Nothing says “personalize it” quite like taking a body saw to your brand new ’12 Camaro SS. Cutting two gigantic, non-repairable holes where your fog lights used to be requires, well, dedication, to say it one way, and it’s certainly not a modification for those of us concerned with keeping out Camaro how it came from the dealership. But, cutting two major holes in your bumper also says that you really do care about setting your project apart from the others and, if you’re willing to take the step, is one modification that will certainly set you apart from the crowd. Elsewhere in this issue we’ve shown you how one can take an SS or RS and transform into a ZL1 look-a-like. But what if you literally want to transform your Camaro into Transformer?
Enter Advanced Composite Specialties (ACS) and the company’s line of aggressive, yet OE-quality front fascia bumper ports. Originally designed to mimic the bumper found on the Transformer’s Bumblebee Camaro from the infamous movie, the ACS line has evolved into a family of ports (T2 and T3, with others coming soon) that allow modifiers to mix and match options for a unique look. ACS doesn’t just offer bumper ports, of course, and combined with their unique lighting setups, front splitters, rear spoilers, and hood accessories, it’s possible to transform any factory stock Camaro into a real showstopper.
Now, it should be mentioned that ACS warns that “port installation is considered to be difficult and should be performed by a trained technician familiar with custom body work.” And that sounds serious, so we decided to try it on our own, without any of those qualifications, to see if an amateur could pull this off with simple hand tools. If we could do it, we’re sure you can but if you’re still not convinced (or willing to potentially ruin a perfectly good bumper in the process, know that ACS has you covered, offering complete 100-percent bolt-on bumper assemblies, which will ship to your door with everything complete and ready to bolt right on. But what’s the fun in that?!
1. The GM design team did an excellent job sculpting the SS front fascia, but that doesn't mean the aftermarket can't improve upon it. For our '12 Camaro project, we were looking to spice up the front-end with an aggressive set of bumper ports, a pair of show quality lights, and a new splitter for that race-inspired look, all without swapping bumpers or adding graphics.
2. Whether you’re a body shop pro or a do-it-yourself weekend warrior, you’ll appreciate the time and effort ACS put into the T2/T3 bumper port installation kit. The provided paper template lets you know where to “trim” and gave us the confidence we needed to make the first cut. Make sure you take your time to line this up perfectly… once you cut, there is no going back.
3. With the ACS trim line scribed onto the bumper, it was time to break out the body saw (you can also use a Dremel tool if you prefer) and cut the factory fog light hole out of the bumper. ACS recommends trimming the initial opening .25-inches smaller than the scribe line, to allow room to trim for perfect fitment, and we concur. Measure 58 times, cut 10.
4. There is a small portion of the inner bumper reinforcement that also needs to be trimmed to allow the ports to fit, and it can be handled using the same tools you cut the bumper with. Trimming here will not affect the safety or operation of the bumper, it’s just a small 3x2-inch section of plastic.
5. Cut, test fit, trim, test fit, clean up, test fit, cut a little more, test fit, relax, trim, clean, test fit. Rinse and repeat until you’re happy with the fitment of the ACS bumper ports. Remember, you’re going to be permanently affixing these to your Camaro, you want to take your time to get a perfect OE-quality fit and finish.
6. Speaking of the bumper ports, you may be wondering what they actually look like. For our installation, we chose to run with the T3 bumper ports, which give the Camaro nose an aggressive swept back look without taking anything away from the factory lines. The T3 ports ship with both driver and passenger side units, rear installation rings, a set of templates, quality instructions, and an adhesive to hold the assembly together.
7. Along with the bumper ports, ACS also sent us a pair of EagleT3 vertical port lights, which attach to the ports and run off of the factory fog light wiring. You can order these lights in a variety of configurations (Single, dual, triple, or quad) and they can really help illuminate your custom work during the day or night.
8. ACS did a great job with the lighting kit and no matter how many lights you add, you’re wiring job is a simple task. Simply install the lights onto the port using the supplied clip and screw, and then wire each light in series with another. One plug goes to the factory harness (you will need to wire the plug), and you’re all set of daytime running or manual operation.
9. Here you can see the T3 port installed by itself or with the trick triple LED lights. The modular design of ACS’s lighting allows end users to really customize the kit to their liking and whether you’re a fan of lighting accessories or a racer looking to use the ports to cooling, ACS has got you covered.