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Installing a Custom Glory Grille in Our 1964 “GMC”

Truckin’s longest-running project truck receives the first of several updates.

May 8, 2020

Being isolated at home does weird things to people. Staring at our various abandoned projects has really got us thinking about our priorities lately. All of the unfinished plans on the house, garage, and yard; and most notably, a couple half-built C10s covered up in the driveway. Since we had to cancel plans for any of our usual installs at shops, we had to turn the cameras inward and drum up some business right here at the house.

Our '64 "GMC" had a long life when we got it. (It's really a Chevy, as evidenced by the dash and factory 327 V-8, but it's had the GMC grille with quad headlights since we started the project in 2002.) It started out as a small-window longbed, but we took care of that, as well as removing gallons of bondo, out at Totally Polished back in the day. It debuted at Paso Robles in '03, with the same paintjob and Air Lift airbag kit you see here, but not much else. Over the years, we've added big brakes, billet "steel" wheels, a new column with power steering, a 700R4 transmission, aluminum radiator, and the list goes on. But spending most of the time outside covered up has taken its toll on the paint and other aspects of the truck. The flat black paint is now a patina, and moreover, the whole idea of doing a '50s look on a '60s truck, which was so fresh at the time, is beyond played out at this point. One of the things we always wanted to do was replace the GMC grille emblem with something a little more custom.

Photo 2/16   |   Luckily, we snapped a photo of our '64 the last time it was dusted off and taken for a cruise. We were ready for a change, and current circumstances gave us a good excuse to get to work.

Since we're talking Truckin history here, we should tell you about the very first cover of Truckin. It featured a Dodge van named Old Glory that was owned by young builder named Jerry Wesseling. Jerry logged a ton of miles in Old Glory, hitting all the van runs, collecting tons of trophies in his Evel Knievel-like jumpsuit, and kissing the trophy girl on the way out—hey man, it was the '70s. In one of the many features on the van, the editor stated that right after the photo shoot, Jerry changed out the grille to a new tube design that would accommodate quad headlights, and was beginning to market it for sale. That was the beginning of Glory Grilles, and while Jerry has worn many hats since then, he has never stopped building one-off tube grilles for vans, trucks, and customs. We had been meaning to try and track him down for a long time, and when we finally did, it turned out to not be hard at all, as Jerry's son had helped bring him into the digital age with a website and social media.

Jerry gave us some options, but ultimately, we trusted his judgement on the tubing size and layout. We pulled off our grille, dropped it off with Jerry, and in a couple weeks picked up a freshly chromed masterpiece. The install and finished look of this grille is the first in our attempt to bring this truck out of the '50s and into, well, the '60s. Stay tuned right here for more of our at-home updates to our beloved project truck.

Photo 3/16   |   As soon as we dug the truck out of the corner, we removed the GMC quad-headlight grille. We love the design but never loved the floating GMC letters to fill the void.
Photo 4/16   |   There is literally no one who has a longer history with Truckin magazine that Jerry Wesseling. His van, Old Glory (top right), was on our very first cover!
Photo 5/16   |   The first step of building a custom tube grille is to choose the size of the tubing, which also determines the number of bars used. The sizes are , 3/8, and inch, and square tubing is also available.
Photo 6/16   |   Jerry is not going to give away all of his secrets, but he did give us a glimpse into how he builds his custom Glory Grilles. Once he had our GMC grille at his shop, he taped up all the chrome to protect it and determined the depth of where the bars would lay into the grille shell. You can also see how Jerry uses 3/8-inch square tubing to properly space out the 3/8-inch round tubing we were using.
Photo 7/16   |   We were stoked on the curved taper design Jerry had in mind. It was exactly what we had in mind for our truck.
Photo 8/16   |   The curving, trimming, and stacking of tubes continues until all six are in place.
Photo 9/16   |   Jerry flips the grille insert over and into a jig of sorts for final welding. He then figures out some mounting points and fabricates brackets accordingly. Then it was off to the chrome shop.
Photo 10/16   |   The final result blew us away. Our vision had been realized.
Photo 11/16   |   From the backside, you can see the two mounting points on each end of the insert. Jerry fabbed brackets that bolt the insert to existing holes in the grille shell.
Photo 12/16   |   When we were ready to reinstall the grille, it was 10:00 the night before the COVID Cruise in Huntington Beach. We set up some light and got to it.
Photo 13/16   |   Jerry also built a phantom-style full grille that will work for all '60-'66 Chevys and GMCs. He asked us to test the fit it really quick.
Photo 14/16   |   We hung it in place and checked all the clearances. They are now available on the Glory Grilles website.
Photo 15/16   |   Now we set our GMC grille back into place and reinserted the bolts from under the front fenders.
Photo 16/16   |   Well, we made the cruise the next morning. And our new look for the truck was starting to take shape. We can't wait to show you what we have in store next!

Source Box:

JW Enterprises- Glory Grilles