69 Custom Grille Replacement Project

Started my grille replacement project this weekend. Fun to get back to working on the car. To give a little background I bought this car back in 2013 to get back into cars with my sons. We worked on the car for a few years until they went off to college and I was left with a decision to make. Either buy a new brand new muscle car or invest the money in the cougar and take it to the next level. I think you know the choice I made. Anyway the car had a custom billet aluminum grille installed when I bought it. I actually liked the look of it but the old style bulbs did not shine through the grille very well. When I sent the car to Schwartz Performance to be redone I left the grille as part of the project but added black-out LED headlights behind it to improve the look and hopefully the brightness. However, after driving the car for the last year I’m still not happy with the amount of light that gets through. I decided to reach out to Don at WCCC to see if he could put together a complete grille package including all the brackets and hardware so I could return it to the stock configuration. My intention is to paint the grille matte black to match the rest of the trim on the car so I was looking for a solid grille but the chrome didn’t need to be good. Low and behold Don came through like a champ as he always does. I have bought enough parts from him I think he credits me with putting one of his kids through college!!

So I have removed the custom grille and headlights and started to trial fit the factory grille. All was good until I got to the passenger side and found the AC drier was in conflict with part of the assembly. I need to move it about an inch toward the center and redo the line from the condenser to the drier. I’m going to bend a hard line to keep it tight and out of the way. Once I get the ac system evacuated I can temporarily remove the drier and continue the trial fit work. These are some pictures of the problem.

1.5 kids through Jr College to be exact. I just bought a 2012 Raptor and was hoping we could continue the tradition? The monthly payments are only $500…

Nice! And I was hoping for my first advertising check for these posts!! Looks like we’re both out of luck. LOL

Vintage Air parts came today from Summit Racing. Will get the AC evacuated on Friday and back to work on the grille on Saturday.
Vintage Air Parts.jpg

Finished the AC evacuation and ready to get back to work.

Think it looks better without the green lipstick treatment

Agreed. Fortunately I can wash that lipstick off.

Had a productive weekend trial fitting the grille. I removed the AC drier line and mocked up a new bracket. Only had to move it about an inch toward the center.

Got the rest of the grille installed and rough aligned.

Sunday I was able to get a better alignment and get the Cat Headlights electric motor conversion installed. I temporarily wired it using my battery tender connection. I used the hot side to make a jumper for the trigger wire and used a bullet connector as a temporary switch. It worked great for testing.

Had another fun weekend working on the car. I’m waiting on a pair of headlight door shaft assemblies from WCCC in hopes of getting a better alignment on the headlight doors. Apparently if the shafts aren’t a matched set the doors may open and close unevenly. Only off by a ¼” but its visible to me.
So, while I’m waiting, I went to the headlight assemblies. I had Dapper Lighting LED headlights behind the custom grille, but they are WAY too deep to fit in the stock housings. I’ve attached a few pics of the Dapper lights with a comparison to a stock bulb.

So, I have been searching for a while to find a 5.75 DOT approved LED headlight that will fit the stock buckets. This proved to be more of a problem then I thought it would be. Apparently very few people in the Cougar community are doing this and if they are, they aren’t posting about it. I thought I was in luck when I saw a new thread a few months ago about a contest for free LED headlights from NPD for Delta Tech lights but that thread kind of died no matter how hard I pushed it. Here’s a link.

Anyway, I couldn’t get much in the way of specs/dimensions for the Delta Lights on the web. Not sure if they are DOT approved etc. but I did find a lot of positive info on Vision X VX series XIL-575RDB lights. They are DOT approved and appeared to be of a size that would fit a stock Cougar bucket AND they are stupid expensive. However, I was able to source a very gently used set from a local builder for a more reasonable but still stupid amount. They are an H5001/H5006 replacement size which means they fit the outer low beam bucket without modification. The inner high beam bucket needed to be modified for the tabs to fit so I ordered 2 extra outer buckets from WCCC rather than cut the inners I have.


These lights are a sealed beam with LED high, low and halo DRL’s all in one with a low power draw. They can be wired to light in several different ways such as lighting the high, low and halo all at once. After installing them and testing them I’ve decided to run them in a standard setup with one extravagance. I’ve wired it so the headlight doors open and the halo’s come on when I turn on the parking lights (nice perk with having electric headlight door conversion). When I pull the switch all the way out for headlights the halo’s stay lit and outer low beams come on as designed. When I hit the high beam switch the inner high beams light. Far from concourse correct but I love it!

I’m close to finished with the test assembly. After I receive my parts from WCCC I can final the door alignment on opening and close. I also need to fit the second pair of lights and test them as well. Once that is done, I will be ready to break it all down and send it out for blasting and painting.

I still need to build the final wiring harnesses, make-up the new AC line for the relocated drier, etc. but I will do all that while everything is at the painter.

That’s all for now.

Looking good. I like the custom headlight touch and I’m sure they are a million times better then the halogens. I like the looks of the lenses of your first set better but I’m sure the output is better on the vision x lights not to mention the size is a better fit as well.

I still need to convert to electric doors on mine and I’m not quite sure what I want to do for lights, just have halogens currently but this gives me some ideas.

Hey DieselD, Yeah I agree on my original lights. I would have loved to reuse them but there was no way they would fit without major modifications. Once this grille project is complete I’m going to list the custom grille and LED lights for sale as a package. The electric conversion is awesome, I highly recommend it.

Also congrats on April Ride of the Month!

Looking good! Those halo lights suit your car, that’s pretty cool.

For anyone else looking into brighter headlight options, I have a couple thoughts. A more stock-looking solution for LED headlights would be to use E-code H4 bulb housings like Cibie, Hella, or the cheaper Octane ones WCCC carries and then use these LED’s in place of H4 halogens. Looks like there shouldn’t be any issues with the size.

But to be honest I’d probably stick with halogens personally because of the more natural warm light color. I’m not really a fan of the cool bluish-white color on most LED’s, especially for old cars. Not to mention it would be almost $300 just for the 4 LED bulbs, so screw that :laughing:
These kits are a good option, but personally I’d probably replace the blue-tinted bulbs that come with them with normal H4’s.

Thank you. Depth of the unit was my biggest concern, but I also liked the look of the black out bulb and halo’s so that is the direction I ultimately went. If I was going for the stock look I really like your suggestion on the H4 housings with the Headlight Revolution LED bulbs . I think the depth would be close but would work. I would love to see a post from someone who tried it.

I have been following this project in the shadows, but just want you to know that this is the kind of helpful stuff that this site is best used for. It helps the entire Cougar community, even if we just file it away for later use.

Personally, I liked the look of your original LED bulbs/housings better than what you ended up having to use because to me they just looked “cleaner”. I still love the fact that you overcame some obstacles and made a small compromise to arrive at your LED headlight goal. Bravo and well done!

I also love the other mods you have done on your car to make it more reliable and even more fun to drive. Awesome job and keep doing what your doing.:sunglasses:

I also gleaned some very useful info on housings and LED replacements that I will eventually use thanks to you starting this thread. Thanks to all.