period.........chromed undercarriages..with the car tilted on jack stands (also chromed) and mirrors under to show the the why not a very visible steering column?
  15. show points
  16. Why? Someone wanted a shiny steering column?

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  17. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,075

    Atwater Mike

    It was very cool to do...extra glitter, easy to clean. My '32 five window had column and '39 pedals chromed, to match the tall gearshift stick.
    I bought a black '56 Chev in '59 with a chrome dash! Yep...whole thing was chrome.
    The ditz that had it done let it sit in his living room for months, forgot where wires went...sold it to me REAL cheap. When I hooked up a few wires and charged the battery, started it and drove it out he was UPset!
    He was a fry cook, I was a mechanic...LOL
    Chrome dash! Shades didn't help, funny...Had a 3 spoke Bell wheel, Moon gas dash! Sold it at night. LOL

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