Automotive Trim and Hardware; Review of Restoration Book

trim-repair0318-smallAfter spending way too much time and money on eBay looking for replacement trim for a project car I decided there must be a better way. When a little aluminum trim piece over a headlight costs as much as two tanks of gas for the tow truck something is wacky!

I had the original piece but it was bent and dented. I had taken it to a chrome chop for straightening and polishing but they refused to work on it. I know it takes a special skill set and unique tools but it appeared to be very salvageable to me. In reality I believe they realized it could be done but they could not do it and get me to pay what it would cost to repair. This is a common problem in the car restoration world, if you can’t do it yourself get ready to pay big bucks.

I picked up a book by Motorbooks by John Gunnell, How to Restore Automotive Trim and Hardware. It is part of their Workshop series and as usual an excellent resource. I read it from cover to cover and I am excited about trying out what I learned. Unfortunately, I have not yet started. There is the investment in tools and supplies which I have yet to make.


If the winter provides me with the opportunity to acquire the necessary items I still have several trim parts that need attention and I think this could be a rewarding experience.

In this book the author with the help of master craftsman Jeff Lilly covers the repair of stainless steel and aluminum trim, decorative strips, fenders, bumpers, hub caps, wheel covers, door and trunk handles, and more. Who hasn’t had a least one of those problems to deal with?

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Bright Metal Auto Trim

Chapter 2: Types of Trim Damage

Chapter 3: Introduction to the Restoration of Metal Moldings

Chapter 4: Proper Removal and Replacement of Trim Molding

Chapter 5: Metal Working Techniques

Chapter 6: Refinishing Techniques

Chapeter 7: Restoring Other Types of Metal Trim

Chapter 8: speciality Finished Metal Trim and Genuine Wood Trim

Chapter 9: “Chrome-Plated” plastic Trim

Chapter 10: Other Metal and Plastic Trim

Chapter 11 Helpful Modern Coating Methods


There are excellent color photographs throughout the book that show before and after of damaged items, tools you will need, supplies that are required and well as demonstrations of techniques to use. Not only does the author tell you the tools you will need but he also provides a list of sources for all items.

This is a great book and at $24.99 full retail (can easily find it for much less on line) how can you go wrong?

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