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‘37 Grille restoration

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I have been a fan of 1937 Studebakers since I saw my very first one. Much of the attraction is the look of the front end and, in particular, the “winged victory” grille. I have now restored two ‘37’s for myself and after doing the last grille, I said “ never again”.

The grilles have 76 separate fins that to be restored properly must be removed from the slotted side pieces. Each fin has a very delicate stainless strip crimped to the front edge that should be removed from the fin so the fin can be bead blasted and painted. Each stainless strip has to be gently sanded with very fine paper, polished, and buffed.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen one of these strips that was not without some ding or imperfection.  I mount them on a spare fin, do the buffing, and remove again so they can be reinstalled on the restored fins later.


Reassembly is tedious. I made a jig that will hold all 38 fins from one side while I wiggle the slotted side bar into place.  Once one bar is done the assembly can be turned over and the center  bar wiggled onto each one of the fins.


Remember I said “never again”? HA!  I recently allowed myself to be talked into doing a grille for another member.  It’s real labor-intensive work, so I thought I’d share some pictures here.  No, I’m not looking for more work!






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  • 2 months later...

Agree whole heartedly that the grille is a focal point, is definitely delicate and as I haven't attempted one myself can only imagine the tedious headache it must be until figuring it out. Can only imagine how many workers were employed back in the day to create the grilles....woofta! 


Nice photo's/effort/documentation if able to pass along for future generations....

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