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I got tired of not having what I consider an appropriate "grill", so last weekend I did a little modification. I know its not what some would consider 'correct' but its what I wanted. Now she has a sexy mouth to go with her smile. ;)

Found the grill on ebay a few years back for $20, put it on my garage wall and have been debating the change since then.

A little metal work, a little hacksawing, some shaping, a little fiberglassing, a lot more shaping and sanding and some bumper paint. Took about 6 hours not including dry time.
I did not change the position of the shocks to bring it closer to the body. Maybe later.

Finished these last saturday, then drove up to Dallas area Sunday (475 mi). Just got back last night. A little over 1200 mi RT, 30mpg. She did not miss a beat and we drove the last 300 miles in POURING rain. Lots of positive comments from the guys at Vick Autosport in Ft. Worth, and 'thumbs-up' from the road.

Thanks to Conedriver for the inspiration and technical help.
 

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How did you cut the bumpers? Ban saw? Interesting treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How did you cut the bumpers? Ban saw? Interesting treatment.
I used a 14" hacksaw with a medium coarse blade, a shot of Meyers and a couple of Shiner Bocks'. The rubber is thin in spots and thick in others. The bumper metal is 6 layers thick and is a bear to go through on the flat, but it cuts straight.
 

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Looks factory to me, nice job!
 

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That hacksawing is a lot of work! I would have taken it to a mahince shop with a ban saw to cut through all of that. You could still enjoy the shiner bocks after the job was all done. :)
 

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What did you need to fiberglass? The body sheetmetal around the grille, or covering the wounds where the bumper was cut in the center?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What did you need to fiberglass? The body sheetmetal around the grille, or covering the wounds where the bumper was cut in the center?
The opening cut out of the bumper, and the cutout for the license plate holder on the bottom of the bumper. Now it looks like there is nothing from the factory to attach a plate to. Darn, no front plate..;)
 

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Hi Bill,

Your car looks GREAT! You did exactly what I did many years ago, but I also retracted the front & rear shock mounts. I also retained the connection between the two bumper halves, and you're right; there's a LOT of metal under the outer rubber covering. Regardless, the difference is that the car looks like a "real" Spider again. Not to highjack your thread, but, if anyone is interested, I still have the collapsed shocks and modified bumper for sale if anyone wants the pieces.

I got tired of not having what I consider an appropriate "grill", so last weekend I did a little modification. I know its not what some would consider 'correct' but its what I wanted. Now she has a sexy mouth to go with her smile. ;)

Found the grill on ebay a few years back for $20, put it on my garage wall and have been debating the change since then.

A little metal work, a little hacksawing, some shaping, a little fiberglassing, a lot more shaping and sanding and some bumper paint. Took about 6 hours not including dry time.
I did not change the position of the shocks to bring it closer to the body. Maybe later.

Finished these last saturday, then drove up to Dallas area Sunday (475 mi). Just got back last night. A little over 1200 mi RT, 30mpg. She did not miss a beat and we drove the last 300 miles in POURING rain. Lots of positive comments from the guys at Vick Autosport in Ft. Worth, and 'thumbs-up' from the road.

Thanks to Conedriver for the inspiration and technical help.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Bill,

Your car looks GREAT! ... the car looks like a "real" Spider again.
Thanks George, coming from you that is a very rewarding compliment.
That was also my feeling all along, that the front just did not have the character a "real" Spider should have.
I may push the bumpers in a little more but having somthing out there to protect the nose is at least some security, even if at times false security.

It was a relatively easy project and the most difficult part was cutting away the little 'grillette' and rebending the grille opening in the nose piece. I just did not want to change the shape of that metal, but fitting the grille first was the key to cutting the opening, since I was not planning on retracting the shocks at this time.
Over all not a bad weekend project and I recommend it to anyone with a little time and skill.
Thanks again George. :)
 

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Very nicely done Bill!

Best Regards,
John M
 

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looks great, job well done!!
 

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Bill,

What a great look. Time well spent.
 

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Love the customization, and was trying to figure out how I was going to find a crest for my lower...may take this route, and would be interested in the grill info if you want to PM me about.
 

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Bruce (and others),

The key to this conversion for "rubber bumper" Spiders is that the semicircular indentation to accomodate the top grille profile is actually in place. It's hidden behind the plastic chrome trim piece above the bumper that mimics the top of a real grille. For my original conversion, I placed small fibergass plugs to cover the two mounting holes, and added some touchup paint. Extensive bodywork is not required.


Love the customization, and was trying to figure out how I was going to find a crest for my lower...may take this route, and would be interested in the grill info if you want to PM me about.
 

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Wow this looks amazing,
I have a 78 spider, and would like to do a conversion like this to mine, i'm just wondering which grill did you use, was it from an earlier spider or a different Alfa model?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow this looks amazing,
I have a 78 spider, and would like to do a conversion like this to mine, i'm just wondering which grill did you use, was it from an earlier spider or a different Alfa model?
The grille was presented as from a '73 Spider that I found on ebay a few years back. Not the best chrome but good enough, straight and not expensive, and the badge turned out to be almost perfect.

You should be able to find a good condition one yourself as they show up often.

Thanks and good luck,
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thought I would go ahead and include a few pictures of what was cut out of the bumper. Pretty amazing engineering to my eye...
And thanks to all for the kind words. Sometimes we all need a little reinforcement when we do somthing were not sure was the best choice, but after a week of living with the change I can honestly say it makes a positive difference in the way she looks! I'm pleased with the results. :)
 

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You do one or two more of those jobs (hey, you never know, you mightr have created your own market :) ) and I'd suggest a sawzall or band saw be a future investment. ;) (I'da never done that with a hacksaw, not a chance. I'd be dead if I tried....)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You do one or two more of those jobs (hey, you never know, you mightr have created your own market :) ) and I'd suggest a sawzall or band saw be a future investment. ;) (I'da never done that with a hacksaw, not a chance. I'd be dead if I tried....)
I have a band saw and a sawzall but for this job I just felt it was important to have a 'feel' for what was going on, not really knowing what was behind all that rubber. Now I know...:eek: A little Zen breathing, zone out and focus and just rock and roll into it. (good for the bisceps too ;) )
 
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