The grille on your car or truck is its most distinctive signature, and it's one of the first things people notice about your ride. A well-designed grille can make it easy for those with even a passing interest in cars to recognize the type of vehicle you drive. In our Car & Truck Custom Grilles section, we allow you to go a step further with grilles that complement, enhance, or revamp your front end a little or a lot depending on your preference. You can take this to its ultimate conclusion by creating a look for the front of your car that everyone will recognize as YOU. In this article, we'll guide you through the types and styles of grilles we offer, and we'll cover terminology you may not be familiar with such as mesh, billet, and CNC styles.
Mesh grilles are simple, yet elegant. They're original equipment on some of the finest sports and luxury cars in the world, and are very popular in the aftermarket. Mesh patterns are either cast in one piece, or created by bonding or weaving separate strands of material together. Whether crafted from aluminum, stainless steel, or ABS plastic, mesh grilles willl come with a finish of polished metal, chrome plating, or powder coat (usually black). Depending on the closeness of the weave pattern or openings, mesh grilles can be described as "fine mesh" or "heavy mesh".
For best value, we offer the GrillCraft MX Series Mesh Grille for cars and trucks, as well as the T-Rex Sport Series Mesh Grille in either a chrome or black finish that's discreetly done, not overdone. For traditional looks that feature an all-mesh grille center, we've got the T-Rex Upper Class Mesh Grille in 304 grade stainless steel, and the chrome-plated aluminum Putco Liquid Mesh Grille insert piece. If you're interested in mesh grilles offering the best shine and longevity, check out the E&G Classics' Fine Mesh Grille with a mirror chrome finish on stainless steel mesh. Possibly the tightest mesh look is achieved with the E&G Classic Stacked Fine Mesh Grille. As the name implies, these grilles stack one mesh pattern on top of another, for a 3-dimensional appearance.
Prefer an all-chrome look? R.I. offers triple-chrome plated mesh grilles; optionally choose grilles with rivets or a chrome perimeter. There's even the E&G Classics Black Ice Heavy Mesh Grille with stainless steel construction and "black chrome" finish that, combined with the texture of the weave, creates a look of two intertwining colors. And if you'd like a grille with camouflage patterns on the outer edging, T-Rex's Graphic Series Formed Mesh Grille for 4x4s offers carbon steel construction with black powder coat applied to a fine weave center mesh section. The mesh is fine enough that, in black, it seems to disappear completely - a factor that serves to heighten the impact of the camouflage.
We've also got stainless steel grilles with a fine mesh look that enhance your vehicle's front end with custom-designed lines. When discretion is preferred, consider Asanti's Bodystyling Grille Kit (matching side fender vent pieces are available on some applications). For a more aggressive look, Lexani's Bodystyling Mesh Grille Kit offers patterns that are more actively involved in resculpting the looks of your front end. And if you prefer a heavier-weave mesh pattern, DJ Grilles offers the Macaro Mesh Grille available in chrome, black, polished metal, or even custom-painted finishes.
Nothing adds a look of riveted high strength the way metal studs do, and we offer a number of mesh grilles equipped with decorative studs around their perimeter and/or center areas for 4x4s. For starters, there's the stainless steel E&G Classics E-Power Style Grille with fine- or heavy-mesh patterns in your choice of chrome or black mesh with black powder coat on perimeter areas. The stainless steel Fuel Studded Mesh Grille offers a lot of choices for 1-piece and 2-piece grilles if your vehicle was designed with them, and the stainless steel R.I. Chrome Mesh Grille with Chrome Rivets offers uniform chrome finishes across all perimeter, stud, and center mesh areas.
If you prefer grilles with studded bands running across center areas, we've got the stainless steel RBP RX-2 Series Grilles - see Product Options for available color and finish choices. The T-Rex Torch Series Black Mesh Grille with LED Lights is a carbon steel grille insert piece with black powder coat finish that includes a built-in LED light strip. For some makes and models, a matching lower grille insert piece with a separate LED strip is available. (Should you prefer the look of this grille insert without LEDs, T-Rex offers the X-Metal Series Mesh Grille.) For those who wish to fit their own LEDs, Rigid Industries offers the stainless steelLED Grille that features a wide selection of designs. In the Product Options field, you'll find grill designs with openings and wiring sockets for one very wide light, two wide lights, two square-shaped lights, and more.
Heavy mesh grilles feature weave patterns that are farther apart, not close together. This can impart a look of brute strength on the right vehicle. For example, there's the GrillCraft SW Series Polished SS Mesh Grille for cars and 4x4s. E&G Classics has the Heavy Mesh Grille and black chrome finish Black Ice Heavy Mesh Grille - both of which are crafted from stainless steel. And if you like the look of dual-weave mesh, take a look at the Tiarra Luxury Grille Kit and the E&G Classics Dual Weave Mesh Grille.
For those who prefer a heavy mesh grille design made of light-weight material, we've got a selection of plastic and aluminum grilles to choose from. First, the Spec-D Mesh Grille offers best value with ABS plastic construction. Depending on make and model of vehicle, they are available in either black or chrome plating. Moving to aluminum construction, there's the T-Rex Hybrid Series Mesh Grille available in polished aluminum or chrome finishes. Additionally, there's the top-of-the-line E&G Classics Ultimate Series Grille made from one single piece of aluminum for the highest strength. While it's only made for a limited selection of vehicles, it does offer stylish enhancements over most traditional mesh grilles. For example, Mercedes grilles are equipped with horizontal bars that pay tribute to classic company styling.
Billet is a term you'll see frequently, and in some places it's become so synonymous with the aftermarket that all such grilles are referred to as "billet" grilles. However, for our purposes billet refers to a grille style consisting of a series of vertically or horizontally stacked bars. The term may have originated because such bars look like billets, which are square section castings or extrusions created when steel or aluminum is formed. There are billet grilles with many thin bars stacked closely together and grilles with only a few thick bars. Billet grilles are made from aluminum or stainless steel and they can be polished, chrome plated or powder coated in your choice of color. They are also available formed from ABS plastic, a material that combines the strength and rigidity of the acrylonitrile and styrene polymers with the ruggedness of the polybutadiene rubber. ABS plastic is impact-, chemical-, and heat-resistant, and it's widely used by Original Equipment automobile Manufacturers (OEMs) in the manufacture of various exterior and interior trim pieces.
When it comes to horizontal bars, we've got the value-oriented Street Scene Billet Grille available in a variety of finishes. If you prefer stainless steel construction, the E&G Classics "Q" Style Grille is designed with slightly wider bars that accentuate factory looks on a wide selection of cars and trucks. RI's stainless steel Billet Grille features narrower bars and specializes in chrome with a triple-layer finish. Or, for a more subtle factory look, consider SES Trims's Chromed Stainless Steel Billet Grille with vertical-support crossbars and OEM logos front and center. And APG's Tubular Grille features polished stainless steel rounded bars that resemble tubes rather than square-edged slats. You can learn more about tubular grilles here.
Moving to aluminum construction, you'll find several overlay pieces. First, the Putco Dayliner Liquid Grille Insert offers a billet design that adds tension with vertical crossbars and gaps that are rounded at the corners for a look that's somehow soft, yet high-amp at the same time. Putco also offers the Shadow Billet Grille aluminum overlay for truck models. If you prefer the look of highly polished aluminum, take a look at GrillCraft's BG Series Polished Grille. Interestingly, the front edge of the bars is polished bright metal with black powder coat applied to background areas. What this does is create an illusion that the grille is floating in midair. APG's Aluminum Billet Grille offers a choice of polished metal or black powder coat finish across all surfaces, and T-Rex's Chrome Billet Grille Shell Assembly goes for a clean horizontal look without logos or vertical cross bars.
Made from premium-grade aluminum, Lund offers their Original Bar Style Billet Grille overlay that fits over your existing grille and Framed Perimeter Billet Grille insert piece with matching cutouts and mounting points for any grille-mounted factory logos.
Since vertical bars tend to look best on vehicles with tall grille openings, they're usually available on a limited selection of contemporary cars and trucks. For best value, we've got Spec-D's Billet Grille and RI's Replacement Grille. Both of these are crafted from ABS plastic and can be selected with black powder coat or chrome finishes. DJ Grilles offers the stylish Vertical Designs Grille overlay that installs over your original grille. Available in polished stainless steel, vertical bars are stylishly wide with narrow opening slots. Moving up to lightweight, high-strength aluminum construction, we've got the E&G Classics Classic Style Aluminum Vertical Grille and the 1-piece aluminum APG Polished Perimeter Grille. Note that for most of these grilles, the availability of the vertical design will vary based on year, make, and model. You will find the vertical billet choices within the Product Options drop-down menu.
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) manufacturing means virtually all steps of the grille-making process are performed by machines controlled solely by computers. This allows precision shaping of metal, cutting of intricate patterns and shapes, and machining of irregular edges to smooth perfection. Grilles with complex customized patterns such as perforated holes seen on "punch" style grilles, spider webs, and flames require this higher level of precision and accuracy that wasn't possible before CNC processes existed. Without computer controls relentlessly performing all legs of the manufacturing process flawlessly, finished parts could not be produced in quantity, nor would it be possible to maintain consistent quality control or ease of interchangeability.
In our CNC Machined Grilles sub-section, we've got a selection of grilles by Putco that let you add a unique imprint to the face of your vehicle. For example, their aluminum Tribe Stainless Steel Grille Insert has machined patterns cut into tribal zig-zag designs and their Flaming Inferno Stainless Steel Grille features an array of flame patterns available in your choice of unpainted metal, a single color, or up to 4 colors. For something even more unique, their aluminum Liquid Spider Web Grille overlay features a spider web pattern that's centered in the middle of the grille. If your particular vehicle's fascia is equipped with crossbars that split the grille into two pieces, the design is modified for that. Prefer patriotic stars and stripes patterns? Putco has pickup owners covered with their stainless steel Patriot Grille overlay.
E&G Classics gets into the CNC-machined grille act with both their "Z Style" and "Q Style" grilles. Depending on the specific vehicle, the Z-style grilles are either punch-style, vertical bars, or weave pattern. By contrast, the Q-style grilles feature flat, one-piece horizontal bar construction. In both cases, the grilles are laser cut from mirror-polished stainless steel.
If you've got a 2010-2015 model year Camaro, T-Rex's 1-piece Custom Style Polished Billet Grille matches the contours of the Camaro's original grille but adds a wide grid pattern. DJ Grilles also offers their Hidden Headlights Grille for late-model Camaros and Dodge Challengers - each with several styles of grilles with accent lines and mesh designed to conceal the presence of headlamps. Once you've selected model and grille choice, 12 custom colors will be available on the Hidden Headlight main style.
As we stated at the top of this article, your vehicle's grille does more to alter its appearance than any other single exterior item. The custom grille you choose says a lot about how you feel about your ride! Color, brightness, and boldness all combine to create a unique statement about you and your car or truck. Go subtle or go wild - either way, your choice of custom grille lets you stand out and above everyone else on the road.