If you own a classic, then you know that the parts for it can be extremely hard to find. This means that for the majority of the time, you have to work with what you've got. Remember that impatience is the killer of many amazing builds, so if you believe that you have exhausted your search, there are other ways of sprucing up what you have to near-perfect condition. It may turn out that your parts can look even better than what you think is out there with just a little TLC. In this month's restoration section, we look at grills, and how they can be restored for use on the finest street cruisers.
The key to customizing a car is to have all the details down to a "t." The paint needs to be right, and your trim needs to be popping. With that said, you need to find a good polisher, and these guys can be very hard to come by. If you do happen to find one, you need to keep the hook up with them, so that you can always have somebody reliable for this key component of auto restoration. Polishers are very important, as their prep work is what makes for a good chrome job. This is akin to finding a good body man, as bad bodywork means a bad paint finish.
This month, we checked in with Victor of The Best Polishing and Chrome of Pomona, CA, who took some time to show us how they R&R customer parts. They showed us a grill that looked good from a far, but it was far from good, once we actually got a closer look at it. This grill was cherry, but once it got to the polisher, it was a different story. Now follow along, as the crew at The Best Polishing and Chrome of Pomona restores this factory grill..
Over the years, the shop has obtained and developed different hammers to do repairs on automotive trim.
This'64 Impala grill was ready to receive a straightening before it was polished. As you can see, the second grill is perfect, and ours has several low spots that need to be worked over to become straight.
The metal table that is being used to straighten out works as an over sized dolly, which keeps the grill from flexing.
All of the edges of the table help work the grill.
After marking all of the low spots, you can see some of the imperfections that need to be fixed, like this square part of the grill.
Straightening out is all done by hammer and done with patience. Every piece being repaired can take hours, depending on the condition.
The thin edge of the hammer was used to knock out the small dings on the inner grill.
The bent grill was coming together, as all the imperfections were worked in sections.
As you can see, the grill is perfect, and matches the lines of the sample grill.
With the grill stripped from the original anodizing, it was belt sanded by hand to prevent it from bending from the pressure of being pushed up against the buffing machine.
The final light belting and polishing was done on a bigger machine.
This grill is ready to be polished.
After using a combination of compounds and the big buffer, the grill was ready, as it sported a shiny look that will need to be maintained with a little elbow grease.
While we were at the shop, someone dropped off this grill. As you can see, this grill has seen better days.
The process of straightening out this grill is the same as the '64 Impala grill that we showed you earlier.
The grill was ready for the final polish.