Author Topic: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim  (Read 3494 times)

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Offline Tinman5

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All—

I’ve seen a few un-restored 50th Anniversary Trans Ams since purchasing mine in 1995 and always noticed that the wheels, headlight buckets, and grilles were a lighter, brighter tint of gold (closely matching the original stripes) than mine.  I always chalked it up to the fact my car had been repainted by a friend of the previous owner in 1992 and that he had chosen one of the darker “bronze” tints from the hood bird for all three items.

Last year as I was preparing for the Bandit Run, I decided to restore the honeycomb wheels on my 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am.  Under the hexagonal center caps, what appeared to be the original “brighter” gold paint was still intact.

Using the original lacquer paint code as a base, I had a shop mix up a quart.  It was VERY close to the shade of gold under the center caps and I had the shop tint it to match it perfectly.

The wheels came out looking GREAT.  The problem was, the headlight buckets and grilles were still the darker “bronze” tint.  I did not have time to pull them off and repaint them to match so I just ran the Bandit Run with the mismatched pieces (see following photograph):



There were three other 50th Anniversary T/As on the run.  None had been restored and appeared to have the lighter gold on the headlight buckets and grilles.  Again, I just assumed that my headlight buckets and grilles had been repainted the wrong tint of gold in 1992.

Fast forward to March of this year…I pulled off the headlight buckets and grilles with the intention to repaint them to match.  In sanding down the headlight buckets, I broke through to bare metal in a few places where the paint was thin.  There was no evidence of any primer and (unlike the honeycombs) there was no color change through the sanded layers.  I went ahead and painted the headlight buckets the same color as the wheels.  When compared to the grilles, I was really shocked at the difference in color:




In looking closely at the grilles, I cannot find any evidence of a repaint.  So now, I’m second guessing myself.  Were the headlight buckets and grilles painted a different shade of gold than the wheels?  Did the color somehow darken over time?  I did some searching around on the internet and started seeing evidence that there are 50ths out there with darker grilles and headlight buckets compared to the wheels.

I’d hate to paint over the original paint on the grilles particularly given their excellent condition and am thinking of repainting the headlight buckets to match—although I think it is odd having that much of a difference in the tints and would prefer to match the wheels.

Is there anyone out there that can shed some light on this for me??

Thanks,

Tinman5
"If you don't make dust, you eat dust."

1939 Silver Streak (street rod)
1973 Trans Am
1974 Grand Am
1976 Trans Am (50th Anniversary, 400ci/350 auto)
1979 Trans Am (10th Anniversary, 400ci/four speed)

Offline Rick

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 04:25:35 PM »
Wow!  That's pretty dramatic.  How do the colors on Hammer's car stack up? ???

Offline ta78w72

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 05:29:19 PM »
That's a beautiful car!

Offline Joker (§ir£Ðragon)

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 05:47:40 PM »
That darker color looks way too dark to me.

Here's Hammer's car.

Larry


Offline Joker (§ir£Ðragon)

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2009, 05:52:12 PM »
Here's a side by side comparison.

Larry


Offline Tinman5

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2009, 07:28:47 PM »
Thanks, Larry...although you never know for certain if the colors are being properly represented given the light conditions, putting the two cars "virtually" side-by-side does make it look like my original assumption that the grilles were painted the darker tint may be true after all even if I can't easily determine they were repainted.

Anyone out there with a low-mile 50th that could take a quick snapshot of their grilles?

Tinman5
"If you don't make dust, you eat dust."

1939 Silver Streak (street rod)
1973 Trans Am
1974 Grand Am
1976 Trans Am (50th Anniversary, 400ci/350 auto)
1979 Trans Am (10th Anniversary, 400ci/four speed)

Offline Joker (§ir£Ðragon)

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2009, 07:52:31 PM »
Not being able to determine if they were repainted doesn't mean they weren't (which I'm sure you already know.) It just means that if they were someone did it right. (even if they chose a color that wasn't quite correct). That to me would indicate that someone really cared about how it was done which is a nice thing to know.
Larry


Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 08:41:24 PM »
After looking at tons of pictures of '76 LE's over the past couple of years, I too have noticed that the gold used on the '76's always appears a bit darker (more of a bronze tone) than that on the '77-'81 SE's (though they all use the same paint code for the gold trim).

When my PPG guy mixed the gold for me (based on the factory formula), it did give me the darker shade (which I actually prefer).
I don't doubt the code or his ability as the other colors he's done for me have been dead-on...just one of those mysteries I guess  ;) :D
Jeff

Projects:
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1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline rcombs

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 08:46:36 AM »
One of the great mysteries of the Special/Anniversary Edition world:  what is the paint code for the "anniversary gold" as it is referred to  on the 76's.  One thing to consider in the quest for matching up the original paint/trim is that laquers tend to darken with age when exposed to the elements, hence the somewhat bronzing look you get.  The adverse environmental effect of laquers and the fact that they are not as durable as the paints we use today are the reasons you don't find them used anymore. When I am doing the same work on my 76 Anniversary Edition, I take in an SE stripe from my kit and I just have my paint guy match it up the best he can, as long as it matches, I wouldn't be too worried about it.   Car looks great! 

Offline Tinman5

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 08:48:27 AM »
Hey Tinman5,

I looked at my grills again and my grills are only slightly darker than my headlight buckets.  This may be due to different paint that was used on it's plastic pieces.  It does look as if my grills darkened over time on the plastic grills.  They may very well have been the same color at one point as my grills are only slightly darker. 

Incidentally, I parked next to Big Enos's 50th last year and our headlight buckets and grills matched perfectly.  It may very well be that they tarnished the same over 33 years or that they were that color from the factory.  But my headlight buckets do match my wheels perfectly. 



I'm concluding I should just go ahead and repaint my grilles the same gold as the wheels and headlight buckets.

I don't know if I can quickly locate a set of '76 grilles, but I think I'd rather stash the originals if possible.

Hammer, if there's a way you can take a high-resolution photograph of a headlight bezel and a part of one of the grilles and post it here, I'd appreciate it.  I suspect the gold on my grilles is quite a bit darker but would like to confirm.

Thanks,

Tinman5
"If you don't make dust, you eat dust."

1939 Silver Streak (street rod)
1973 Trans Am
1974 Grand Am
1976 Trans Am (50th Anniversary, 400ci/350 auto)
1979 Trans Am (10th Anniversary, 400ci/four speed)

Offline Tinman5

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 08:51:15 AM »
One of the great mysteries of the Special/Anniversary Edition world:  what is the paint code for the "anniversary gold" as it is referred to  on the 76's.  One thing to consider in the quest for matching up the original paint/trim is that laquers tend to darken with age when exposed to the elements, hence the somewhat bronzing look you get.  The adverse environmental effect of laquers and the fact that they are not as durable as the paints we use today are the reasons you don't find them used anymore. When I am doing the same work on my 76 Anniversary Edition, I take in an SE stripe from my kit and I just have my paint guy match it up the best he can, as long as it matches, I wouldn't be too worried about it.   Car looks great! 

Randy--

That's extremely helpful to know, I never knew that about lacquer...it will be interesting to see how the trim pieces change color over the years as the paint we mixed up is lacquer.

Thanks again,

Tinman5
"If you don't make dust, you eat dust."

1939 Silver Streak (street rod)
1973 Trans Am
1974 Grand Am
1976 Trans Am (50th Anniversary, 400ci/350 auto)
1979 Trans Am (10th Anniversary, 400ci/four speed)

Offline rcombs

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 10:04:45 AM »
The bezels were painted with a laquer, hence the bronze look you get which sometimes gets mistaken for the original color....take off the rings of one and compare that to what you see (exposed area), you can really see the difference.....

Offline ScottD3

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 01:47:59 PM »
Also when cleared the color gets darker, the original grills were not cleared on the 77-78's when I cleared a set it sure did darken up so I have an nos set and compared the 2 and they match the stripes more than the cleared set.

Offline Tinman5

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Re: 1976 50th Anniversary Trans Am - need help with gold painted trim
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2009, 08:43:29 AM »
Randy, I extremely appreciate your input on this enigma. I'd forgotten about the lacquer paint and it darkening over time.  Thanks. 

Tinman, I am getting my car out of storage around the end of the month.  I probably will not get to your request for three weeks.  But I will get it done.  And yes, headlight buckets are the same color as my pinstripes.  Yours look a little darker than mine now. 

 

Thanks, Michael!

I haven't compared the headlight buckets to the pin stripes yet (when the car was repainted in '92, the previous owner had a set of original NOS stripes as well as all the decals) as the car is stil under wraps at the hangar.  But since I used the same paint as the wheels and the wheels are now a dead-on match to the stripes, I have no reason to believe the buckets won't do the same.

I've got a lead on some '76 grilles and will stash the originals if I can get them.  If that falls through, I think I'll go ahead and paint the ones I have the brighter gold.

Tinman5
"If you don't make dust, you eat dust."

1939 Silver Streak (street rod)
1973 Trans Am
1974 Grand Am
1976 Trans Am (50th Anniversary, 400ci/350 auto)
1979 Trans Am (10th Anniversary, 400ci/four speed)