During the years I spent restoring my 1960 MGA, I heard many frightening and cautionary tales about the importance of the hood latch mechanism and the alignment of the hood. Specifically, I was told to make sure the latch was working perfectly before installing the grille; if the hood ever jammed closed, the only way to access the latch would be to cut through my beautiful grille.
This exact thing happened to me soon after I finished the restoration last year — the hood jammed closed. But I refused to damage the grille, so I spent many hours with unlikely tools removing the grille with only minor bending of the slats. If the car had been older and the fasteners tight and rusty, that would have been impossible. I resolved never to let this happen again.
The solution was rather simple, without any modifications to either the body or the grille. Even with the hood closed, I can now remove the grille in about 15 minutes. The solution was to replace the three bolts at the top of the grille with short lengths of brass tubing and some rubber fuel line.
First, reverse the direction of the original bolts that used to go downward through holes in the shroud and into the grille. Screw them upwards through the nuts that are part of the grille. Then get some brass tubing from a hobby shop. The inside diameter should fit the bolts. You’ll also need some rubber hose that fits snugly over this brass tubing. These sections of brass tubing, with the hose sections used to retain them in the original bolt holes, serve simply as locating pins for the top of the grille.
The grille can now be removed by unscrewing the original bottom three bolts behind the valance as usual. Then just pull out the bottom of the grille and slide it downward off the three top pins.
By Bryan Dahlberg