Customized Suzuki Intruder in French village
Photo: Copyright © 2014 Eelke Blok

Trim trouble... no more

Yes! After having reported about the not-so-great attempt at fitting new chrome trim to the white Cooper, we put a lot of thought into how to proceed. I considered paying someone with a proven track record numerous times, although the thought that we should be able to do this was always present too. One thing was certain; we wouldn't be sattisfied with the trim looking like it did. Certainly not when knowing full well there were Mini's out there that did get it right.

So, after some thought, I decided we should give it another go, but
this time with hot water. Also, we got the tip to put the trim on in
such a way that the short corners it has to make at the bottom of the
wheelarches are in the same direction as the curvature of the roll of
trim. Well, as it turns out, that "tip" cost us another length of trim,
because it meant we had to put what appeared to us as being the top of
the strip, on the bottom (it should be noted, though, there also is
trim available that does not have deferring sides, so in that case,
this could certainly help). It turned out that the top indeed was the
just that, and putting the bottom on top would not get the right result
either. So, that was another length of trim down the drain (remember,
we already put two lengths onto the car using the hot air method, which
were thereby essentially ruined, so that left the score to three down).

However, having a partially destroyed piece of trim, I got a little
bolder. It couldn't get any worse for that particular piece, so I cut
off the ruined bit, and started putting the trim on the right way
around. This got the trim following the curve of the wheel arch quite
nicely, because it meant the curvature of the roll was now following
the wheel arch.

Getting to the bend at the bottom of the wheel arch, we applied a lot
of hot water, and bent the strip ever so slowly in the correct curve.
Then, we widened it up (using a "special tool" created from a small
metal plate, bent to form a little hook on the end) to be able to take
the extra thickness of the combined wheel arch and metal flange on the
body work. Only then we pressed it on. And hey, presto, a flawless
bridge from wheel arch to bodywork.

Eventually, we ended up with a flawless chrome trim along the left side
of the car, except for one slight snag; because I had to cut of a
piece, the trim ended half way along the rear wheel arch. A bit of the
old trim corrected that for a week. Not the best solution, but at least
we now had the technique under control, which was a victory in itself.

This weekend, we brought the whole thing home; we did everything twice
more, now with the one untouched roll of trim we had left from last
week's attempt, and one new one. And now, finally, really ever since
the restoration was "officially" finished, the white Cooper has proper
chrome trim along it's underside. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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