Grille shutter finish

Home Page Forums General Grille shutter finish

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #467168

    I got a bit of a shock today that it will be 6+ months to get grille louvers replated and messes up my order of battle restoring my ’35 Club Sedan. It had never occurred to me before but started thinking about painting them body color which I know was common and normal in earlier years but I don’t recall seeing a ’34 or ’35 done that way.

    A search of the PASB’s revealed the following quote for ’34-35 from PASB 75-4:  “Fender welting on 1934 (and 1935) Pierce-Arrows……..Radiator shutters were available either primed for lacquer, enameled in black, or chrome plated.

    Has anyone seen a a 1934 or ’35 with painted shutters?

    Not sure I want to do it, but thinking it might look pretty good. It does on several other cars.



    As a partial answer to my own question, the 1935 catalog actually lists chromed shutters as a $25.00 option. I wonder if it is one of those options that wasn’t really an option like heaters in later cars.


    Photos stolen from the internet. I have no idea if it’s original but at least it gives an idea what it looks like.


    Thanks Dave. Similar but I am thinking the way they may have been done originally (except by request) would have only the front of the shell left chrome and the sides and top of the shell paint over the chrome, or maybe not. I am wondering if the center post would have still been chrome.

    With my relatively light body color the front would look less like a vacant opening and maybe less of a hot rod look.



    OK, how about this one?  I had forgotten I took this picture. A 1934 840A that was at the Lancaster meet and belonged to John Cislak. You might ask him about the originality



    When I purchased my 1931 42 convertible in 1984, the grille shutters neither worked, nor were they plated.  When I did some elective plating, I removed the radiator and grille, replaced the shell with a better chromed one that I found somewhere, and plated the shutters.  Moreover, I made the shutters functional.  The improvement in appearance was astounding.  When the shutters were closed, the effect was one mass of gleaming chrome.  I definitely would wait for the plating to be done.



    When I look at ’33-35’s with shutters closed I sometimes feel the big wall of chrome is almost too much, and they look better when warm with the shutters open.

    I have been looking through pictures of ’34-35’s in old Arrows and find hardly any. The couple I did see were black or dark blue and all had the whole shell chrome instead of just the forward facing surface. Some have the center piece chrome and some don’t.

    I will probably wait for the chrome, but I am curious now about what the perhaps theoretical base no-option would have looked like. The closest I can come was the standard finish for a ’32 Packard Light 8 (shovel nose), but it had fixed louvers which saved some manufacturing cost but also made that lower swooping curve of the radiator shell feasible. Personally I think that looks pretty darn good. I am theorizing that the chrome shutters were always put on as a way to add $25 to the list price and avoid the special handling at the factory to match the body color. The salesman could say he would throw in the chrome shutter option at no charge to make the sale. The painted shutters may have actually only been done on special order.

    Does anyone know?


    My experience with 1934 and 1935 cars is that the 1934 had an all-chrome radiator shell, the 1935 had a painted shell with just chrome around the front as mentioned.  Shutter plating or painting was an option, also as mentioned.

    I think the black painted louvers look good, and are distinctive.  Body color is fine too, that’s what I did with my ’31 phaeton.

    While chrome looks great on the louvers, it can also overwhelm the front of the car.

    I remember spending hours on the shutter assembly after having louvers chromed, making the pins fit in the top and bottom retainers.  What fun.


    I think there is an interesting example of the shutters painted body color with just fwd surfaces showing chrome instead of the whole shell, the Silver-Arrows. It is subtle since the body color was silver grey.

    I taped the pins on my shutters before dropping them off at the plater to keep them from getting chromed. I don’t know if they would take the tape off before processing but did it in hopes they realized the pins shouldn’t be chromed. I made the mistake of not doing that on the front vent windows and had fun trying to make them fit again without binding. Doing it on 40 little pin bushings would be a royal pain!


    The 1935 Green Book lists Chrome Plated Radiator Shutter as a $25 option.


    For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the Green Book is a 5″x7″  book which contains all specifications for a model year

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.