1972 Chevrolet Nova Front & Rear Bumper Install - Curb Appeal
Installing new headlight trim and side marker bezels with front and rear bumpers for a fresh look
From the October, 2011 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Sean Haggai
Photography by Sean Haggai
Building a project car is more than a beefed-up suspension, a plush interior, and a killer drivetrain. While those items make the project handle better and drive faster, the exterior of the car is just as important. Many years of abuse on the road can take a toll on any exterior. Compound that situation with an exchange of different owners and the outer shell of any project car can appear a little thrashed and tired. After all, it’s the first observation onlookers make about your car. It should be visually stunning and pleasing to the eye.
By most standards, sleeper-style builds are cool because of their stealthy persona, but there’s something to be said about a new set of flashy bumpers and trim. In our case, the more obvious items of our Nova project were starting to show their age. Our ’72 has battled its fair share of parking lot bumps, fender benders, and enough heat to crack the plastic trim.
To get a fresh jump on our aged face, we turned to Classic Industries for all of our exterior OEM replacement items. Researching Classics’ vast inventory online, we found all-new front and rear bumpers, a filler panel, the side marker bezels, and the headlight trim. What’s more, fit and finish are perfect; everything was installed just like the original and kept us within our $500 budget. If a basic makeover is in your plans, then follow along as we show how a few select items can give your ride a completely new look.
The factory trim molding on...
The factory trim molding on the edge of the hood needed a lot of our attention. It had not only lost its original luster, but was also riddled with dents and pitted beyond repair. To remove it we used a 3/8-inch socket.
In its place went a brand-new...
In its place went a brand-new reproduction piece from Classic Industries (PN 3927930, $70). We simply lined up the studs into the holes of the hood and tightened down our speed nuts. Note: This requires six speed nuts that are sold separately.
Since our Nova was originally...
Since our Nova was originally purchased without the headlight trim, it was even easier to install. We replaced each driver and passenger side with polished aluminum pieces (PN CM3056, $80) and used the required speed nuts to fasten them down.
The bezel that houses the...
The bezel that houses the side markers were also pitted and cracked. To remove the original bezels, we first removed the headlight to gain access to the inner fender. From there, we used a 3/8-inch socket and removed the old trim. Once the old pair was removed, we installed the new inner side marker gaskets (PN K4161, $4) to the new die-cast side bezels (PN 3962933, $20 each).
Removing the front bumper...
Removing the front bumper can be a small feat in itself. Bumpers of this era were built to take a hit and equipped to endure some serious punishment. First, we disconnected and removed the amber parking lights from the front bumper. From there we removed all of the front bumper bolts using a 5/8-, 3/4-, and 11/16-inch socket.
With the front bumper removed,...
With the front bumper removed, it gave us access to the front filler panel. Our original piece had cracks and was brittle from sun damage. We removed it with a 5/16-inch socket. Note: We made sure to remove all the factory clips from the original piece and added them to the new panel.
Installing the new filler...
Installing the new filler panel (PN 3919083, $40) is a cinch. With the factory clips in place, we simply reinstalled the bolts and secured it to the car.
To install the bumper, we...
To install the bumper, we reversed the process from above—only, this time we were installing a brand-new reproduction bumper (PN 3949785, $165). Each bumper comes with quality chrome plating and looks exactly like the original. Once positioned, we remounted the bumper using the factory hardware.
Removing the rear bumper also...
Removing the rear bumper also takes a bit of patience, especially since the bolts are tucked away behind the rear valence. We used a 9/16-, 5/8-, and 3/4-inch socket and began by removing the brackets and bumper from the frame. From there, we removed the brackets from the backside of the rear bumper along with the license plate frame.
The new rear bumper (PN 3903515,...
The new rear bumper (PN 3903515, $170) is manufactured to exact factory specifications and features quality chrome plating for a great look. To attach it, we simply bolted the rear bumper brackets to the back of the bumper and then reattached those brackets to the frame. We locked it all down with the original hardware.
To complement our new front...
To complement our new front and rear looks, we also managed to get a new coat of Rust-Oleum primer ($30) on the body of the Nova. We also gave a fresh coat of matte black to the grille, headlight buckets, and filler panel using a spray can ($7). It’s proof that a little bit of labor and not much money can truly transform the look of your project car.