I have recently had the steel wheels on my Series 1 refurbished and after due consideration opted for a paint finish rather than powder coat for two main reasons:- reports of powder coat failure/flaking off and keeping the originality of the car.
The finish of the wheels is good but I am disappointed with the durability of the paint - it chips and scratches very easily particularly when fitting the rim embellishers and hub caps. I suspect that rust will set in where the paint is damaged and an early re-finish will be required.
I have had many alloys re-finished and the result was much more hard-wearing. The alloy finish system comprised, I think, a powder coat primer followed by "wet" finishing coats.
I would be interested to hear other views and experiences on powder coating v two pack paint.
My experience of Jaguar's steel wheels was that they always were a pain. The trim rings dug straight through the factory finish and hubcaps always scraped paint off too. A powder coated finish on steel usually gives a tougher coating than simple painting but its bugbear is that once damaged, rust creeps under the coating and then surprises you when it emerges everywhere! With painted wheels, at least you stand a better chance of touching in the inevitable damage before total refurbishing becomes necessary. Typically, alloy wheels don't have trim rings with damaging tags so they are better candidates for powder coating.
Here's my wheel compromise. My car has Kent alloys on which I had the faces painted and the rims polished but left completely uncoated in 1989. I hand polish the rims once every year or two. They may not be in concours condition but 28 years later, they remain acceptable for general use and enjoyment. Mike.
2014 XK Dynamic R convertible; 1977 Daimler Double Six Coupe; XE S