Custom Grilles & Emblems
Custom Grilles and Emblems
Exploring the World of Custom Truck and Jeep Grilles
First, things have changed over the last few years concerning custom grilles. Time to update you all about how Custom Grilles have become the standard way to update your pickup and Jeep grille to get the look you want. Featuring T-Rex Grilles & pics.
Old School Grilles
Back in the day, the discussion around Grilles was all about Inserts Vs Shells or Kits. Today, the debate is more about style. On older vehicles, like early 2000's and back, you may still need to look into Grille Shell Kits. So, just in case, here's a history lesson. Grille Inserts are typically the part you likely think of as the grille itself, which is actually bars or mesh that allows air to flow through them into the radiator. On older trucks these were housed behind the Grille Shell, which helped to hold the Inserts in place. The Grille Shell, shown in the picture, holds the Inserts behind and within it. If you wanted to replace the whole kit and caboodle on these trucks, you'd buy a Grille Shell Kit which would include both a Shell and the Insert. If you just wanted to replace the Insert look, you'd replace that part alone and leave the Shell as is. And I suppose if you damaged the Shell or something, you could even just replace that part with a OEM model and keep the original Insert intact. However, today, most trucks rocking non-OEM Grilles have replaced the whole thing, so you might start to think of today's Custom Grilles as a Grille Shell with pre-installed Grille Insert. I suppose one could argue that there isn't as much replacement here or customization. I can't then just get a different insert for my shell, for instance. But there are other ways to spice up your custom Grille with add-on accessories. Also, these new Custom Grilles are much more diverse and innovative than anything that came before. For some models, such as the Chevy Silverado line and Dodge Ram, you may still be able to find lower cost Grille inserts which fit over the OEM Grille, as well as full Replacement Grille Kits. Let's Explore!
As you can see with this sweet X-Metal Grille from T-Rex at the left/above, new Custom Grilles tend to replace the whole thing. On this truck, the Shell and Inserts have been pulled and replaced with a single piece Custom Grille from T-Rex. The Grille is designed to fit your vehicle exactly and many even include wiring for LED lights and even work with Forward Facing Cameras that often come installed on newer pickup trucks these days. You no longer have to decide which Shell to pair with what Insert. Instead, there are tons of innovative designed and even some Designer options that be custom cut using "laser beams" or CNC machines. So the question becomes more about aesthetic choices and lighting options. Let's give you a general overview of the various styles:
Classic Billet Grilles: Billet Aluminum Horizontal Bars or Spokes
Wire Mesh Grilles: Formed Mesh that Criss-Crosses in an X-pattern
CNC/Laser Designed Grilles: Various Designs either CNC or Laser Cut
LED Light Grilles: Any of the above plus LED Lighting Options
Now let's use pictures and words to help you decide which is right for your ride! Chances are we have an option for your ride in the style and lighting option you want. You just need to pick the aesthetics. All of these grilles will allow plenty of air through to cool your radiator, after all. Let's take a closer look at the various styles in action. Also, you can still find some Grille Inserts which may cost less and keep the OEM Shell as it were.
All Your Options
Insert or Replacement Options may depend on your Make/Model
Let's start with the Insert question. If you like the Shell or Centered Cross bar that runs through your OEM Grille, you may have the option to go with a Grille Insert. These are typically a little less expensive and slightly easier to install. However, since they leave the Center bar with Logo intact, they aren't as customizable. The Full Replacement Grille or Custom Grille allows you to remove the original and install whatever design or style you desire. While Inserts may be limited by your Make/Model, Complete Custom Grille Replacement is becoming so common that there is a great likelihood that we will be able to find a full replacement grille in the style or design you want for your vehicle. But if you just want inserts, start browsing there first.
Inserts (Sport Series by T-Rex)
As of this writing, as far as trucks go, Inserts seem to be more of a Chevy and Dodge thing. If money is an issue, and your rocking a Silverado or Ram, Inserts aren't a bad place to start modding your grille. You can even spice it up with...
Logos & Emblems (T-Rex Emblems)
You're more likely to see these on OEM Grilles or with Grille Inserts, but a Logo can help spice up your stock Grille or truck manufacturer logo. However, if you really want your ride to be custom and totally unique, you've gotta get a...
Full Grille (T-Rex X-Metal; Custom Logo)
The complete overhaul of your Grille is what most customers seem to be leaning towards these days, and why not. I mean, come on, that looks sick! If you like the OEM, go with the inserts, but on a F-150, this option rocks!
Plus LED Lighting Options
Roughly Three Categories, some Inserts and some Full Replacement, let's do a full run-down with pictures and explanation. Keep in mind that really when it comes to Grilles you decision should be based upon whether you want an Insert or Full Custom Grille, then which style you like, and finally, whether or not you wan LED auxiliary lights equipped as well. So many Grilles!
That horizontal bar look got you going crazy? You want that Classic Billet Grille then. Today's Billet comes as both Insert or Overlay that covers over your OEM Grille or even as a Full Replacement Grille that involves removing the stock piece and installing the new Custom Grille. Most common colors include Stainless Steel or Chrome Metal and Powder Coated Black.
Billet Series (Overlay pictured; both available)
Considered the classic look because back in the day as far as custom Grilles went, this was about the only option--this Billet Style still catches the eye and makes your front end pop. The T-Rex Billet Grille shown above comes in aluminum or black powder coated variants.
Laser Billet (Full Replacement pictured; both available)
T-Rex's Laser Billet Grilles are cut even more precisely than the normal Billet Series, using "frickin' laser beams" and CNC technology. This means the bars are even more tight together than the Classic. This image shows the powder coated black finished Grille.
For a more rugged and Changry look try a Wire Mesh Grille. Typically available as both metal Chrome or Stainless Steel finishes or blacked out powder coat, the Wire Mesh aesthetic appeals to many a manly man out there today. I like to think of Wire Mesh Grilles as beefed up versions of classic mesh grating, but maybe I was raised in a cage? To each her own, eh?
X-Metal (Full Replacement pictured; both available)
Try to keep your eyes on the grille, boys. The X-Metal lines comes in stainless steel finish with a sweet X-Metal logo available in a variety of colors and finishes. While these images only present the chrome finished bolts (largely decorative), they come in Stealth Black too.
Stealth Metal (Full Replacement pictured; both available)
The Black Stealth edition is powder coated and pretty slick looking. Both the X-Metal and Stealth from T-Rex also come with various style adjustments, including those additional flat bars shown above. Don't forget that those bolts can be Blacked out for total Stealth action.
Upper Class (Full Replacement pictured; both available)
A true blend between Laser Cut and Mesh, this Mesh Grille from T-Rex is cut from a 12 gauge frame using a laser CNC. Shown in polished 304 stainless steel, there is also a black powder coated finish. This Grille adds in the Class we lost just a few pics back. Tee-hee!
Sport Series (Insert or Overlay Only)
T-Rex's so-called budget option is the Sport Series. With all the look of a high end Custom Mesh Grille, the Sport Series has a frameless design that installs without any cutting or drilling, right over the OEM grill, giving your front end a custom look, economically.
CNC & Laser Cut
Modern technology is keeping up with Grille Style. CNC machines equipped with lasers allow for designs that would have never been possible before. Often these Grilles are expansions upon more traditional mesh styles, adding in new patterns and intriguing designs. With the market moving towards Full Custom Grill Replacement, you'll see those heavily featured here.
Grunt (Full Replacement only)
T-Rex's Grunt series is really the X-Metal mesh with a Laser Cut "Soldier" overlay. Really, I don't care too much about the technicalities of it all. I just like that it looks frickin' sweet.
Laser X-Metal (Full Replacement only)
This variant on the X-Metal replaces the mesh wire with CNC Laser Cut Steel. Pretty sick. The chrome studs accent the black powder coated finish of the unique cut pattern steel.
LED Lighting Options: Torch Series
Next up are a number of different Lighting options, including LED auxiliary bars within the grille itself or as add on pieces. The Torch Series, from T-Rex, has a similar look and feel to the X-Metal mesh Series, but with a powerful Light bar pre-installed. Some variants on the Torch include upwards of four separate LED ZROADZ Lights. All Torch Series Grilles only come in the Black powder coated finish. Torch is available as both an Overlay or Insert Grille and also as a Full Replacement Custom Grille, as shown left/above.
Made in America
We here at Midwest Aftermarket cannot stress enough the important of supporting local hard working Americans. Every single T-Rex Grille is manufactured right here in the US of A in a Southern California facility that employees over a hundred souls. They've been in the biz for over 20 years, and have been experimenting and innovating in the grille industry a long time. We decided to feature T-Rex Grilles in this article for all of these reasons: we support local business and American workers, we value innovative design and cutting edge technology, we really dig sick looking grilles, and finally those are some great pictures from T-Rex's website and their dedicated customers. We stand by our decision. Now here's more LED Light options from T-Rex with sweet pix:
ZROADZ (Full Replacement shown; both available)
Featuring ZROADZ LED Light bars, the ZROADZ Grille has the style of the Laser Cut X-Metal paired with sweet lighting options. A slight variant on the Torch Series, you have to love all the options that T-Rex provides. Comes in black powder coated finish only.
Revolver (Full Replacement only)
T-Rex's newest addition to their stunning grille line, the Revolver is an affordable full replacement grille featuring four ZROADZ LED light bars. Currently this design is only available for Ford. This variant on the Laser Cut X-Metal is a serious head turner.
Did we mention T-Rex makes X-Metal Grilles for Jeeps too and a number of other vehicles? Well, they do. Here's a sweet picture of a Jeep with an X-Metal full replacement grille mod.
Additional Grille Options
While I feel we have established why we choose to feature T-Rex Grilles, there are still a number of excellent products out their for your Grille and Grille replacement. If you are looking for emblems or logos, we carry a number of accessories for your Grille. We also carry additional excellent manufacturers Custom Grilles and inserts, including:
ICI Magnum Grilles (one of my favs)
N-Fab Wire Mesh Grilles (classic mesh wire design)
Smittybilt M1 Mesh Grilles (including Jeep options)
Rigid Grilles (with great lighting features)