Mustang Corral

Repair & Restoration Of The Front Grill Emblem


Apart from the usual things what is most important on the car such as, brakes, steering, wheels the loud pedal etc is the identity of the car. There are very few images that are on a model of car, not the manufacturer logo, but the model of vehicle like the Mustang. The horse in mid gallop has been around from the first models in 1964 to the present day. You say the name Mustang and you know it’s a ford but you are referring to the model. The early year Mustangs had the large horse in the surrounding corral, depending on the year it had bars coming from it, then no bars, then no corral then smaller sizes on the drill and inset into the grill. All are instantly recognisable on the front of the car. The variations are the obvious Shelby’s, Cobra’s etc but still recognisable. You say the word Shelby – you think of Mustang, then Ford! I think you get my point about the identity, but my corral is the original by the looks of it and is very tired and knackered (get the horse link thing I done there?) I decided to clean it up a bit and make it look presentable. I need a new grill as the top of my grill is broken of and unable to be put back on the car as a result. Time has taken its toll on the metal by the looks of it. The top wasn’t broken on one side but was held on by two tiny uprights of the grill, me picking it up by the top made sure that is was broken for sure. I was not happy!



The first step I have to say is to take the corral of the grill. this was held on by four studs and a nut to hold it in place. as always two came of straight away, the whole stud not just the nuts, the third the nut cam off. leaving the stud.  The last was spinning away, on inspection I noticed a previous repair had broken and so nothing to undo against it. I managed to hold it still and remove the stud and nut. Once the corral was out the way I managed to get a vice set of grips on the stud and undo it. Now the corral can be worked on and start the clean up.

The horse itself is held in place by two screws top and bottom, both were seized in place and squirt of Gibbs Brand released then screws. The horse was a tight fit and you need to be a little careful when removing not to damage the surface on the inside of the corral.

The damaged part of the corral needed to have the old filler, yes they used bodywork filler, from the broken metal surfaces. The inside of the corral was already coming away a little, a fine screwdriver into the crack and a light tap saw a major clump of it break free. The surface of the corral was then cleaned up of all filler back to bare metal as much as possible. The broken “leg” was then put into my vice and covered with a cloth not to damage the outside surface. The same technique to gently knock the old filler of worked well. Removing of the black paint again on the leg and getting the broken surface back to the bare metal again was important in order for the glue to stick. Once completed I checked the surfaces matched up in order to be ready for the glue after the cleaning.

The clean up of the corral on the back was to get rid of all the dead carcasses of anything that had made a home there in the past.

Once the back was cleaned I started to work on the inside of the corral using some Autosol chrome polish to start with. This came of black on the blue paper towel and was moving the dirt about more than cleaning as it was so filthy.


A change of plan, now on plan b, was to use the Gibbs Brand to clean the majority of the dirt off then get to work with the polish again. This was working to a point, but I found the best technique was to alternate between the two cleaners, the Gibbs removing the polish and getting it clean again. From the pic you can see when I had only cleaned up to a half way point with this method.

During the cleaning of the outside it was evident that the grill had been sprayed black while the corral was in place. The evidence was the black paint on the chrome. The polish removed the paint from the nice chrome, but the pitted area need a lot of TLC to gently scrape it off without damaging the pitted chrome or scoring it. Same technique for the Gibbs and the chrome cleaner working well. The corral has a few pits in the brushed surface and on the chrome legs at the back, I was careful around these areas in order to not make the damage any worse.

The damaged parts of the corral needed to glued back together. I need to find a support or a way to hold the parts together, as I had no intention of standing there for 4 hours holding it. Also the fact that any movement would damage the bond so this needed to be avoided at all costs. I found an old depth guide for a power drill in the bottom of an old tool box, This was just long enough to reach each side with a degree of flexibleness. The leg would be supported underneath but the weight of the leg would move the joint and separate the two sections. The only way this was going to work on the cast metal was to use JB Weld. I mixed a batch up and carefully lined the corral surface with the glue and the face of the leg. This was pressed in place and then a carefully placed old screwdriver to hold the pressure in place on the join. All a bit delicate, but it worked. The remaining JB Weld was used to spread around a little making the area of glue larger.

While I was keeping an eye on the glued joint I started to clean the horse. The reverse side was the first part, this was pitted a little so the first jov was spray with Gbbs to stop any water or corrosion getting to the back of the plate. I rubbed this in well and once it has dried I will apply a layer of car wax to coat the surface to keep the moisture out. After forty-seven years it was still looking pretty good to be fair.

back of horse
back of horse

Again the Gibbs brand made the front chrome sparkle pretty well, the chrome cleaner didn’t seem to make much difference but it did remove some old tarnish at the bottom of the legs. I am a little reluctant to go mental with the rubbing in case I catch some chrome and pull the plating off.

While the cleaning of the horse was in progress I was keeping a close eye on the glue fixing, making a tiny adjustment to the setting before it goes off. Once the Glue had set overnight I mixed up a tiny amount of my Dinitrol filler, I used this to slightly dab into the blemishes as the silver is almost the same colour as the brushed effect from a distance. I wont be sanding it so I just used my fingers to remove the excess as it was drying in such a thin layer.


The results I am very pleased with, the corral has cleaned up well the whole thing has been treated and put back together again. Not as nice as a brand new one perhaps, but this is the cars name badge as it were. The blemishes are a little bit of the history.


Everything sparkles now and the chrome looks good again. The reverse is never seen obviously but it was treated properly, the glue is set and the leg is repaired and sits square on the table.

While the horse was out I took a couple of arty pictures as I may change my header at a later date on the blog.

Update: 24/12/13

I know that this is all about face at this point and should have been done before it was cleaned. But, while tidying out my man cave I found a tiny amount of FE-123 in a jar that I had decanted. So I decided to paint the inside of the corral with the antirust. I didn’t think it was necessary but it can’t hurt to have a little extra protection. So I got an old make up brush that was small enough to go down the outside walls of the gap and started on the back of the pony before I ruined it down the gap. Plenty was used and spread evenly about and allowed to dry before putting it away in its own little foam padded bag. The bag was what the replacement kitchen taps came in and is a fraction large but it does the job. The pictures are of the anit-rust that is not quite dry and shows a white-ish colour until it dries clear. If there is rust it will turn black of course on the inside.

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6 thoughts on “Mustang Corral

  1. Will jb weld hold the coral assembly to the grill? My coral is stripped

    1. JB weld sets like steel. In theory it would hold it yes, but there isn’t much surface area of the four contact points, unless you build it up around the sides for extra strength. The coral is quite heavy and the added direct wind pressure might cause issues.
      Why not fill the holes with JB weld first, then drill and tap it. You have nothing to loose and would be a much cleaner installation. If it doesn’t work then JB weld it on like you say. JB is an amazing product.

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