Installing a Pines Winterfront Grille on a 1932 Ford Vicky
From fuzzy dice and dummy spots to license plate toppers and laminated dash knobs, accessories have always helped define a car. Unfortunately, some don’t know when to stop. It can turn an otherwise cool car into a rolling curio cabinet.
Then there are guys like Don Triolo. His cars are so subtle that it’s easy to walk right by ‘em. The exquisite craftsmanship, the perfect stance, the flawless finishes; they’re all lost on the unwashed masses. But we know, don’t we? His cars stop us dead in our tracks.
Don’s ’32 Vicky was no exception, and when it rolled into our shop it was sporting just two accessories: a vintage rearview mirror-clock, and a set of original Lions wire wheel covers. When Ford introduced its steel disk wheel in 1936, millions of ’35 and older Ford wire wheels instantly became old hat. For a few bucks, a fellow could walk into Western Auto, buy a set of Lions caps, mount ‘em over his spokes, and be totally current. If they look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them on the Roy Brizio-restored Vic Edelbrock deuce roadster. They’re ultra-rare, and they’re really handsome.
Don had a third accessory he wanted us to install on his Vicky: a Pines Winterfront grille insert. These inserts feature vertical vanes that can be opened and closed with a control knob mounted under the dash. In cold weather they’re closed to keep your flathead warm and comfortable. When it’s hot, they’re opened to allow free air flow to the radiator. Also extremely rare, they’re the holy grail of Deuce accessories — and they’re priced accordingly.
We pulled the grille shell, removed the original insert and fit the new Winerfront. It takes some time, but with four hands we were able to set the insert uniformly into the surrounding shell. We suspected that once it was in place though, its added depth would cause it to hit the headlight bar. We were right. We built a jig, applied a big dose of armstrong, and added just enough arc to clear the trim.
This Vicky deserved better, so we fabbed a new cable mount out of stainless, then added a small guide at the hood support mount to keep the cable from flopping around. We used one of the firewall liner mounting holes as a pass-through for the control cable. We had to fab a flanged and threaded grommet, but it saved us from drilling any new holes in the pristine firewall. Don had old photos of an original-style control knob and we were able to chuck a modern knob up in the lathe and shape it to match.
The stainless trim on the Pines insert is just a hair wider than on the original, and the added visual heft perfectly complimented the stainless trim ring on the Lions disks. It’s as if the two accessories were made to go together — but then we’re guessing Don knew that all along.