Topper Toys - Johnny Lightning


Castings with a Mirror finish were created by applying a laquer painted color over a very brightly plated jewelry type chrome finish.

Topper Toys used one of the largest and most prolific costume jewelry manufacturers in the United States and the world to produce their Mirror finished cars. This Providence, RI jewelry manufacturer was named Coro Jewelry. Coro which was 14 miles away from Crown. This process used what Coro called "Corochrome", which was a plating process that had been mostly used for costume jewlery. This type of finish is known to chip. And when they do chip, they tend to get large chips.

Why were they were made? Many stories are around, but according to a Topper salesman... they were originally intended to be salesman samples and TV props. As they were more expensive to make than the standard laquer painted cars, their cost could be reduced by making larger batches so they made full production run of them. Many of the cars were also used as employee gifts, as well as the salesman samples while the rest were carded and used like regular production cars found on the pegs or in sets(usually one of the gravity sets). No one knew they were special at the time as they were just what they were... toy cars.

How the Mirror finish was actually applied:
1. After the cars were cast. those with hoods, doors and springs were assembled, then were sent to Coro for finishing.
2. Coro runs them through a cleaning/decontamination process.
3. They are hung on a tree and electroplated by lowering them into a tank containing the proper solution of ingredients before electricity is applied to the process. Some times the hoods were up and sometimes not. Lowering them into the tank is sometimes referred to as "dipping".
4. This electro plating resulted in a bright silver /chrome finish. The orange peel effect that is sometimes seen is a result of poor electroplating. Many things can go wrong from the size of the particles to temperature used to lots and lots of things that result in an uneven plating.
5. After more rinsing/cleaning, they were lacquer spray painted.. possibly at Coro.... probably electrostatically as the paint spray patterns are different than what is on the standard Topper paint jobs. Also with and without the hoods sometimes sticking open.
6. Sent back to Topper for final assembly.
Lastly, the silver chrome plating does not fade, but the lacquer paint applied to them is susceptible to all the paint thickness and fading variations that regular paint has.





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