The "protective crud" contains a lot of corrosive materials, trust me if you didn't do what you did it would look much worse than it does now 2 weeks from now. When the air hits it you have oxygen rich environment and moisture. Combine that with the corrosive properties and you create a rust paradise.
Surface rust and the paint peelling is normal, really nothing you can do about it. They probably only paint them inside to prevent it from rusting on the show room floor.
Truthfully have no worries, wait until the metal starts flaking off in 5 -10 years.