Subscribe to the Free

1973 Chevy C-10 Front End Replacement - Burnt By The Grille

A Hot Mod For Old Chevy Trucks

Mike Finnegan
Jun 1, 2009
Photographers: Mike Finnegan
Photo 2/29   |   1973 Chevy C10 Front End Replacement chevy Front End
This is one of those mods requiring patience, help from a good friend, and adult beverages to numb the pain. While it does help out in the looks department, replacing the grille and surrounding trim on an older Chevy truck is an incredible pain in the ass and you've really got to be broke, a masochist, or a glutton for punishment to even attempt it by yourself. Whether you're using aftermarket or OEM parts, putting the jigsaw puzzle of pieces together and aligning everything is a real chore.
Photo 3/29   |   I previously swapped a front clip pulled from an '84 GMC Suburban onto my '73 C10. The sheetmetal was in decent shape, but all of the grille mounting tabs were busted and the trim was dented.
I bought my '73 Chevy C10 knowing full well that there was bad bodywork and dents galore lurking beneath the rattle-can primer job. In fact, I knew I'd be swapping the front clip even before I handed over the cash to buy the truck. Ironically, updating the old front end to newer sheetmetal was actually easier than replacing the grille trim, even though the new clip didn't bolt on and required some fabrication. I'm not saying you shouldn't do the same to your truck, I'm just warning you that this job will take the better half of a day to complete, and at some point you'll want to huck a breaker bar through the windshield of your truck.
I ordered the parts for my truck from LMC Truck and found quality parts once I ripped open the cardboard boxes. The chrome-plated bumper arrived via UPS unscathed and the grille trim fit nicely for reproduction parts. Now, if only GM had come up with a better method of securing the grille trim to the truck, I'd be a happy man. Check it out.
Tech Tip
Lighting The Way

You've got options when it comes to parking lamps. LMC has a kit to swap the stock ones into locations behind the new grille, or you can purchase rectangle variations which go into the backside of the bumper. We went with the bumper lights. Here's a look at the procedure for swapping the lamps to the new grille though. The old lamp housings are held onto the old grille via a pair of inch nuts and two clips.
Tech Tip
The Sheetmetal Swap

If you're curious about swapping a late-model front end onto your early model square-body truck, you should know that the parts won't simply bolt on. You'll need the core support from the new truck and that will allow you to bolt up the fenders. However, the hood hinges are in different locations on the trucks. Our '73's hinges pivoted from the middle of the inner fenders. The hood hinges on our '84 front end pivoted from the firewall. This required modifying our firewall. The framehorns on the later-model trucks are also shorter, so our '73 framehorns required trimming and new holes to be drilled in order to swap bumpers. Check it out:
Photo 29/29   |   1973 Chevy C10 Front End Replacement custom Grille
The Final Word
As difficult as it was to install our new grille trim, the end result is worth the effort. When combined with a new grille, bumper, and lighting, the frontend of my C10 looks less like a derelict pickup, and more like a sport truck. Stay tuned because we'll chronical the rejuvenation process of this truck in upcoming issues of ST.


LMC Truck
Lenexa, KS 66219


Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend

Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power

Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to: