Engine Turning

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    I recently took off the aluminum timing cover on my ’29 eight to do some inspection.

    It is a pretty rough casting by modern standards- surface shrinkage cracks and general surface irregularity.

    I decided to wet-sand and buff it out. The end-product was much more attractive and suiting the general quality of the car. I decided to go a little further.

    I’d always been fascinated by the process of engine turning and thought that I would “give it a go”. The process was done on a number of cars at the factory or afterward in the Classic period. I was very pleased with my results, but stopped at the second row to think some more on how I should proceed. The attached photo doesn’t do it justice.

    I would like to hear some opinions on this- the judging rules don’t specifically say it’s a no-no. I will stay with the engine turning on the timing cover regardless-I think it looks very nice. Was engine-turning ever done at the factory on request?

    I am very tempted to do more under the hood-the aluminum fan,the water manifold, and the tappet covers. The underhood plating was all nickel originally on my car. I think that nickel will make a better result than chrome anyway.

    I’ve seen the Duesenberg SJ NY auto show car with vitually everything engine-turned, down to the voltage regulator cover.

    Would engine-turning things be pretty cool, or just acceptable, or just a show of my gauche taste and/ or poor judgement?

    Gregg Hotson


    Alright on Duesy’s, Cords, and Auburns, but on the Patrician of the highways it looks “corney”. An attempt to ‘rod’ the car. A waste of time and money. Rechrome the appropriate parts, but don’t overchrome. Spend your time and money on excellent paint, excellent upholstry, correct parts, and an engine that runs well.


    Hi Greg,

    The evidence of your patience is remarkable.

    We all restore our cars to our own tastes. However, in the point judging arena I believe you would lose some points in the Authenticity category. While I’ve never judged in CCCA, I believe you would experience similar deductions at a Grand Classic.

    Happy Motoring,


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