It’s been a long time since I did any real work on my grille. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I started working on the grille project three years ago! One of the main stumbling blocks was losing the help of a good friend at the CBS machine shop. Rudi suffered a heart attack, and never fully recovered from it. His skills as a machinist diminished, and he retired in 2001. Most of the story can be found by typing “grille” in the search section of this website.
One of the issues with the grille was to make an accurate “buck” for the replacement to be made. Rudi helped make this buck three years ago, and it was pretty close, but the fit wasn’t perfect. Although this picture shows the original grill shell fitting on the buck, it was slightly stretched to fit. On closer inspection, the grill ends do not have a constant radius, as the buck was made to be, but top of the grill has a slightly flatter curve.
In order to make the buck closer to the shape of the original grille, I had to sand some of the wood away. It’s all too cold to do any of this sanding outside, and the sawdust would make too much of a mess at François’ shop, or my apartment in the city. The alternative was to set up an area at work to do the sanding. Instead of going up to the shop today, I went to work on the buck in an area backstage at the theater.
I used a handheld belt sander and slowly removed the wood until I attained a better fit with the grille shell. The bottom half of the grille has the constant radius, and fits fine.
The top fits better, but will probably have to be hand fitted to the chromed steel piece that attaches to the car (seen here next to the buck).
The next step is to take all the various pieces and parts up to Doran Manufacturing and have Mike and his guys take a look. Hopefully they’ll be able to come up with a plan to make a new grille! Stay tuned!
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