When you chop a grille shell,...
When you chop a grille shell, you have two options: You could chop the shell and then make a grille to match, or you could find a grille the size you want and chop the shell to fit, like I'm doing here. This grille is 2-1/2 inches shorter than stock.
There's perhaps no other body component that sets the style for a street rod more than the grille and grille shell. This is the "face" of the car, and just like a person's face, it often establishes the individuality of a particular person's ride.
While many cars use a stock grille shell, there are many reasons why it might be modified. For example, when putting a '32 Ford grille shell on a Model A, the stock '32 shell is taller than the cowl, giving the car a somewhat awkward look, and if a hood is fitted, this will cause the hood to run uphill toward the front, visually conflicting with the lines of the car.
In this article, we'll look at how to shorten a '32 grille shell. As a bonus, the metalworking techniques shown can be used for many other body modifications, not just for grille shells, and we will use only simple tools for the process.
Pay special attention to where the cuts are placed. While many grille shells have been sectioned by just removing a horizontal slice near the middle, we're taking an approach that involves more intricate cutting. The payoff is much less distortion from welding, which will make the weld cleanup much easier, and the majority of the weld is on the leading edge of the grille shell where it's easy to reach with a hammer and dolly, and easy to sand and file.
Tune in next month for Part 2, when we'll do some more difficult modifications on a '28 Ford grille shell.
Ron Covell has made a DVD that covers the work done in parts one and two of this series, showing the process of re-proportioning a '28 and a '32 Ford grille shell. Every step is shown in detail, with great close-up shots, and lots of clear commentary that brings out many of the fine points involved in doing high-quality metalwork. The price of the DVD is $20, and you can order from Covell Creative Metalworking online at www.covell.biz, or by telephone at (800) 747-4631.
I'm going to carefully place...
I'm going to carefully place the cuts to minimize the cleanup work needed after welding. Rather than have a weld on the side of the grille shell, I'll simply cut 2-1/2 inches off the bottom. Here I'm laying out the cuts with a combination square and a felt-tipped marker.
The cuts on the inner flange...
The cuts on the inner flange are placed higher up to miss the inner apron of the grille shell. Note the long vertical cut needed on the face of the grille shell to connect the inner and outer cut. This is the best place to position the weld, since I'll get less distortion here, and it will be easy to work the weld for finishing.
A small cut is needed on the...
A small cut is needed on the bottom rolled lip where it will mate with the side of the grille shell. Take great care when laying out these cuts to ensure the parts will fit together tightly, easing the welding.