1973 Chevy Camaro RS Front Bumper & Cowl Hood Face Lift - Mug Shot
Project F73 Gets A Facelift
From the May, 2009 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Sean Haggai
Photography by Sean Haggai
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.
Admittedly, with the Camaro...
Admittedly, with the Camaro missing half its face, the task started to look a bit daunting. Nevertheless, Classic Industries supplied our build with a complete hardware kit, which included everything we needed to fasten it all together. No worries, though. Zamora assured us we would achieve our RS look in no time flat.
Rusty As with most vehicles...
As with most vehicles 30-plus years old, rust is a factor. Luckily, our F73 is in pretty decent shape. It's important to note that you should heed caution when unfastening bolts that are frequently introduced to water. For example, one bolt in the subframe actually snapped in half. It was completely rusted through. Also from the image, signs of rust and rot were obvious, with bubbles in the paint on the passenger side fender. Hence our decision to replace it completely.
Classic Industries also supplied...
Classic Industries also supplied us with its new passenger-side fender from OER. OER uses GM's factory steel stamps, so ours fit onto F73 lined up true and easy. Using the supplied fender shims, Zamora placed three on the passenger side. He advised that this portion of the build (lining up body lines) will take some time, so patience is a virtue.
Miramontes unpackaged the...
Miramontes unpackaged the new frontend clip and lined it up for placement. Once he determined the fit was good, we went ahead and bolted it on.
Clips Since the holes in...
Since the holes in the body parts aren't threaded, it's important to cover each hole with one of OER's clips. Before the body panels went on, we spent 10 minutes preparing each panel with its associated clips. They are easy to use and simply push on.
With most of the frontend...
With most of the frontend complete, Zamora and Miramontes started to fasten the front clip for final fitment. It was then and there that the true look of the RS could be seen. Zamora advised us that it's better to leave most of the panels loose just in case some panels need to be adjusted in the final stages of fitment.
What was left? We still needed...
What was left? We still needed headlights, turn signals, the nose cone, a front grille, and bumperettes. Zamora started by test-fitting the bumpers on each side and proceeded to install the bumper supports and fasten the bumpers down.
The nose cone was next. This...
The nose cone was next. This cone also holds the grille, and we really like the factory-style chrome grille surround.
The two-piece grille was next...
The two-piece grille was next and was also installed with the supplied bolt kit. Each piece is labeled "Left" or "Right" for proper placement.
Miramontes wired up each turn...
Miramontes wired up each turn signal and installed the new lights into their places. Miramontes also went ahead and replaced each headlight bucket into the front end. All that was left to do was install the headlights and fasten each connection.
To finish up the facelift,...
To finish up the facelift, we installed a new 3-inch cowl hood from Harwood. Since this is a street car, we opted for the bolt-on show series hood with a fully finished underside. We also swapped out the factory hood springs for their optional light tension hood springs (PN 215). Once the new springs were in, we hung the hood on and made minimal adjustments until it shut without rubbing-it was a perfect fit.
While our transformation took...
While our transformation took the better part of the day and a few hours into the night, the final mug shot made it all worthwhile. The aesthetics of our RS conversion really added to the total package, and we couldn't be happier. What's next? If all goes well, the next time you see F73, we'll have our future open-tracker hosed down in PPG Jetstream Blue! CHP
|MFG ||PN ||DESCRIPTION ||COST |
|Classic Industries ||3973942 ||RS grille surround chrome ||$350 |
| ||3962990 ||RS urethane nose bumper ||400 |
| ||K897 ||Headlamp housing, right ||39 |
| ||K899 ||Headlamp housing, left ||38 |
| ||C36A ||Frontend sheetmetal hardware set ||45 |
| ||A14874 ||Serrated lock nut, 1/4-20 ||1 |
| ||A11182 ||Acorn cap nut, 1/4-20 ||1 |
| ||K55 ||RS grille divider bracket ||37 |
| ||11246 ||Headlamp adjustment screw ||1 |
| ||9851 ||Headlamp adjustment screw nut ||1 |
| ||3415 ||Bumper bolt with nut, 3/8-16x1 ||2 |
| ||K57 ||RS center grille divider inserts ||25 |
| ||KW556 ||Front bumper brackets ||55 |
| ||KW596L ||RS bumper filler, left ||30 |
| ||KW596R ||RS bumper filler, right ||30 |
| ||KW554 ||Front inner bumper brackets ||70 |
| ||KW555 ||Front bumper brackets cushion ||14 |
| ||3990473 ||RS valance panel ||270 |
| ||3962943 ||Headlight bezel, left ||35 |
| ||3962944 ||Headlight bezel, right ||35 |
| ||327539 ||RS header panel ||270 |
| ||3990470 ||RS front spoiler ||120 |
| ||3962973 ||RS grille, left ||65 |
| ||3962974 ||RS grille, right ||65 |
|Harwood ||11103 ||Cowl hood, 3 inches ||309 |
| || ||TOTAL ||$1,994 |