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April 8, 2017


There isn't a much more distinctive part of the TR6 than its grille.  It's just a simple egg-crate design, but the shape and how it spans and offsets the headlights just adds to the brawny feel of the car.  And the largish TR6 medallion set proudly dead center, like a nose cone, sets a definite masculine tone.

My grille was all there, but somehow in storage, the enameled medallion had become damaged.  I know it wasn't that way when I put it away.

Here is how the grille is constructed.  The welded aluminum egg crate fits inside a steel perimeter frame.  A polished stainless strip covers the frame on the top and bottom (except on earlier cars, I think).  Across the center is an  anodized aluminum extrusion that carries a black cloth strip in its recess.

The steel perimeter frame was coated with some kind of rubbery compound that had failed in places, trapping water under it.  The frame was also zinc plated when new, so after a lot of effort to remove the coating, I soaked it in Evaporust to remove the rust without damaging the surviving zinc.  The rust left fairly deep pitting in places, but nothing that threatened the integrity of the frame.

The egg crate was originally painted with a flat or satin black that was in bad shape, and the aluminum had a lot of corrosion pits.  A little sand blasting took care of the corrosion and the remaining paint.

On a whim, I removed the rest of the enamel from the field of the medallion.  At this point, I didn't know what I was going to do with it.

I gave the frame and agg crate a couple shots of epoxy primer.  On the medalion, I masked off the chrome borders and the raised parts, and shot it, too.

I then shot the frame and egg crate with some satin black trim paint, which I apparently forgot to take a picture of.  While that was drying, I dug out the center aluminum rail.   The black cloth strip in its recess was faded and dirty, and came out easily after removing little spring clips at the ends.  In my research, I repeatedly came across a tip that the tape used to improve grip on tennis rackets was a close match.  I bought some, and it looks identical to the original.  It's wider, though, and has to be cut down to a little over 5/16".  It is self adhesive, but I installed the original clips anyway.

In test fitting everything, I found that the steel frame actually has to be sort of stretched over the egg crate, and the crate is held in by the tension of the frame.  This meant that the ends of some of the aluminum strips of the crate were bearing pretty hard on the frame.  This didn't seem to augur well for the paint on the frame, and it occurred to me that maybe that was the reason for the tough rubbery coating on the frame.  My attempt to keep the crate pieces from digging into the frame paint was to dip the ends of the crate pieces in Plasti-Dip a few times.  This coats the ends with cushiony rubber.  Hope it works.

So here's what I decided to do with the medallion.  I've seen that a few people have either painted or had their medallions re-enameled in a color other than black.  I just mixed up a little Mimosa paint that I used for the tub, and shot a couple of heavyish coats.  I'll wait to see how it looks on the car before I decide to use it this way.

So, with all the parts ready, a dozen or so blind rivets puts it all back together.

This was a fairly quick, fun project.  The only cost was for the grip tape, and I actually also bought a new black medallion before I decided to try the Mimosa Experiment.  I'm sure I'll use the yellow medallion somewhere even if it isn't the nose cone.

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