The component parts of the steering linkage did not come from Saginaw with any paint already on them. Some items had Cosmolene (or equivalent) rust preventative on them, but not paint. The center link had some sort of heat treatment done to it (before the end joints and plugs were installed) which turned it a somewhat shiny gunmetal blue color, while everything else in the steering linkage was bare (except the part of the idler arm which bolts to the frame, which is a black phos or black oxide). Finish of each part (and separate pieces of each part) depends on what it is made of and whether cast or forged or stamped.
Some of the assembly plants (maybe all of them) sprayed a sloppy coat of thick blackout paint over all that bare stuff under the front end (including tie rods, sway bar and springs) AFTER it was all installed on the chassis. It was a cheap, sort of gooey oil based paint, so did not hang around long before road grime and fluids washed most of it away. A rag with WD-40 on it easily removes it.
However, my lowest mileage car (a Baltimore 67) still has all that very messy blackout under it. And yes I know it was done at the factory (and not after the fact) because all the many heavy runs in that paint go straight toward the sky -- because it was sprayed on while the chassis was still upside down on the assembly line (frame was upside down on the line until all the suspension parts were installed, then it got flipped over before engine/trans installation).
I chose not to apply that ugly blackout on my 67 L78 ElCamino front suspension. As much as we strived for assembly line correctness on everything else, I just could not do it on that, mainly because if we had done it "right" then everyone who looked at it would have thought a drunk monkey applied that paint! Plus I don't have a late 67 KC example that shows factory applied blackout beyond a shadow of a doubt, so it is possible
that KC didn't do it like Baltimore.
So my Elc has all the correct bare metal finishes that would have been there before any blackout spray (if applicable). Here's a pic. It is in mirrors so everything is upside down, but you get the idea. Note the difference in the finishes of each part (and different sections of a single part) based on the type of metal -- rough cast or forged, or stamped steel (including the round end plugs on the tie rods and center link), etc. -- and the beautiful exact duplication of the bluing on the center link! There is not one molecule of cast-blast spray paint anywhere on this car! Right click on the picture and open in a new tab if you want to zoom in to see more details.
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