65 Grille Assembly

My original headlight fender extensions were broken. The grille and headlights were included as a complete assembly when I picked it up. There were also replacement headlight fender extensions, but they were also damaged. Since I wanted the GT grille with fog lights, I decided to just rebuild the grille with new parts for things that were broken or didn’t match.

For a starting point, here’s what I have, looking from the back as it’s easier to see how things are put together and where they are broken.

One thing I want to do is use the correct hardware if possible. I remembered that the car came with a complete exterior hardware kit from AMK. That had a number of packets for the grille and headlights. The challenge was figuring out what went where. Taking bolts off, I found often times the same set of bolts or screws didn’t match. I couldn’t easily tell what was original and what was a previous repair. Since it was painted, I know it was disassembled at some point.

The first piece was the upper grille ornament retainer. The 2 screws on the top of the ornament were not included in the kit. I took the retainer off and blasted it, then painted it. It is heavily pitted, but it also left traces of the star washers on the back two holes, so that helped to identify which bolts need to go there (that were included in the kit).

The AMK kit used for the ornament retainer plate
The plate after blasting and painting. I couldn’t save it.

The GT grille is different in where the wings attach. The GT is further out behind the fog lamps, so I had to get the GT grille. There are bolts on the back of the reproduction pony assembly which just go through the mount points on the grille, with a nut behind. Without the top retainer, the reproduction grille is a little too flat and I had to pull it together to screw it down. I reused the original screws on the front of the ornament, and the kit screws with J-clips for the top of the grille. The bigger bolts will attach it to the hood latch later, so I just put them in place with the J-clips so I didn’t misplace them.

The grille molding only has one screw on the side, plus two specialized clips on the bottom. I don’t have this part at this point, so it’s on the shopping list.

Next was the lower grille panel. I read feedback on NPD that the reproduction wasn’t a great fit so I was hoping this was in good shape. It has a date stamp, so it looks like the original Ford part. Other than the paint on it, it looks perfect. I will have to get that stripped off later before the paint stage, but for now, it’s going together and I am happy to not buy another part.

I had a couple of similar screw kits, but this one seems right for the lower radiator grille panel.

Four screws and clips on the bottom to attach it. The last two go on the end for the connection to the headlight fender extension.

Next step is the two screws on the top of the grille. Since they were also not in the kit, I am not sure if the rusted ones were original or not. Either way, I need something new since those were bad. I decided to use some spare screws like the ones attaching the grille to the lower grille panel and the fender extensions. They are silver, but whatever. I see a lot of variety in pictures I am finding.

I picked up the new trim and ornament retainer plate this evening, so I pulled the grille off to put those pieces in place.

Top: Original. Bottom:Reproduction

At this point, I have everything done I can do before the next wave of parts arrives. I have the fog lamp housings and bulbs coming, which should complete the grille itself. From there, I will start working on the hood latch so I can mount it securely without having all the weight supported by the fender extensions.

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