By Mike and Larry

By Mike and Larry

02.27.16 How-to

How to Install a Custom Grille

02.27.16 How-to

Custom grilles are always one of the most important portions of a re-styled car. There are literally hundreds of variations of parts and pieces that can be combined to come up with a wild looking grille. However, a trick that is often overlooked is to redesign the grille opening itself. It's the same as selecting a frame that will do justice to, and enhance, a beautiful painting or photograph. If the two do not compliment eachother they will both suffer in overall appearance.

Mike and Larry answered this question in Car Craft magazine in 1965. To carry their answer they selected a '60 Ford, which came to be known as the Adonis, to demonstrate. The rolled edge, wide cavity they came up with is a perfect setting for a multitude of grilles.

The first step in customization is always the same. Remove the stock grille assembly, bumper, brackets, and chrome rim. Then remove the lower grille pan and fender bottoms. With a tube bender, form 3/4 inch tubing into the new outside grille shape.

After tack-welding the grille tubing in place, form a new fender edge with similar tubing, taking it to the fender and rolled pan. Twenty gauge cold rolled metal is air hammered into shape, filling the gap between the newly formed fender opening and grille.

Secure filler panel to tubing with clamps and tack weld about its circumference. Then hammer-weld the joining bead smooth.

Cut out paper patterns for the inner panels of the grille cavity. Trace these onto 20 gauge metal stock, trim to shape. Now roll and shape the inner panels, welding them onto the tubing and inner body panel. Make the hood cut at this point.

Curved tubing is welded to the fender tip for continuation of line. Areas adjacent to the peak must be filled in with panels too. Grind the metal clean around all welds, then heat and apply tinning compound with steel wool. 70/30 lead is smoothed on welds.

A coarse vixen body file is used to shape the leaded area to to conform with fender. It is finished with a 36 closed coat disk.

Wipe the reworked surface clean with metal prep then give it a cleansing with wax and grease remover before applying primer.