Grill shell -
|Questions come up frequently about the Glassic grill shells. In late 2016 the issue came up again, and that is when I discovered that there are fragments of info all over the Annex website, but it is not where anyone (including ME) can get at it. Here is what I have.|
Glassic grill shells cannot be replaced by any "off
the shelf" reproduction product. They were uniquely made for
Glassics. By 2016 no clear-cut (no pun intended)
solution has emerged.
The 1931 Model A Ford reproduction grill shells, made from Stainless Steel, seems to be the leading idea if your plastic shell is not to be salvaged. Many people have painted the original shells, others have used reproduction fiberglass 1932 Ford shells (a different look, preferred by some people).
The 1931 stainless steel shell IS TOO TALL - and at the very least, needs to be shortened to fit the space (around 4 inches or so). There is NOT a clear answer regarding the shape of the top, where the hood rests on the shell. The contours may not be exactly the same. I have received comments that it worked ok, and others that said that the fit was bad. That may have been for different years of Glassics / Replicars. I do not (as of 2016) have a full report from any owners who completed the project successfully.
the History page
on the Annex.) From a long interview with Joel. who is Joel?
The first radiator shells were fiberglass, gel-coated in the mold. Part of it matched the body color (known as the "frown" and the "smile" inserts), and a metallic, metal flake finish was used on the rest of the shell. Then, in the late 60ís the company changed the radiator shells to plastic. They had wanted to have the chrome look all along, but large plastic part fabrication was not that sophisticated, and the grill shell was large, with 7 square feet of surface. Getting a vacuum form for parts that size did not work well. There was an "under-cut" on the grill, so Glassic built their own machinery (oven, mold, vacuum chamber) and experimented, developing a technique to make the process work properly. Once formed, trimming became an issue since, unlike fiberglass, the plastic would tend to melt. They finally were able to trim the shells using high-speed routers.
After the molding and trimming problems were solved, they had to get the shells plated. They found a plater in Georgia, and began experimenting with that aspect. It was a long, drawn-out and expensive process. Even after all of the bugs were worked out, nearly one out of each three grills was not suitable for use, and had to be thrown away. Before plating, the plastic was quite flimsy, but after plating it was much stronger, so a rack had to be built to hold the grill shell in shape until it was plated. Drilling holes in the finished product also risked damage. Since then, the processes have likely been improved.
A metal radiator shell had been considered, but would have had to be custom fabricated from stainless steel, and the cost was prohibitive. At that time, Model A reproduction parts were either unavailable in quantity, and/or excessively expensive. The 1931 Model A stainless steel grill shell, although similar, is taller than the Replicar required. (It can, however, be modified to fit if a replacement is necessary).
There had been an objection to the goose hood ornament by the safety people, suggesting that it was too sharp, so some cars had a ring hood ornament.
Car 913 - reported in 2008 on the
One other thing I am going to try out is replacing the grill shell with a real, stainless, 1931 Model A unit I have had for years. It looks pretty close when I line the two up side by side, but the top of the Glassic shell is a bit different. I suspect it would not work if I was using the hood sides, but I have removed them and just use the top, so I think I may be able to flex the front of the hood enough to fit. I will take pictures of the process, and write it up, good or bad. Please be patient. No "after" report received. Why is some of this in PURPLE? -- Here is a picture of his shell - apparently he WAS able to get it to work, but no details available.
Reference pages and items.
Car 982. Scroll down for pic and discussion of the 1929 grill shell alternative.
Car 1147 -
- scroll down the info about this car to find the grill shell
Car 1279 1932 fiberglass alternative, along with extensive modification to that unpleasant saucer look in front of the shell. Owner reported extensive re-shaping to the contour needed. More pictures of this project.
Car 9999 1932 shell. -- This is Joel's car.who is Joel?
Swapping to a 1932 grill shell or radiator shell
This issue came up in June, 2005. An owner liked the look of the 32 grill shell EXAMPLE PHOTOS and asked for info on a swap. This is the answer from Joel, the builder, who is pictured with his car and the earliest Glassic.