While we're spoiled these days with an aftermarket that reproduces parts unimaginable only a few years ago, not everything is available, especially if you're dealing with an "off-brand" project. When it comes to exterior trim or rear light lenses, often the only solution is to spend weeks or longer searching swap meets, trawling eBay, scouring the Internet, or giving up altogether and losing the trim or swapping the lights for something easier to source.
Mother's headlight restoration kit is designed to restore dull plastic headlights, but doe
Plastic taillight lenses in particular are not only susceptible to getting broken, but fade with age. However, when Mothers sent us products to bring the paint and trim back to life on the '56 Buick we tackled a few months back they included a product that we had no use for at the time, their PowerBall 4Lights headlight restoration kit. Having used it on our Art Director Aaron Kahan's late-model daily driver and seeing how well it brought the dull foggy plastic lenses back to life, we figured it may just work on old red plastic taillight lenses too.
First we tried a pair of very faded '59 Cadillac lenses. These repro made-in-Taiwan lenses had dulled to the point of being unusable, and while they didn't return to their original condition, the Mothers' kit certainly brought them back to being acceptable again. Next we went to work on the original lenses from the Purple Pig project '49 Chevy. Stripping the lights to their component parts so we could clean and restore them inside and out, we were pleased with the results. Though once they'd lost their dull appearance it was obvious there was nothing we could do to improve the few cracks that 60-plus years of exposure to Mother Nature's elements had caused.
Using a dull, faded, Taiwanese-made '59 Cadillac light as an example, we hit it with the P
They were, however, vastly improved and acceptable for another few years of service. So much so that we sandblasted and painted the housing, polished the blue dots, and did what we could to bring the chrome back to life on the bezel. If we'd planned ahead these bezels would have made perfect subjects for our "Chrome Sweet Chrome" article on page 70 of this issue, but of course our usual lack of planning meant we didn't think of this until it was too late. It should be pretty obvious from the accompanying pictures though that with fresh chrome, these taillights could be bolted right back on and reused. Guess we'd better restore the second light and place them on the parts shelf for a future project then, huh?
Though there may be any number of products on the shelves of your local auto parts store,
The difference between "before" and "after" is obvious, though the cheap and lousy quality
Having already used Mothers' PowerCone on other projects, I figured it'd be perfect to pol