Facelift part 2

Now that the front end of the car is apart, the focus is on the prep work. The new parts need to be prepped for installation. The old parts need to be cleaned up and inspected.


I received a 1971 Oldsmobile 442 grill, headlight surround, and stone shield set from Brothers Automotive Parts. My car is a 1972, but I prefer the look of the 1971 grill. These parts were all sent out for paint during the tear down process. I have considered painting my car Atomic Orange Metallic from the C6 Corvette, but after seeing the Cutlass original Saddle Bronze Metallic in new form, I think I will keep the original color.

I ordered a grill assembly kit from Inline Tube so that I would have all new screws, nuts, and bolts for the new parts. These items matched up with the assembly manual and made installation must easier.

So I am putting a 442 grill on an Oldsmobile Cutlass. Not the first or the last to do it. I think the star of the show and page from the pro touring book is the lighting. I ordered a set of Five Seven Five V2 projector headlights from Dapper Lighting. I went with black and opted for the classic halo. Not only do the look great, they are much brighter than the sealed beam headlights from period.


I used a mild soap and water mixture to wipe down the parts that would be reused. The core support was treated with a rust inhibitor then coated in flat black paint. The same was done with headlight brackets and headlight buckets.

The core supports were the same in 1971 and 1972. The 442 grills use assembly points from other models. The top of the grill uses attachment locations further back. It is important that once the grill is in, to check the alignment and make sure the hood closes properly. If not, you will need to remove and reinstall until you get it right, I know.

I cleaned up and reused the headlight brackets. Make sure that both the male and female ends of any bolt/screw points are cleaned and treated with anti-seize lubricant. Also, use new hardware when possible. A rusty bolt is just waiting to break, I know.

Everything went back together fairly well. Not completely removing the front bumper allowed me to jack it up into place. There was extremely tight clearance between the bumper and stone shield, but just enough to squeeze it in. The headlights wired in using the supplied harness. I was even able to wire the halos into the park lights without them flashing with the turn signals. I learned a lot and stretched myself beyond my known abilities. This is what I enjoy most about the hobby.

Dapper Lighting is available through their Amazon store. Check out the link below to purchase a set today.

Dapper Lighting V2 on Amazon


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