We couldn't take it anymore. The backyard-built cowl hood and bland no-go-fast looks just had to be replaced. Plus, the passenger-side fender was diagnosed with rot and couldn't be revived without a bit of reconstructive surgery. Also, while the one-piece bumper and single-headlight setup has its place, we really dig the RS split-bumper look and had to have it.
Aside from, say, lopping off the front end of the car with a large automotive trebuchet and starting over, we had a remedy in mind that wouldn't involve much of anything except a little patience and elbow grease. Thankfully though, these days nearly all the body parts for most of our muscle cars can be replaced with a factory-fit, leaving your sled looking fresh as the day it entered the showroom.
The first order of business...
The first order of business to begin the transformation was to remove the hood. Lou Zamora and Noyo Miramontes first unbolted the homemade cowl hood with a 9/16-inch socket and air ratchet. Considering we had a new cowl hood from Harwood, we placed the stock hood off to the side and never looked back.
For the new panels, we headed over to Classic Industries in Huntington Beach, California. Think of it as a one-stop shop. Carefully scrutinizing the company's catalog, we found everything we needed for the swap. To say that Classic has a plethora of parts in its inventory for a second-gen would be an understatement. Everything-and we mean everything-was there, including the bolts needed for assembly.
Getting the job done right was our next step. If bodywork isn't quite your forte, leave the job to a competent race shop or the like. In our case, we left all the replacement body panel work for Lou's Performance in Sun Valley, California. We made an appointment with Dr. Lou at his shop, and he and the boys took a full day and put F73 under the knife for its facelift. No anesthesia needed, just the tried and true method of remove and replace.
In the end we not only saved a bit of weight by replacing the hood, but we've got a more desirable-looking '73 Camaro. The split bumper and dual light fixtures on both sides really bring the looks and attributes of the classic Camaro alive. All our second-gen needs now is a little body filler and the shiny stuff. Follow along as we go through the details and show you what to expect before you attempt your own RS conversion.
What We Did
Converted the straight-bumper-look over to an RS assembly with Classic Industries components and finished it up with a 3-inch Harwood cowl hood.
We're on our way to a mean-looking second-gen.
$1,650 for RS conversion, $309 for Harwood Hood plus optional springs.
After the hood was removed,...
After the hood was removed, Miramontes took his time and moved onto the front end. He began by unbolting the single-piece front bumper. Once the factory bumper is removed, it'll give you additional access to the front. This would allow for the removal of the grille and whole front assembly. From there, Miramontes disconnected each headlight assembly.
Most of the front will come...
Most of the front will come off as one piece. For example, once the hood latch assembly is unbolted along with the rest of the hardware and headlight buckets, the front-clip comes off as one unit.
With the front end almost...
With the front end almost completely torn down, Zamora moved onto the passenger side fender. Water had worked its way into this panel, and it wasn't worth trying to patch up. We got the car on a hydraulic jack and removed the front tire to gain access. Zamora unbolted each 9/16-inch fastener (a common theme here) along and underneath the fender, under the front subframe, and was then able to remove the fender.