One look at this mangy old '66 Chevy and you'd say hanging a new grille and bumper on it would be like putting perfume on a pig, and you may be right. In fact, you'd be absolutely right, but as you might be starting to suspect, there's more to the premise of this story than meets the eye. To give you folks a little sneak preview of the January 2008 edition of Custom Classic Trucks running a main headline reading Winter Wonder Plans, we are going to begin with one little ol' story with the very first steps of preparing to take on a new project.
Unlike as portrayed on television gearhead shows, the first step on a new project is not to dive in and start blowing the vehicle apart and trashing everything in sight, leaving a big pile of ruined parts. Nope, the first step is to commit yourself to the idea that you're going to stop trying to get by with patching your truck up and accept that the only way to do it properly is to completely tear the truck down and rebuild it from the ground up. That said, the second step is to carefully disassemble the truck, and before each assembly is removed, mock up any changes that might be included in the project's new plans.
Good examples are the grille, mirrors, and front bumper on the '66. Before we yanked the doors off the Chevy, we needed to decide which mirrors looked best and would actually function as practical items. Not too excited with the prospect of leaving the West Coast-style mirrors hanging off the sides, we looked into our options. Liking the looks of the original equipment mirrors fitted to a '66, our first move was to break out the Brother's catalog and order a set.
We've learned the hard way in the past that the right time to bolt on new accessories is not after the truck has been repainted. Ditto for the grille and front bumper; we needed to check for fit and alignment before the truck was in new paint. Not only is fit a concern, but typically an old truck always seems to acquire a few extra holes drilled in by the previous owner with some kind of goofball homemade accessory or a couple of "oops" while trying to install something like a hula girl license plate frame or an airplane propeller that spins when the truck picks up wind speed.