Lotus Elan

Rechroming +2 front and rear lights

PostPost by: mr.vman » Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:12 am

I have a +2 (69) The front and rear lights are "pitted". To rechrome, the light bulb sockets would need to be removed. On the rear tail-lights, the light-bulb sockets are "crimped" into place, I assume, the same for the front lights. Has anyone "uncrimped" the bulb holders? Has anyone had any success replacing the "bulb"holders,( make a special crimp tool?) after chroming. The "back up" lights, appear to have some type of rivet, holding them on. Has anyone done this before? Can a chrome shop here in the states be recommended? Any idea on price? If anyone has a good pair of front lights let me know. Thanks for the help, Im in Arizona USA. Steve V.
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:37 am

The front outer corner marker lights are hard to find from what I gather. How bad is your pitting? Are you restoring your car to like new condition? Eric
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:14 pm

I've had some similar items re-chromed, but it is an expensive process and the results can't be guaranteed. The metal is mazak, and the pitting has to be ground out (each pit!) and metal filled. Then the whole is copper plated, then chrome plated. As you can imagine, it's a very labour intensive bit of work, and the repaired bits can 'blow out' when it's being copper or chrome plated. Not many companies will take it on, some reckoning that it only works 50% of the time.
You are probably better off hunting out those 'new old stock' items that appear on eBay occasionally. Alternatively, Paul Matty has had the rear lights remade, and rumor has it that he's just had the fronts remade as well. You are looking at something like ?160 / $300 a corner, or a cool ?1200 for a car set. What price perfection, though? :shock:
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PostPost by: schroeder » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:38 am

Mazak....Hmm... I always thought they were made from reconstituted cumcumber or something equally useless. Now I know the proper name, thanks.D

As Mark notes this is not a good base material to chrome. Having said that if you want to give it a go I would recommend Pauls Chrome http://www.paulschrome.com/. They are experienced restoration chrome refinishers. Did an outstanding job on my bumpers and window frames.

If anyone can do it they can.

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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:05 pm


I would be interested in how much this would cost?

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PostPost by: gerrym » Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:06 am


in my experience the Mazak fittings can be sucessfully rechromed: you need an experienced shop and its not cheap. For UK readers I would absolutely recommend Derby Chrome Platers. Compared to the small amount of work I sent elsewhere their quality is outstanding. No wonder some professional restorers EXCLUSIVELY use them.

Regarding stripping down the light castings:
For the rear lights, it is necessary to drill out the Mazak casting "lugs" that secure the square metal box (for reversing light) and the horizontal separator that prevents light stray between indicator and tail/brake bulbs (Federal spec will be different)
For the front lights, there is a separate zinc casting for the indicator NOT chromed that also needs to be removed by drilling out the lugs.
In both cases reassembly with rivets etc is required.
For the rear lights, the crimped in bulb holders were left in place whilst being rechromed. Same for the front parking light holder. The net effect is that the bulb holders end up being chrome plated on the outside.

Keep in mind that the final process if you choose the right shop and pay the requisite price, will in all probability have a much higher quality than the originals or any "reproduction"


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PostPost by: theelanman » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:39 pm

try these guys too


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PostPost by: christoph » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:32 pm

That looks good, have you used it :?: ,
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PostPost by: seaandmoor » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:52 am

Hi all,
Sorry to go over old ground again but I goggled derby chrome and it comes up with 10 companies all doing the same in derby!
Can anyone give me the contact details of the company recommended by gerrym, jono and others who have obviously been pleased with their work.
Thanks very much
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:04 pm

I?ve been looking at my rear light surrounds over the last couple of years with the constant thought ? ?they need polishing and replating to get rid of the pitting?.

Filling the pits is an old possible bodge, but all the plating will need to be chemically removed first, and will remain a concern as it will not be an absolute permanent fix. If the pits are not too deep the best remedy is to get them polished out and rechromed.

Chrome plated Mazak was standard for door furniture and external bright trim and was always prone to pitting due to suspect plating processes. It?s somewhat of an irony that not long after a much improved chrome plating process was introduced by the automotive supply industry the automotive world turned to plastic for door furniture and trim parts.

This is a company that some of the Jaguar fraternity use has been highly recommended, and as they are reasonably close to where I live, I shall give them a go.
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PostPost by: gerrym » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:44 pm

Hi Seandmoor,

Derby is Derby Plating Sevices Ltd, 148 Abbey Street Derby DE22 3SS 01332 382408. Not sure if they are big into the interweb.

Regarding removal of the bulb fittings, simply remove the gubbins (springs, contacts, insulator etc) and get the rest of the bulb socket plated with the body. If you remove the pressing, doubt you will ever get it back in.

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PostPost by: memnon » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:38 pm

After a house move, an internet reconnection and finally a computer break down, I can finally post again!

I have used Marque Restore and can't fault their work. However, getting parts to them is a bit like sening them into a black hole.

The estimate is always too short (a lot too short) and phoning / emailing, sometimes even turning up in person will not guarantee a result!

Their work is great, but don't plan for a fast turn around on the process.

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:10 pm

memnon wrote: However, getting parts to them is a bit like sending them into a black hole.

The estimate is always too short (a lot too short) and phoning / emailing, sometimes even turning up in person will not guarantee a result!


Sounds like every chroming company I've ever sent stuff to. They all seem to have more work than they can cope with and I usually send stuff off with all fingers crossed and a feeling that I'll never see some of it /all of it again.

If anyone's come across the Ogri cartoons in the back of Bike magazine you may have seen the one where Malcolm sends off a box of Triumph bits to "Crummo chroming" only for Ogri to find them for sale in a back street dealers some months later (pre ebay days!). In this case it ends well due to Ogri's "five knuckle" charm but for me it's heart in mouth time whenever the box is handed over to the courier still trying to balance whether rust pitted but here is better than replated but maybe lost. And that's without the cost of the whole thing.

I've tried DIY plating in the past to keep the bits in my possession and been reasonably successful with zinc and nickel but chrome uses nasty chemicals (= hard for an individual to get hold of in the UK) and is expensive to set up so really there's not much alternative to sending bits out. Trying to decide which company to use seems to be similar to choosing a builder - stab in the dark with yellow pages / google or see if you can find a recommendation from someone, but for every glowing report there seems to be an equal number of horror stories.

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PostPost by: david.g.chapman » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:06 pm

I know this is going to sound dubious - but I am wondering what finish you can get with chrome paint :shock:

Normally with a large chromed surface such as a bumper there is no way you can get away with chrome paint. But we are talking about narrow strips of visible "chrome". The surface pits could be filled and then flatted as smooth as you can get (chrome paint will show any imperfection) - then chrome painted, then lacquered to finish.

I suppose you could strip it all off if the finish was no good.

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PostPost by: jono » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:41 am

Well, I dropped off some parts at Derby Chrome Plating Services on Friday.

Having gulped at the price and once again pondered the complete economic madness of restoring old cars, I left feeling confident however that my parts are in good hands.

They will do Mazak by the way and seem pretty confident as to results.

I will update on the results when I collect them in the next month or so.

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