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I recently put some time into cleaning up and refinishing my grill, headlight bezels, and filler panel. Hopefully some of this info will help others.

After weathering outside for decades the front of my '70 Nova needed some attention. The filler panel was chipping and the headlight bezels were looking pretty faded, so I decided to take the whole grill assembly off the car and make some changes.



First I decided to give the grill an "SS" style blacked-out finish where just the top and bottom fins of the grill are exposed. After thoroughly cleaning the grill, I masked the top and bottom fins.





Then I used a self-etching primer.



And finally I shot it with Krylon Satin Black.








Next, rather than strip down the old filer panel, I decided to start fresh with a new one from AMD. I gave the whole panel a scuff-down with 150 grit and painted it Rustoleum Metallic Titanium Silver







Years ago cut off one end of the old filler panel and underlying metal support so it could be removed and installed easily without removing a fender. I did the same with this one. No one will ever see this, but it makes taking the grill and filler panel assembly in and out a breeze.





Next I decided to tackle the headlight bezels. Looking closely at the originals, a lot of the edges that were supposed to be exposed chrome had overspray on them.



So before doing anything, I carefully removed the overspray with steel wool.



The ribs on either side of the headlights are exposed chrome on the top, front, and bottom faces. I tried masking one off and decided it was just way to intricate and time consuming for masking. So I decided just to mask and spray the centers and save the areas between the ribs for later.







I spayed the bezels the same color as the grill (Krylon Satin Black), then I used a little trick to decant the paint for brushing.





What I did above is attached a bendy straw to the nozzle of the paint can, then I poked it through some plastic wrap on the top of a glass jar. After spraying enough paint into the jar, I let it it out for about 6 hours so all the propellant could make it's way out of the paint - otherwise it would become a volcano when shaken or blow it's cap off.

Next I took the freshly decanted paint and hand brushed the areas between the ribs.



Unpainted on the left vs. fresh first coat on the right. I did two coats to cover this area. The decanted paint was a bit thin for brushing but it did the job.



With everything cleaned up and repainted, I reassembled the front end. Here's what I have now.







 

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Looks awesome Clint. Nice work.

Could you tell me the manufacturer and part number of your tranny cooler?

Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!

Could you tell me the manufacturer and part number of your tranny cooler?
Unfortunately I have no idea. I have two of them and they were on the car when I bought it in '98. I took one off and currently have fluid routing through an in-radiator cooler and this one both. You can get these lots of places though and in many different sizes. Derale makes some very affordable ones. Larger is better - this one is pretty narrow but it's what I had. I mounted it with some simple brackets I bent up.

 

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Nice job!
Very nice car too!
I did about the same on mine a year ago. Only difference is I only taped off the upper and lower ribs of the bezels so the ribs run through from the grille,like an SS. That way I didn't have to hand brush all the ribs also. Either way,looks great!
Do you think the overspray was from factory? Had overspray on mine but thought they where might be sprayed again later in it's life.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I was reading a thread here about "correct" painting of SS bezels and my understanding is the ribs on SS bezels were not blacked out, even though the grill has them blacked out. I see a lot of folks carry over the look of the grill by blacking everything but the top and bottom ribs and I think it looks good, but I don't think it's the way they were done originally. On a 70 my understanding is that the SS has all ribs exposed plus the center vertical bar exposed. I refinished mine like a standard/non-SS bezel. EDIT: This is incorrect. See post 11

I can only guess on whether or not the overspray was from the factory. I know I've owned the car 20years and I never touched the bezels, but the body was repainted at some point in it's life. It's possible but seems unlikely someone would have painted the bezels.
 

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Got me thinking...mine is a 69 base and thought they where only upper and lower for the SS. But could surely be wrong. But anyway,didn't go for the SS look neither, just what I preferred.
I can believe overspray from factory. It's pretty easy to "over do" a restoration now a days,compared to how they rolled off the line back then.
Love the rims on your Nova too Bandit
 

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Thank you

I would like to do the same as your set up to keep as much air flowing across radiator as I can. I am still using a 70 original radiator in my Nova.
 

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1969 Nova . . 2dr . . Chino Valley,Az USA
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Thank you for posting.

I've been thinking about this for a few months -- I bought that front Plastic filler -- over 20 years ago, just never installed it. This may get me going.
Good write - up & pictures ........... plus, the tips -- for cutting "off the ends" . Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Got me thinking...mine is a 69 base and thought they where only upper and lower for the SS. But could surely be wrong.
After reading your post, I thought I'd check the catalogs and discovered I was wrong! This photo of the '69 SS clearly shows just the top and bottom bar exposed on the bezels: http://www.novareference.com/Brochures/1969/69nv-10.jpg

Also top and bottom bars exposed on the '70 SS shown here: http://www.novareference.com/Brochures/1970/70nv-09.jpg

I haven't checked the other catalog photos but I wouldn't be surprised if others years are like this too. Sorry for spreading misinformation!

Love the rims on your Nova too Bandit
Thank you! The bigness of them took some getting used to, but the availability of modern performance tires was worth the change for the kind of driving I do

 

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the picture in the dark looks good with all the new black-out paint. an the two black faced bumper guards just set it all off perfect.
 
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