How to: Colour Code Your Front Grill
Including: Debadging & Adding Mesh
Car: Rover 400 Mk1 in Ocean Blue
A great way to alter the appearance of the front of any car is to modify its grill. You can paint them, debadge them, add mesh to them, all of which can be done quite simply and fairly cheaply.
The first thing to do is remove the original grill, which is usually done by undoing a few nuts on the underside of the bonnet. Then undo any screws (or nuts and bolts) that are holding the different sections together and separate these sections.
If you are going to colour code your grill it is a good idea to remove the makers badge before you paint the grill, this can then be put back later. Although in this case the badge is being removed permanently. If you are going to remove the badge completely you may need to fill any recess with an appropriate filler to obtain a flush surface.
On this grill it was decided rather than fill the area where the badge was, we would remove the centre post completely, which simply required a quick saw with a hacksaw. Remember to cut slightly deeper than you need to so that any filled surfaces will then be level.
After filling and sanding the affected areas, (this may take a while!) you should then place the grill back on the car to make sure that none of the filler will prevent it from being refitted later. This is also the best time to prepare your mesh, prior to painting. By cutting and shaping the mesh at this stage, you will reduce the risk of scratching you new paint. It is advisable to reassemble the whole front grill with the mesh and test it will refit correctly, before you paint it, as trying to alter anything later may do damage to your fresh paint work.
Although you can buy tins of spray paint to match your vehicle, it is advisable that you send the outer grill to a paint specialist or bodyshop for a professional finish. Not only does this look better but it will last a lot longer, as self painted grills usually suffer a lot more from stone chip damage etc. This grill was painted by a Rover Main Dealer, because even the paint mixing specialists were struggling to obtain a correct match on the colour!
Please note that paint supplied by many paint specialists is made to match the final colour and therefore may not require any lacquer. Where as by taking it to a main dealer, the grill was treated to a plasticiser, undercoat, top coat, and lacquer, providing a much more durable finish, and a perfect match.
Finally, the best bit, reattaching the finished grill to the car. Now you have a vehicle with a bit of individualism and a more sportier, more aggressive and more powerful look.