Facebook Question of the Month: Hot Grilles

July 17, 2012

To put an automotive spin on another favorite summer pastime — outdoor cooking — this month, the Historic Vehicle Association is looking to readers to help answer a tough question: What are the best looking grilles in auto design?

According to an April article in the Wall Street Journal, car chrome is making a comeback in China — most notably chrome grilles. “The more garish and gothic the better,” says author Dan Neil, “[to] stroll down the aisles of the Beijing International Automotive show. . . is to be confronted at every corner with a Chinese domestic automobile jeering at you with a mouthful of bling.”

As every American car enthusiasts knows, driving a car with a flashy front end is as American as apple pie. It started slowly enough, in the 1930s, as more and more carmakers began to use fancy hood ornaments, radiator caps, more brass, and chrome to help set the look of their vehicles apart from the competition.

The chromatic age in United States peaked in the 1950s when car-buying Americans were seemingly swimming in postwar wealth. The massive chrome grilles and bumpers produced by automakers in this era were audacious, eye-catching, and in some cases hauntingly complex and overlarge. And car buyers loved them.

While it’s true that other nations fashioned some pretty impressive grilles, such as the stately faces of Rolls-Royce or Mercedes-Benz, the grandest and most flamboyant grilles came out of the 1950s. Some of the most memorable include the 1954 Packard Caribbean; the 1957 Chevy; the 1957 Plymouth Fury; and GM’s fabulous 1953 triplets (the Buick Skylark, Cadillac Eldorado, and Oldsmobile Fiesta).

If you have a favorite grille design from long ago, log your comment below or head on over to the HVA’s Facebook page where you can shoot us a photo and tell us what car you think sports the best looking grille in automotive history. Look for the results in an upcoming issue of HVA eNews.



  1. Jackie Salt Lake City, UT

    The best grill (in my opinion) is from the '41-'46 Chevy truck. I have one to restore someday, just for the grill!

  2. dave ny

    1950 Buick for sure

  3. Frank Stephens Stockbridge, Georgia

    One of my favorite grilles is the 1959 Ford Fairlane. A pain to clean all thise little "stars" as I called them when I was a kid.

  4. Gary Kendrick Griffin, GA.

    1948 Buick.

  5. Ron Domkowski NW Chicago

    1950 Buick Grill

  6. Vince Manto 90505

    Any Aston Martin

  7. George Ulrich Tehachapi, California

    The shark tooth grill of a 1954 corvette is my favorite.

  8. chris Northville, Mich

    my favorite and apparently that of 49 Mercury collecters is the 1954 DeSoto.

  9. D Yaros United States

    1955 Cadillac, by far

  10. Gary North of Boston

    One of the best "grilles" was from early model Land rover Series I-II trucks back when they were a steel mess. They were simple in design and had clips you could remove and actually "grille" with them over a fire in the outback!Later mode Series III went to plastic so you outta luck!

  11. FXBrowne NJ

    ...the '63 Ford Galaxie 500XL grille....

  12. wl hanson Eugene, Or.

    Has to be the 1969 Lincoln Mark Three

  13. Manuel Dewey,Ok

    best looking grille ? It is the one on the front of our '39 Chevy Coupe ! No doubt about it .

  14. Dennis Vieira Auburn, New Hampshire

    There is no prettier grille than the 1961 Pontiac Ventura.

  15. Tom Clapp Dennis, MA

    The 1937 Packard is my choice, followed by the 1948 thru 1948 Chrysler.

  16. Tom Clapp Dennis, MA

    The 1937 Packard is my choice, followed by the 1948 thru 1948 Chrysler.

  17. Allen Snyder North Carolina

    1950 Buick Special Grill

  18. Fred Snyder North Carolina

    !950 Buick Special Grill

  19. Sam Johnson Missoula

    1959 Olds , BIG shiny with lots of lites, & BIG Bumper

  20. James E. Linderman Michigan

    The grille on my '58' Buick was one of the best for reflective chrome I've ever seen...

  21. Bill Ricklef Albany, OR

    Without a doubt the '55 Chevy grill is the best and prettiest ever

  22. Leonard Zapala Troy, NY

    Lancia's. Starting in the 30's with the Aprilla up to the Aurelia of the 1950's

  23. Dave Brockport

    55 desoto in a 49 Merc ....ouch!!!

  24. Dave Brockport

    55 desoto in a 49 Merc ....ouch!!!

  25. Steve East Texas

    Another vote for the cascade art deco chrome grill of the 41-46 Chevy pickups. I even saw one of these grills in an art museum, displayed like it was a sculpture. I think they look even better displayed on the front of an old Chevy truck.

  26. art wegweiser Allison Park, PA

    I nominate the Kaiser Darrin which most people never even heard of. And how about the ugliest grills, some of which are still around on current and recent cars?

  27. dave arizona

    1957 cad. very sexy

  28. bob washinton

    The 41-46 chevy truck grill is the "hands down" all time best!

  29. Kerr Virginia

    What about the 1957 Golden and Silver Hawk Studebakers? I believe they were before Mercedes.

  30. Cecil Polan Gerrardstown, WV

    My vote is for the '35 Ford DeLuxe!

  31. Ray Virginia

    1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz conv

  32. Ray Virginia

    1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Conv

  33. Paul iowa

    '58 Edsel Ranger! '57 DeSoto close second!