Unlike Pep Boy’s and Autozone’s mass produced abominations in a box that mount naked trucker ladies and nautical stars smack dab in the middle of whatever the trendy hip-hop vehicle’s grille opening is, hot rodders are forced to think beyond the shelf for grille treatments. When it comes to planting a custom grille in the confines of one’s truck, the hot rodder’s mind is obligated to run rampant with ideas and visions.

The most common cure for the nose challenged is to pirate grill surrounds, bars, over riders and teeth from various makes and models and transplant them. The ones reaching for a distinctive look take things to the next level—custom grilles. Objects such as door knobs, camshafts, chrome bullets, various expanded metals, and other ornamental objects from hardware stores and metal yards get adapted to the nose of the ride. The ultimate in a grille is creating a handformed masterpiece from scratch.

The most accessible way to creating a custom grille is utilizing various styles of metal stock. The geometric shapes of metal stock range from square to round and everything in between. Depending on the look you’re after will determine the stock you choose. Each shape will vastly give a different persona to the frontend; therefore it’s vital in choosing the correct look. For a more distinguished look, oval or teardrop-shaped tubing can be used to fabricate the grille bars. The problem with shapes of that nature is they don’t exactly bend and form into rolling lines, and therefore grilles of that character tend to be formed from round or small square stock. Regardless of which way one goes, handformed grilles always bring a sense of life to a frontend.

For the frontend of this ’57 Chevy, a custom grille is in dire need to round out the persona Star Kustom Shop is after. Straying completely away from the stock-style grille Star Kustom is going to construct a tube grille in the vein of the ’47 Oldsmobile’s grille. The stock grille opening will be retained, yet molded in, due to the fact the shape from the bottom left corner to the bottom right-hand corner is the perfect canvas for this style of a grille.

When it comes to bending round stock, there are several ways. The most efficient and easiest way is to utilize a tube bender. For those lacking a bender, forming a buck and bending round stock around the buck via heat and pressure is a viable option. When bending round stock with a bender, either a hollow or solid rod is acceptable. Neither will kink, and they still retain an even and flowing bend. When it comes to heating hollow bars and forming them around a buck, things don’t quite work out that way. The hollow rod won’t heat evenly and it will collapse upon itself and form a kink. Therefore, using a solid rod is the way to go when doing things the old-school way.

For the grille on hand, Star Kustom has decided to use 1-inch round stock. Because of the weight of the length needed, only the bends will be formed from solid stock, and then a hollow bar will be welded between the bends. (The grille could be formed entirely from solid rod, but the weight at this diameter and length of rod would tip the scales of even Rosie O’Donnell!) Another thing to keep in mind is that when forming sequential bends the inner radiuses must gradually get smaller. If one were to use the same bend and only remove a few inches from the middle of the straight increments, the grille wouldn’t step down and stay uniform. Therefore, each grille bar in any type of sequential series must be formed around its individual radius. Enough hoopla, follow along as Star Kustom builds a grille from nothing more than common metal stock! CCT

SOURCE
Star Kustom Shop
StarKustom@yahoo.com
Afton
OH  74331
918-257-4234
www.starkustomshop.com