Next, I used a dial caliper to select the final hole size. After measuring the base of the stud, which came out to 0.155-inch, I chose the next-largest bit size. Once the emblem will slip easily in and out of the holes, clean behind it and use the included nuts to install it permanently. No doubt, you'll have noticed by now that the studs aren't threaded. The nuts cut their own threads, and it's something of a trick to align one and hold it against the stud while turning it to get the initial “bite.” I first tried to come in from beneath in the license-plate bracket area, where we previous mounted a pair of Cibié driving lights, but that proved pretty much impossible. Raising the hood and accessing the area from above works much better, but you'll be working blind. Remember to hold the emblem down while you're trying to get the nut on; if it slips up and out of the hole, it can scratch your paint.
With the nose done, it was time to add the scripted “Stingray” logos that go above the fender vents. These came on '69-'76 Corvettes, and could theoretically be added to later models if you're unconcerned with originality. Locating them on the car proved far more difficult than the nose emblem. Since neither the hole spacing nor the final hole diameter for the front crossed flags is in the assembly manual, measuring the emblem itself is the only way. It's also the best way with the side emblems.
While the manual includes a series of grid-like measurements that show where the holes relate to one another and to the body line, let me be frank: It's wrong, on both counts. In my case, the hole spacing varied between the two emblems, and when I used them to create a template, as I did with the nose emblem, aligning that with the body line put them about a half-inch lower than they should have been.
With that in mind, I fell back to using the dimples left when the original holes were filled in—after all, it may not be the way every car came, but it's the way this one did—then compared their location with close-up emblem photos of other Corvettes in the appropriate model-year range.
I also mocked up the emblems in place and sent a photo to painter Darrin Wood of Wood's Body Shop (whose work has appeared in these pages) for his opinion. When I was as confident that the dots were in the right place, I drilled them as before. After drilling the right-side holes, I was able to slip my hand inside the fender where I had removed the vent and feel where they passed roughly through the center of the filler material. Bingo. Since I could only see the dimples on the right (passenger) side of the car, I did my best to reverse those measurements, mirror-image style, for the left.
Here's how the process played out on my '72: First, I drew a straight line through the middle of the two lowest emblem holes and forward toward the front of the car. On the right side, this line intersected the wheelwell (at an angle) about 13-inch from the center of the nearest hole (the one behind the “y” in Stingray). On the left side, it was 123⁄16-inch.
Returning to the right side, after drawing a line at right angles to the original one between the two lowest holes, the center of both the front and rear holes was about 2.55-inch above the line where the body squares off for the fender vent. While I then transposed these measurements to the left side of the car, I did so incorrectly, which resulted in the rear of the emblem canting upwards. That's the opposite orientation of the emblems in my stock of photos, which are either parallel to the body line, or if they're at an angle, seem to be higher at the front than at the rear.
Again, your car may vary. Accordingly, when you lay out the holes, mock up what you're doing, and if you have any questions, consult an expert before punching holes in the fiberglass. While Darrin Wood was kind enough to provide an opinion on the right-side emblem, I simply did the math backwards and drilled for the left side one—without having anyone verify my calculations. This mistake could very well cost me down the road.
I also departed (in this case, properly so) from the assembly-manual dimensions for the size of the mounting holes. While the manual said to drill them 0.164-inch, that was substantially larger than the studs, so I simply picked the drill bit that was the next size larger than the stud diameter. Unlike the nuts that hold the nose emblem in place, these studs are only there to locate the side emblems, which are actually held in place by adhesive. (In fact, you could theoretically grind off the studs and just stick them in place.)
Once the emblem slipped easily into its holes, and I had cleaned the area behind it, I peeled the white backing from the adhesive on the rear of the emblem and held it in place (the manual says to apply 10 pounds of pressure for 15 seconds). Since this is a flat emblem going on a curved surface, you're not going to get 100 percent contact, so just go for the most you can.
Done. Clean everything up and go see how pretty that chrome looks in the light.