This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.
Chromed metal is created by electroplating the base element chromium on a surface to provide corrosion protection or aesthetic beauty. Who ever would have thought it would become an art form of sorts. While chromed metal has not lost its significance in the manufacture of automobiles, the traditional form is all but gone. The process of chrome plating is most effective on metal, and metal seems to have become a bit of an enemy in the manufacturing of modern- day motor vehicles.
However, I've noticed in the last year that chrome is being used a bit more on new cars than it has been over most of the last decade. Thin silver strips around windows and doors have reappeared and you'll see occasional chrome door handles. But these little baubles can hardly hold a candle to the vehicle dressings of years past. Those huge shining bumpers and personality-providing grilles, lights and mirrors shall likely never be seen again on new cars, except as expensive after-market add-ons.
The good news is that you can get those add-ons. Companies such as JC Whitney make a business of providing them for you. Additionally, chrome plating services will put a tough healthy coat of brilliant silver shine onto just about anything metal that you can imagine.
So, as far as auto chrome goes, I'll just have to go to antique cars shows to get my fill of the stuff. There's plenty there to be found and it's always buffed to its brightest shine. Otherwise, I can take a trip to my closest Harley Davidson dealer if I need a chrome fix between car shows. Motorcycle manufacturers seem to have retained their respect for chromium steel. Perhaps some fine day our auto manufacturers shall see the error of their ways and restore to our automobiles their once glorious gleam.