Truck Grille Information and History

I Need to Upgrade My Truck’s Grille

The '49 Oldsmobile Rocket 88.The ’49 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the beginning of American Muscle Cars. In the beginning, there were no grilles on the American muscle cars.
Everyone is always talking about the importance of having a BAD A$$ grille, but are grilles even relevant anymore? Yes, they are. Even though they are not as essential as they once were, they still pay respect to American muscle and help transform any truck or car into a beast.

The First American Muscle Car

In 1949, the American public was introduced to the first ever muscle car, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88. Manufacturers inserted a high power v-8 engine (usually reserved for larger bodies) into the intermediate Oldsmobile 76 frame. Since Americans are always obsessed with big and bad ideas, this turned out to be exactly what the American public was looking for. Soon, American muscle cars were becoming every teenager’s wet dream.

1964 Thunderbolt.The 1964 Ford Thunderbolt is an American muscle car that incorporated the grille design to help with engine cooling.
Where did Grilles Come From?

The 1950s and 60s are often thought of as the golden age for American muscle cars. During this time, manufacturers were competing to see who could put out the most powerful car. Obviously, they figured that the best way to do this was put a stronger engine in the vehicle. However, these powerful engines faced problems with overheating. The bigger engines could only handle so much when they were under the heated metal frames. Manufacturers needed an answer quickly so they could stay one step ahead of the game. The answer: GRILLES. In an article that discusses the 1964 Ford Thunderbolt, author Jamie Frater states, “Major front-end frame modifications were needed [for serious competition], as well as a large hood bulge necessary to accommodate the hi-rise manifold and twin fours, with air induction routed through dummy headlight openings in the grille.” Grilles were inserted to increase airflow to help cool the vehicle’s engines. Pretty soon grilles were found on all of the premier muscle cars of the time and became a stylish accessory in American pop culture.

1959 Chrysler 300e.1959 Chrysler 300e includes a larger grille to help cool the bigger engines that were found on American muscle cars.


Are Grilles Still Relevant Today?

In a recent article titled "5 Unnecessary Auto Styling Trends", author Robert Sorokanich stated, “Today, thanks to more efficient cooling systems, huge frontal openings are no longer necessary.” Today, many crossover vehicles and Sedans (which are much bigger vehicles) breathe through smaller vents. Because of this, grilles could have become obsolete. However, grilles have become synonymous with American power and style. Manufacturers still incorporate grilles into the frame. This is primarily to improve the look. Even with more and more improved engines, the grille will not go away because Americans love the look of muscle!

1963 Plymouth/Dodge 426 Max Wedge.The 1963 Plymouth/Dodge 426 Max Wedge with a pure, American muscle grille.
Can I Upgrade My Grille to Add More Style and Muscle?

At 4wheelonline, we offer Truck Grilles and Billet Grille Inserts to help transform trucks and cars into stylish and powerful looking vehicles. These inserts come in a wide variety of forms that can help make your ride reflect your style. Also, these upgrades are great because they can be installed and switched in just a few minutes.

If you have any questions about grilles or any of the products we offer, feel free to contact 4WheelOnline anytime about Truck Accessories and we will get back to you quickly.


By: Tim Snyder Google




Works Cited

Frater, Jamie. "10 Classic American Muscle Cars." Listverse. Listverse LTD., 15 Aug. 2009. Web. 28 May 2013.

Sorokanich, Robert. "5 Unnecessary Auto Styling Trends." Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communication, Inc., n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.
Posted on June 10th, 2013
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