67-68 Grille Painting Options

Alright, so, as most of us know, the grille bars on 67-68 Cougars are supposed to be painted silver on either side of the chrome, with black background sections. In the past couple months, however, I’ve seen a couple examples where people have gone all black, except for the chrome ends, and I have to say I like it a lot. It gives the chrome bars better contrast, whereas the silver can look a little dingy. This weekend I took a couple closeup shots of two similar cars with the different paint treatments:

Factory-style silver sides:

All-black / chrome:

I have to say this presents a tough choice for me, since I’m doing a pretty “faithful to original” restoration. To me the all-black looks better. It would also be easier to do.

If anyone else has thoughts / opinions / pics to share, go for it!

Oh yeah, here’s another example of the all-black treatment. I photo’d this car a couple months ago and it made me think seriously about doing the same thing to my grille.

IMO you don’t really notice the lack of silver, you just notice, “hey, that’s a pretty grille.”

I went all black with the chrome fronts. I like the look and as you mentioned, it was easier to do.

I prefer the all black but with the chrome faces on the bars.

Andrew, great question. I’m just about to get to this project myself.

For those who have stayed to the original, what paint have you used for the silver?

The black looks nice but I prefer the original style with argent silver on the sides of the chrome bars. When I’ve repainted 67-68 grilles in the past, I used paint from Ford. I don’t have any of it now and don’t remember the number but it was still available from Ford as of a few years ago.

Andrew on my 67 I did the black with chrome bars. I thought it looked cleaner in contrast as well. Only die hard Cougar guys or gals would notice the change away from the argent silver sides.

I used SEM self etching black primer 1st and then followed up with finish coats of SEM Trim Black.

I think Gry has a detailed process of doing the factory grille painting in her Hertz G restoration thread.

+1 for going the all black/chrome faces route. Though I did consider no chrome showing at all.

Personally, I prefer the black and chrome look also.

Found it: Tell me why? - Polls - Classic Cougar Community Forum

Looks like a lot of masking work, but the finished product looks great. Maybe most of the factory-style silver painted grilles I’ve seen have not been redone to this level. Fresh paint makes a big difference.

I agree that SEM Trim Black is the way to go for the black, but would like to know what people have used for silver. Maybe Gry will chime in if she sees this.

Here’s a third option I just remembered: strip the silver paint off to reveal the chrome on the sides of the bars, and just paint the background black. Has anyone done that?

Thanks for the opinions & pics!

Here’s another closeup of the all-black / chrome on the blue car:

Looks pretty sharp to me! Although I will say that the silver sides do help give the bars dimension. :think:

The “original” grille photo is of my '68 standard, which I have left alone becuase of the overall survivor condition of the car. I prefer the original look.

However…I’ve restored grilles on at least 3 other early Cougars. After removing each assembly and thoroughly cleaning it, it took about 3 hours to tape off the chrome/argent portions and spray 3 light coats of matte black paint on them. And, since they grille emblem background/insert wasn’t available at the time, I carefully taped that off too and painted it. On the grilles I’ve done, repainting the argent wasn’t necessary. I waited about an hour for the paint to dry and carefully peeled off the tape to avoid sharp lines. And, if any paint got anywhere it shouldn’t, I cleaned it up with 0000 steel wool right then, before the paint fully dried. If I could figure out how to post a pic here, you could see how well it turned out.

The first time I did my grill I left the argent paint because it was in really good shape. Then one day at Bill B’s house I saw Joe Gallagher’s freshly painted black and chrome with no argent. I liked it so much I did the same to mine. I’ve had it that way for 3 or 4 years and have never regretted it.

Hi Dennis, it was fun to see your car again at the show, sorry I didn’t bump into you. I’m glad you’re leaving it as-is, it’s really a beautiful survivor. I took some pics of your interior as an example of what a '68 Standard interior should look like. Thanks for the tips on painting.

Ah, that’s a great example. I never noticed it on Joe’s car before, but yep. So sharp, and he got his grille so straight. I need to find out how he did that.

I think I’ll go Eliminator style with a completely blacked out grill with no cat.

I am glad to know the original grill paint colors, although I am a long way from applying this new knowledge to my old grill.

When I bought the rusty old cat, she came with extra parts including this eyelid with its original colors…
and Joe’s car is a beauty!

they all look good. when we redo my son’s grill on his 68 XR7 we are going all black for the front and rear taillights but leaving all the rest of the body trim chrome. i know it won’t look original but we don’t really care, car won’t be stock anyways