After compiling the Readers' Rides section this month, we found one commonality with just about all of the trucks-they all had some sort of front-end treatment. The most common of the mods was the billet grille. The billet grille has become so popular that some OE manufacturers are starting to put billet look-alikes on their new trucks. Thankfully, the aftermarket community stepped up the game and produced more options than just horizontal billet bars. There are many companies out there offering the front-end dress-up bars, and it just so happens that one of the largest ones out there, JBM, is right down the street from us. JBM is a master distributor of the T-Rex line of grilles, and the T-Rex line is pretty extensive, covering just about any style and material you might want.
This article will map out what the basic price ranges for each of the different styles will set you back and let you know if you have to cut your truck to get it in. So, if you are contemplating adding a new grille to your ride, check out what JBM and T-Rex has to offer and happy grilling.
Here is the grille that replaced the tube grilles of the '70s, which set the standard for front-end modifications on the stuff we build. These will be the most budget-minded of any grille on these pages, and like its vertical brother, it can be installed right over the top of the factory grille, or you can cut out the black plastic center. Look to spend $120 or more for this staple of the truck accessory world.
Going against the proverbial grain, vertical billet grilles feature shorter bars that might be a little less prone to bending but still have a classy look. On most applications, these will fit right over the top of the factory grille, but for a more professional look you can cut out the OE center. These will run in the range of $120-250, depending on application, and are usually powdercoated black with a polished face.
Full Face Replacement
Some trucks like this Chevy HD will allow you to pop off the complete factory stuff and replace it all with billet bars. The Dodge is not a full replacement but will need some heavy cutting to get it in. You are looking at just shy of $400 for one of these bad boys.
We had a little room, so we thought why not throw in a Ranger and a Taco for good measure? Both of these trucks have a horizontal billet set of bars in them, and the factory mesh was removed. Both of these grilles fall into the $135 range.
The next step in the grille evolution is the billet overlay. These are CNC-cut and polished to a nice shine and come with either vertical or horizontal design elements. Most are made to simply bolt over the factory unit and will set you back $250-300. The one on the pewter, lifted Chevy (top right) will require you to cut out the center plastic bar that runs thought the middle and comes with two billet caps to cover the raw edges of the cut line.
The latest in grille technology is the Hybrid Mesh series, constructed out of a CNC billet aluminum surround and a stainless steel mesh. Depending on your application, there might be some cutting involved to get these in, but for the most part you should be able to separate the factory grille from the factory surround at the factory joint-did we mention the word factory? The design of these grilles will make the opening look smaller due to the surround and will set you back anywhere from $300-500.