Mustang MonthlyHow To Paint Body
How to Install a 1993 Cobra Grille Insert
Rejuvenate your LX’s front end with a Cobra grille insert from National Parts Depot
Ford saved the best Fox Mustang for its final year of production with the ’93 Cobra. Since then, every Fox owner at some point has added something derived from a ’93 Cobra onto his or her Mustang. The ’93 Cobra had a unique front bumper cover insert, side skirt extensions in front of the rear wheels, a rear bumper cover, and rear wing. The wheels, of course, were also unique to the ’93 Cobra. Adding any of these Cobra items to a LX or GT has been common practice since 1993.
In this exercise, we’re adding a Cobra grille insert to a ’93 LX. The ’93 Cobra’s grille insert was added to the front bumper cover via a modified Mustang GT bumper cover and a retaining bracket/hardware. You can get this same look by using an insert that mimics the look of the ’93 Cobra’s grille and install it into a GT or LX bumper cover with some careful trimming. We wanted to get this look for our ’93 LX so we made a call to National Parts Depot for a Cobra grille insert (PN M-8200-8A; $32.95) with the corresponding running horse emblem (PN M-8213-1A; $16.95). You can add this Cobra grille insert to your Mustang GT or LX; just follow along as we show you how.
1. One of these is getting pitched, and the other is going in its place. You can probably guess the Cobra grille insert from National Parts Depot is going in the place occupied by the stock grille in this image. The stock grille is going to be cut out to make room for the Cobra grille insert.
2. This is our starting point; just a stock ’93 LX front bumper cover, complete with spider webs and various scuffs from serving as a daily driver since it was new. We’ll worry about those imperfections when we do a repaint, but right now we’re focusing on the grille insert.
3. Here is what we got from National Parts Depot, a Cobra grille insert and running horse ornament. The two pieces are separate, so when you order your insert, make sure to get the running horse with it. As you can see, the Cobra grille insert will need to be painted to match your Mustang, but for only $32.95 for the insert, and $16.95 for the ornament, your tribute entry into the worship of ’93 Cobras is modest.
4. We’re not so good with a cut off wheel so we let our boy Allen Colding handle the Cobra grille insert’s installation, while we held the camera and provided moral support. Allen started the install by seeing where we needed to cut the stock grille in order to install the new insert. After deciding where to make the cut, Allen applied a piece of tape as a guide to make sure the cut was straight.
5. Using the tape as his guide, Allen starts the process of cutting the stock grille out of the car. This is a pretty dirty process, as strings of urethane go flying as the cut off wheel does its job. Therefore, anything you don’t want to get dirty you may want to remove it from the area while cutting out the stock grille.
6. Here’s what it looks like when you’ve successfully cut out the stock grille. With the stock grille out of the way, the Cobra grille insert will go in the opening left by cutting out the stock piece.
7. Here’s a better look at the hole you want to have when installing a Cobra grille insert. You want to leave enough material for the Cobra grille insert to attach to on the sides, and on the lower front. In those areas we’ll be using two-sided tape in support of rivets at each upper corner of the insert.
8. Allen applies two-sided tape onto the Cobra grille insert to prep it for installation. The tape and rivets are not included with the insert so plan ahead when you add your own way of retaining the insert to your bumper cover.
9. Knowing at some point we’ll add fresh paint to the car, we simply wanted the grille insert’s paint to come close to matching the front bumper cover. Therefore, Allen rattle-canned it black, but also sprayed it with clear so that it wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
10. After letting the Cobra grille insert’s paint dry overnight, Allen prepped the insert for final installation. Before setting the insert in place make sure to clean the area where it’s installed with a pre-cleaner or wax and grease remover for the best surface for the tape to adhere to.
11. Allen puts the Cobra grille insert in its place on the bumper cover, while pulling the lower tape line’s backing paper off.
12. To help the two-sided tape, we’re going to use rivets at each corner to solidly mount the grille insert. Allen drills two pilot holes for each rivet, being careful not to hurt the newly-applied paint.
13. With the pilot hole drilled, Allen attaches the Cobra grille insert for good with a rivet on each side. Of course, we can simply drill out the rivets when it comes time to paint the car, but for now, the Cobra grille insert is installed.
14. Since we don’t want the rivets to steal the show, Allen applies some black paint to the rivet heads to hide them. We actually tried flathead screws before the rivets, but they were too noticeable, even though the screws were black. The rivets do a better job of concealing the install, and making it look somewhat factory.
15. Well there ya go, one Cobra grille insert installed. And with the black paint, it’s a seamless install, one that people may not notice at first on our car because of the black paint. However, we love it. We’ve always loved the look of a Cobra grille insert on a LX, and now our car has one.