March 15, 2010 at 1:33 am #7065perkinsraParticipant
Feb 27 2010, 3:34 PM
62 F-85/Cutlass/Jetfire Steering Wheel
In completing the restoration of my ’62 Cutlass last year, I had the steering wheel “restored” by one of the professional restoration outfits that advertises in Hemmings Motor News for that service. The original steering wheel was in good shape with a few cracks. In researching the project, I talked to a number of different steering wheel restoration outfits.
All said that the best thing to do would be to re-cast the steering wheel using modern components. This would cause it to be more durable and not crack with future temperature changes. However, to re-cast the wheel a mold was required. If the outfit didn’t have a mold from a previous re-cast, they would need to make one from a good quality steering wheel that I provided. This is an expensive process, costing anywhere from $1500 to $2000. Or, I could have the cracks filled and the wheel repainted for about $300. All the outfits told me that if I did the latter, the wheel would eventually crack again because it still consisted of the old original materials. I was unable to locate a steering wheel restoration shop that had a mold for a ’62 F-85/Cutlass/Jetfire steering wheel, so I went with the cheaper option and had the cracks filled and the wheel repainted. It turned out pretty good and I was happy with the work. Well, sure enough, it hasn’t been even a year and I’m starting to see cracks in the steering wheel. It’s not bad and it will probably look fine for a while longer (I hope), but I’m pretty sure I will need a steering wheel restoration done again. If not for that car, definitely for my current ’62 Jetfire project. So, my question for the world of ’62 F-82/Cutlass/Jetfire owners is: Has any of you had a steering wheel for one of these cars re-cast by a professional restorer that would still have the mold? I’d love to be able to find such a place and avoid the cost of having a mold made for a re-cast of my wheel, if possible. If you have had a re-cast done, can you please tell me the name and contact info of the steering wheel restoration shop that did this work? Thanks for your help, any guidance is much appreciated.
P.S.: As you probably know, the steering wheel for ’62 is unique. The ’61 and ’63 steering wheels are different.April 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm #7076HotwireParticipant
I fixed all the cracks in mine 2 years ago with JB Weld and a dremel tool. I painted it acrylic enamel and nothing has happened to it yet.May 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm #7088
I’m surprised you havent noticed any wear on the paint. What is the source of your paint? I’m not much of a painter. Is your paint available in a pressurized can? While we are at it, I need to have the dash repainted also. What paint should be used for that?December 8, 2011 at 4:59 am #7240
Still need some input on the type of paint to use on the steering wheel and dash. Would sure appreciate the benefit of your experiences.December 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm #7242macf85Participant
I used Rust-oleum’s Painter’s Touch gloss paint in the spray can for both my steering wheel and metal & plastic portions of the dashboard. It’s made for multiple base materials and for indoor or outdoor use. This paint flows out well and is pretty easy for non-professional painters to use. It’s been very durable so far. I separate my key from the chain when I’m driving so the chain doesn’t scratch the dash. If you can’t find a color you need you could probably go to an automotive paint shop and have them match the paint you need. Take the glove box door to the paint shop as a sample. I think most shops now are capable of mixing a small quantity and putting it in a charged canister similar to regular spray bomb cans.
I did the painting about three years ago when I filled the cracks in the steering wheel with 2 part epoxy like J-B Weld. The steering wheel does have some hairline cracks again but not real noticeable. The paint is still glossy but I don’t put many miles on the car. If you’re on a budget, like most of us are, I think it’s more cost effective to fill the cracks & paint it. Steering wheels are easy to remove and redo again if necessary…a heck of a lot cheaper than $2,000 that you could spend on something else you need for the car. Make sure all the surfaces you paint are sanded smooth and prep cleaned thoroughly. Any bare metal should be primed with a primer that is compatible with your top coats.December 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm #7247
Thanks a lot, macf85! I was hoping there was a more practical way to refurbish the steering wheel. And I am glad to hear there is a decent rattle can alternative to firing up and learning how to run a paint gun. I have had paint colors matched and applied from a spray can on two different auto exterior touch-ups with ok results. One even required a clear coat. Thanks again!
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