A necessary distraction in every bodywork restoration and paint project is removing all exterior mouldings to allow access to the bodyworkers and painters.

Some of the more haphazard restorers take the chance of leaving the mouldings in place if they are in good condition, simply covering them in masking tape. 

No matter how precisely the tape is cut, it can never be enough to allow for a satisfactory paint job.

In the majority of cases, external mouldings need to be removed to allow either refurbishment or replacement. Whatever the process, it is essential that every item be photographed before removal, given a code number with the same number being marked clearly on the item.

Once the bodywork and paint jobs are completed, then the time will come to return the mouldings to their place.

If the groundwork has been done correctly, it should go pretty quickly- as long as enough thought and preparation have been put into it.

The simple rule when it comes to hanging mouldings is that they must all line up. Easier said than done thanks to a  trend developed over the years by UK and European cars, who began to use a seemingly endless variety of methods for fixing replacement trim to body panels.

 While the majority of methods were pretty straightforward, there were just too many methods of attaching trim to a car body that were flawed in design and complex to remove, making damaging the mouldings almost inevitable.  

These so-called" forward-thinking" car designers were not thinking forward enough. They never imagined that at some stage in the future, the poor owner would want to remove the trim to carry out bodywork repairs or even repaint the body without destroying the mouldings.

If the restorer successfully removes the vehicle's mouldings in one piece,that should be regarded as a good result.

If it doesn't work out according to plan and not all the pieces survive intact, there is no need to lose hope.

 Unless the restoration vehicle is not a totally obscure model, replacement trims can be rapidly resourced online, although if the model is not mainstream, a  visit to the metal fabrication shop will be called for, where a replacement should be whipped up within a reasonable time frame.

Once the mouldings have been procured, repaired and buffed to a perfect shine, all that remains will be to re-attach it to the vehicle.

And the good news is that the day of these annoying clips used to hold external trim in place are long gone.

  Nowadays, mouldings can be affixed to a car body using a double-sided tape especially developed for the purpose.  

The tape provides the distinct advantage of leaving the paint and metal without a single puncture, preserving the body and the paintwork in perfect condition.

The reverse side of the tape is coated with a very strong adhesive which joins the mouldings to the body.

Despite the ease of use, the same rule applies – that the mouldings must be lined up perfectly before being attached - as there are no second chances!  

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A guide to acquiring, restoring and maintaining UK or European Classic Cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as a recollection of the iconic cars of the era and the visionaries that produced them.