Hi, so according to this source:
hubcaps where never chrome but they are available from Lang's. Do the nickel ones fade over time is that why people do chrome?
They're done is chrome because it's easier to find platers who will do chrome and probably cheaper.
Chrome retains is gloss without any attention. Nickel can grow dull over time but it is easily polished back to its original luster with SimiChrome polish. Original nickel radiator shells on my car shine like a new silver dollar.
Ignacio -- Nickel doesn't fade, but it will get dull over time. It takes a long time to do that. As Ted said, it's easy to polish, and it's not necessary nearly as often as brass. Nickel has a "warmer" color to it than chrome, which is a bit bluish. It's easy to tell the difference once you have seen them side by side. Nickel looks "right" on a Model T; chrome is too modern-looking. BTW, Lang's is one of the few places where you can still get nickel-plated caps.
I bought a Nickel plated hubcap from Lang's to replace one that disappeared. I can't tell the difference between the reproduction and the originals.
If I'm right in saying nickel is the last process before the chrome goes over the top
i have had some nickel done about 15 years ago and still looks great
If you don't like the chrome look, talk to your parts plater about removing it and laying down bright nickel on it. The guy I use for my plating has stripped the chrome off of several reproduction parts and then plated bright nickel on them. They look great, hold up well, and look "period".
Pay attention to what Mike says above! The reproduction hubcaps are easy to tell. The originals have a letter under the Made in USA like a X, or a W. If you get good nickel, and not the crap an ordinary chrome shop uses, it won't get dull quickly. I have four NOS hubcaps on my car, and I wipe them off once in a while with a soft cotton cloth.
I would say that if you have nickel on your radiator shell and on the headlight rims, you should use nickel on the hub caps too. But if you have chrome on those parts use it on the hub caps.
If the other parts are black, use either one you like best.
Chromed nickel isn't very thick, which is why it doesn't hold up well. The nickel plating has to be thicker than what most chrome shops will do. And yes, chrome looks all wrong on a T, or even on a Model A instrument panel, which should be satin nickel ('28 to mid '30). Sorry, it one of the things that really bugs me when I see a nicely restored A with a bright chrome instrument panel--and bright chrome shift & emergency brake levers--AUGH!! (they too were satin nickle)
I absolutely love nickel finishes ... polished or dull. At one time I was a musical instrument maker, and in particular I made reproductions of early banjos.
On occasion I had to make a brass part and did the nickel plating in a jar with nickel sulfate ... a buffalo nickel and a train transformer. Worked great.
an HO train transformer; a period Lionel, American Flyer, or Marx wouldn't work as they put out AC, not DC.
Just in case someone wants to try it. Buffalo nickels? Not in our change anymore!
Here is a link to an OT OT OT Hot Rod site. If you don't like Hot Rods, don't click on it. But if you want to see lots of nickel plating, here it is. This thread is about the building of a Hot Rod in Austin, TX. They chose to use nickel for plating bunches of parts, rather than the usual chrome. There is more nickel plating shown here than I've seen in quite a while, maybe ever. If all you want to see is the nickel, you can skip page 1 of the thread.
Click at your own risk, and I don't want to hear any complaints about it.