Help me pick out a color

Jae 'Bird

1st Gear Poster
Joined
Dec 11, 2023
Messages
47
Age
19
Location
Edmonton, Canada
Vehicle Details
1990 Ford Thunderbird Base with PEP 151A, 3.8L NA V-6
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Hey Everyone, back in January I found a 93 bird and I was looking for a gauge cluster, so I picked it up. Then I noticed the car had all four wheels but they looked kinda rough, so I went home. I realized my mistake when I thought about the fact that wheels are always snapped up when I go to the bone yard and that the wheels might not have been as bad as I thought, so I convinced my Dad to go back with his truck and maybe pick 'em up. Well low and behold, they were still there the next day and they were actually very structurally sound with all the lugs and the center caps. So for CAD $140 I got em all and I put them in storage to do something with in the summer. This long winded story is really getting at the fact that now its going to be warming up here soon and I am going to be putting some plan into action for these wheels and I need your help. As you can see, the original coating is peeling off but the wheels themselves are solid (the tires are old and trash) so I am planning on refinishing them in some fashion. I am considering either sanding them down myself or taking them to get sand blasted, and then either taking them for professional paint or doing it myself with maybe rattle can engine enamel? My question is what color should I go with? I wanna do something different as the stock wheels are silver already and I have the chance to change it up. I used my laptop to "paint" the wheels on my car black and kinda liked it. Any input, positive or critical is appreciated, all opinions welcome. (The photo is the car there going on)
 

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Keep them the stock silver. I don't think chrome looks good on anything that isn't a 96-97. Black is for people who think spending $50k on a 4Skinner or Wrangler is a good investment.

I'm old enough to remember when you had to step up from the base model to get rid of the black trim.
 
Black then find a set of the aluminum center caps,

IMG_4871.jpeg

If you stuck with silver I’d just say stick with the original wheels
 
Those are 15s so I wouldnt put any money into them (so sandblasting or professional painting seems a waste to me).
If you take the time to sand them down well, I found Rustoleum brush on enamel paint worked quite well on wheels
I taped off the insides and then painted the wheels with a foam brush
 
I don't have any opinion on color, but I refinished the wheels for our '97 about 5 years ago. They still had the original Ford powder coat on them, but they were pretty rough. It was a lot of elbow grease, but I stripped them down and sanded them and painted them with Rustoleum spray bomb wheel paint. I probably have 3-4 coats of color and 2-3 coats of clear (all on top of primer of course). The silver I used was about as close a match as you could hope for. When I put OEM silver center caps on it you cannot tell a difference.. This car is driven year round and the paint has held up exceedingly well.

Point is that you can refinish wheels by yourself at home and get excellent results that hold up for not a lot of money. As with anything, it is all in the prep.
 
Your Tbird looks very original; nice and clean. IMO factory style wheels would look best on it in a close to original color. Black would look out of place on it. Black reminds me of a few years ago, everyone was blasting the wheels on their clapped out Silverados in black plastidip :sick:.
Loud colors on stock wheels looks too Ronald McDonald
 
My question is what color should I go with? I wanna do something different as the stock wheels are silver already and I have the chance to change it up. I used my laptop to "paint" the wheels on my car black and kinda liked it. Any input, positive or critical is appreciated, all opinions welcome.

I watch a lot of car mod/restoration shows. One in particular, Wheeler Dealers, will many times change the colors of the stock rims (or replace them with period-correct alternatives). Point being that quite a few times what they've done is take the original style rims and had them powder-coated a couple shades darker. So like doing that black tint on rear brake lights sort of approach. They usually look great, like they came that way from the factory, yet they look up-to-date compared to original stock silver or aluminum or whatever. So, not black but like a smoked version of silver, maybe? I suppose it also matters what color the car itself is. So I'd compare to newer BMWs or other cars that came in your car's color and had cool, painted rims, see what looks "normal" for your car.

I would also make sure the center caps are the same color, having them stay silver will make it look like you lost the originals that were the same color as the rims and replaced them with junkyard center caps.
 
Thank you all for the suggestions, I should probably clarify, the original wheels on there now are not getting touched, as they are good condition and original to the car so they will always stay the way they are and can always be put right back on.
 
Aluminum rims respond well to foaming aluminum mag cleaner.Can't use it on chrome, it's the wrong acid.
 

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