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Galvanization sensation: How automakers fought off the scourge of rust

Exposing older cars to winter’s unfavorable elements—specifically, the dual-pronged attack of moisture and road salt—is a quick way to end up facing off with metal’s age-old nemesis: rust. Any classic car fan calling the Northeastern or Midwestern half of the country home has felt more than a passing twinge of envy for their compatriots in many southern and western states, who enjoy a drier climate that allows for year-round enjoyment of their rides without living in constant fear of the tin worm.

 

Corrosion, however, tends to attack vehicles of a certain vintage far more aggressively than their modern counterparts. It’s not just a question of being “old,” either. In certain eras, brand-new cars could shed their metallic skins while still sitting in the showroom.

 

The answer as to why today’s vehicles are more resistant to such a sudden fate is somewhat complex. Automotive industry’s long, slow march toward more durable materials is the result of advancements in design, engineering, and manufacturing, as well as the corporate buy-in required to implement an actual anti-corrosion plan.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/galvanization-sensation-how-automakers-fought-off-t...

Replies (39)

Replies (39)

ford in 1957 sold more cars than chevy but there are far more chevys left .ford used garbage steel from france to save money

Passenger

That was an intereseting read. I remember the cadillac cars of the early 70's rusting along the body mouldings when they were only a few years old. Wasn't there a class action law suit-something about crappy steel from Japan? Anyway-I keep my 77GP under a shelter here in NY. I take it out during the winter but always avoid road salt, rain and snow. 

New Driver

If you really want to keep rust at bay look at a product called Corrosion Free. It's a Canadian company and the product works wonderfully I have personally been using the product for about 7 years. I liked it so well I bought all the equipment and started doing it myself about 6 months ago. It really does help and even helps on used cars as well as I can attest

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Pit Crew

I wonder what ever happened to that Borgward in the lead photo ?

New Driver

My panel shop reported to me when my 1951 Buick was being restored that the body had been galvanised and that's why there was no rust anywhere, however, about two years after the paint job rust appeared in several spots where the sanding apparatus had gone through the zinc on some high spots. Would this hot dipping, zinc plating have been normal on a '51 Buick?

Pit Crew

As a lifetime Chicago-area resident, I recall that "salting" roads was limited in the '50's and early '60's with only important intersections receiving that treatment.  Effective lobbying by the salt industry then resulted in jurisdictions scrambling to increase use of that product.  I always thought the auto industry was "blind-sided" by this development as their northern based cars began to dissolve while southern cars didn't.  My personal grudge against increased salting at the time was that it destroyed my boyhood winter sport of "skeetching".

Passenger

Eh Luigi — Mille Grazie!!

Intermediate Driver

My horror story concerned a 1973 Triumph Spitfire which I found in a field with a tree growing through the floorboards. It required not only the floor but trunk liner, numerous brackets, headlight mounts and a number of other hard to find and expensive parts. I learned my lesson with that car. The next one I owned, a 1973 911T was completely rust free and from AZ. Nice car to work on as bolts just unbolted. A joy compared to the Spitfire. Rust is death.

Intermediate Driver

Dodge built a cab over L-600 & L-700 with a galvanized cab 1968 - 1970

New Driver