If you're lucky enough to have the original T34 aluminum rocker panel strips that came with your car, and they're in decent condition, then this might be for you. When it comes to the clear anodized aluminum trim on VWs there are two labor-intensive ways to bring it back to its original appearance.
- One way is to send the parts out to a refinisher like Paragon Productions. They can chemically strip the old anodized finish, remove dents and polish out scratches, and the re-anodize the pieces so that they have they exact appearance of NOS parts. But this can be very expensive.
- The other way is the hard way: on my Squareback restoration project I decided very carefully hand sand and the repolish some of the aluminum brightwork myself. It's not that hard, just tedious. It's also not the best route to take with really fragile pieces, because it would be easy to damage them in the process. For the polishing to be effective you have to remove all the old anodized surface, which is a much harder material than the aluminum itself. After polishing the pieces I clear-coated the finished results with acrylic lacquer for protection.
In the process of doing this I discovered a third way that's much easier: if you have anodized aluminum trim that's only slightly oxidized you can bring it back to life by simply giving it a clear coat of lacquer. It has a similar effect to waxing oxidized paint. It's more effective than you'd expect and it's really easy. This will only work for mild oxidation and dulling, thought: if the oxidation is too advanced won't help very much.