Restoring wheels to have the distinctive cumulus white band adds to the ’67 Volkswagen Beetle’s distinctive look. There are a few small details to keep in mind, and also the opportunity to incorporate some modern-day technology into the vintage look.
My wheels were showing their age and I wanted to restore them. Because of its durability, I decided to powder coat the wheels black, and then paint the white band on top of the powder coating. Talking to guys in the paint industry allayed my concerns with adhesion of the paint to the powder coat. I chose a color that was as close as I could get to L43 Grey-Black. After looking through color samples as Maas Brothers in Livermore, CA, I decided on RAL9004 in satin finish. Maas Brothers bead-blasted the wheels to remove paint, rust, bugs, and dirt, so that only the pristine metal remained. Then they applied the powder coating, which is a process of electrostatically attracting the paint to the metal, and then baking it on at around 300 degrees. The all-black wheels were ready for painting.
The first detail of note is that that white band does not go to the very edge of the wheel. It stops about 1/8” (3 mm) short of the edge. You can see this in the picture of the old wheels. Consequently, I needed to tape a small margin near the rim edge. Finish Masters in Dublin, CA had some 1/8” wide green tape, which they use for pin-striping, that fit the need. I applied the thin tape running it to the top of the curvature of the rim’s edge. From there, my daughter, Rebecca, and I taped over the top of the rim’s edge with blue tape.
We taped the inner hub, sliding the tape on its non-sticky side, into the valley between the outer rim and inner hub. We covered the center portion with a cardboard circle (patterned after tracing a hubcap) and added a layer of plastic wrap for the rest of the wheel. A strip of tape to cover the valve stem opening completed the taping
The cumulus white paint I used was in a rattle-can – but not just any rattle can! It came from APS Tower Paint Company and is a “2K” product. This product has two components: paint and hardener, and the results were way better than I have ever achieved with a spray can. I bought three cans, but only needed one (they’re pricey, so please note!).
Now I need to get some of those classic tires to mount on these wheels!
All the best!