Lotus Elan

Dashboard Eyeball Vent Knobs

PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:21 am

Like a good number of you, the chrome plating on my eyeball knobs had long since worn off, leaving a fetching brown finish. I had painted them silver - better then nothing but not as original. The knobs could be vapour chrome coated but it's a bit of a job to do.

Recently I found something on the internet that might be of interest. It's Molotow Liquid Chrome that comes in a pen. I bought a 1mm pen and tried it - it was impressive and close to a true chrome finish. However, the problem with these paints is that you can't touch the surface afterwards, it just goes grey. The same thing happens when you try to apply lacquer - the lacquer reacts with the metal particles in the chrome paint and you get grey again.

Then I discovered a lacquer that does not react with the liquid chrome. Its Liquitex Professional High Gloss Finish varnish - an acrylic water based varnish. Note that other water based varnishes I tried do react.

So I painted the knob face only with the Liquid Chrome, and then a day later coated the face only with the Liquitex. A photo is attached, which does not really do it justice - you can see your face in it.

The Liquitex is a flexible varnish so it might wear off if rubbed over a long time, but on a knob face it's worth a try. I kept the knurled part of the knob silver for this reason - even the original chrome plating would have looked similar IMHO.

So for ?15-20 you can have nicer knobs - if you want to give it a try.

Dave Chapman.
dsc03591.jpg and
Eyeball knob with "Chrome" and Lacquer
Last edited by david.g.chapman on Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Hawksfield » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:51 pm


That's a good result also good for other chrome plastic parts that require repair

well done


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PostPost by: Bud English » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:49 pm

That looks really good Dave. Both products you used are available here in the US, as well, through art stores and Amazon.

How did you apply the Liquitex? Here, it doesn't appear to be sold as an aerosol. I just wonder what effect brushing it on will have on the chrome finish. I suppose it could be air brushed. I'm thinking that it might also work over the top of the Rust-Oleum Chrome spray. That is brilliant until you touch it or try to top coat it, making it turn grey.

That might work on the interior lights as well. They have the chrome applied to the back side of the plastic lens body. Applying the chrome paint to the backside doesn't work, as the chrome finish floats to the top surface of the paint leaving the under side grey.
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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:44 pm

The liquitex comes in a bottle and I just brush it on. You have to wait a day for the liquid chrome to completely dry first.
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PostPost by: TeeJay » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:49 am

Look good Dave, thanks for putting up the information. :D
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