’71 vette restoration question…metal louvers

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Hi, I have really enjoyed your website, as my husband and I are in the process of restoring a ’71 Stingray. I was wondering if you can help me with a question about the metal louvers on the front fenders.
Are they entirely painted the color of the car? Are they supposed to be metal with just the recessed parts painted? It seems like I could find a few good photos to determine this, but this area doesn’t seem to be very detailed in most of the shots that I have found.
I appreciate any advice you may have.


Thank you for your message, and I am glad you enjoyed our site.I believe you are referring to the cowl vent grills that are located
behind the front wheels on the sides of the car. These were actuallyfunctioning vents that would exhaust air from under the hood. They aid
in engine cooling and reduce front end lift at high speeds caused by
excessive air pressure built up under the hood.The grill behind the hood ahead of the wiper door is painted body
colour. So is the wiper door except for the trimline of the wiper door
edge nearest the windshield.

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G.M. had a habit of plating an entire piece then painting it, masking
and stripping the paint just enough to allow the plated metal surface to
appear as trim accenting, even though the entire piece was actually
plated, or bright white metal. This was done on the front grills, the
bumperettes on either side of the front licence plate, the wiper door,
and on the fender side grills.

These side grills were white metal, and painted body colour. The
horizontal and vertical separations of each of the little squares had
their out side flat edges either masked, or stripped after painting.
This created little chrome like boxes detailing the vents.

On the 1970 cars, only the horizontal lines of the side grills
had the underlying metal exposed, on the ’71 and ’72 cars, both the
horizontal and vertical bars were unpainted. This included the framing around the
boxes as well as the extensions of the horizontal lines that trailed
back to the rear of the piece.

The vents should be removed from the car and painted and detailed
separately. The effect can be created two ways- you can carefully mask
the separations using 1/8″ fine line masking tape, paint the vents, then
remove the tape, or you can paint them and while the paint is still
uncured, carefully strip the paint with a razor blade flat against the
separations to expose the metal underneath. Each of these methods can
also be used to refinish your front grills.

For more detailed information, I urge you to get a copy of the NCRS
Judging Manual for ’68-’72 Corvettes. It makes an excellent restoration

Good luck, and enjoy your Corvette.

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LT-1 admin

Corvette enthusiast

12 thoughts on “’71 vette restoration question…metal louvers

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  • March 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    how do you remove the side grills from a 1971 vette? what is holding them in place? i’m having trouble seeing the backside.can someone help me out? thanks

  • March 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for your question.

    If you feel along the underside of the top of the louvre panel you will find two screws that go upwards, vertically, through the top of the louvre.

    One hole is located at the top of the front of first the egg-crate square, the other hole is through the top of the front part of the last elongated section.

    Each of these screws threads into a sheet metal clip that is attached to the body (fender) which is clipped onto a molded flange that surrounds the louvre opening in the fender. Replacement clips are available for sale online (Ecklers).

    At the bottom of the louvre piece there is a cast-in pin that acts as a locator, so all you should need to do is unscrew the top screws, and tilt the louvre from the top and remove it.

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