Re: Clear coating raw steel on the cheap?
I'd suggest trial fitting things prior to spending too much time making it look nice. That way if you need to adjust something you won't scratch up your efforts.
As for applying clear over bare steel, yes, it will work but every blemish will show. Scratches, gouges and the pattern left by your wire brush will be right out there for the world to see. Also whatever clear coat you choose needs to be something that will stand up to gasoline. Spills are inevitable.
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