With first-gen Camaros becoming harder to find and more expensive to purchase, the second-gen is becoming more popular. Chevrolet totally redesigned the car in '70, and just like '67-'69 models, the second-gens had two grille designs available. In the first-gens, it was the Rally Sport grille with hideaway headlights. The stylists upped the ante with the second-gens and changed the bumpers and nose assembly. Commonly referred to as the split bumper front end, it also came on the RS models (RPO Z22). The split bumper nose has two small bumper pieces, relocated turn signals, and an extended urethane nose. The non-RS models have a one-piece bumper blade and lower turn signal/parking light lenses.
According to a recent Super Chevy Facebook poll, the split bumper configuration is the most iconic and more attractive look of the second-gen front fascias (by about a 90-to-10 percent margin). There is a simple way of getting some of the look by replacing the one-piece bumper with the two smaller bumpers, which we covered a while back. This gave our car some of the split bumper coolness, but we felt it was time to do the job right.
A complete and proper spilt bumper conversion will necessitate a new header panel, urethane nose, grille surround, lower valance, bumpers, right and left grille pieces, center grille divider, parking light lenses, and some other odds and ends. In the past, finding all the part numbers to do this job was time consuming, but thanks to Ground Up Restoration Supply, all the items can be ordered with one simple part number: RSX-KIT70.
We ordered the conversion kit, along with a new set of RS taillight lenses and a master bolt kit. The RS taillights feature a small stainless trim ring in the center, making them different than standard lenses, and the bolt kit helped us install everything without having to fight old rusty hardware or make multiple trips to the hardware store.
|'70-'73 Rally Sport Conversion Kit||RSX-KIT70||$1,799.95|
|'70-'72 Rally Sport AMK Master Hardware Kit||70FB-RS||$199.95|
|'70-'73 Rally Sport Taillamp Lens Kit||LTR-531||$119.95|
|'70-'73 Headlamp Bezels||LHB-044||$77.00|
|'70-'74 Front Side Marker Lens||LSM-7013||$36.95|
|'70-'74 Rear Side Marker Lens||LSM-7047||$36.95|
1 Here is the RS conversion kit from Ground Up. It includes a lower valance, header panel, hood release, a pair of bumpers, four of the necessary bumper brackets, a bumper bolt kit, parking lamp housings, urethane nose, left and right grilles, chrome grille surround, grille divider bracket, and grille divider insert. We added new headlight trim rings, a Rally Sport taillamp lens kit, marker lights, and a master bolt kit to our order. There were a few things we forgot to add to the order to make this complete, but Ground Up has the emblems and lower spoiler in stock when we are ready.
2 The conversion is going to change all the sheetmetal between the fenders, so we removed the bumpers, grille, and headlight assemblies to get access to all the hardware.
3 The best way we found to deconstruct the sheetmetal is to start with the lower valance. There are bolts along every seam in the sheetmetal, so it's pretty easy to locate them once all the previously mentioned items, like the headlight assemblies, are removed. After we had the upper and lower panels removed, we unbolted the bumper brackets, leaving the core support pretty much bare.
4 This is a perfect opportunity to paint the core support. Just make sure to mask off anything you don't want painted black, like the radiator. Tinfoil makes masking it off super simple.
5 There are a total of four bumper brackets per side in the RS nose, and three of them all kind of bolt together. The curved piece mounts low, while the round, tube-style one wraps over the top of the core support and down to the lower. We left all of these slightly loose for now. The bolt shown here will need to be removed later when installing the bumper, but for now it will help keep things lined up.
6 The biggest of the bumper brackets, and the one the nose actually bolts to, sits on top of the round-style bracket at the top point. We must point out that all the necessary holes for these brackets were already in the core support. The new hardware from the master kit made this task so much easier.
7 We reinstalled our center support before slipping the header panel between the fenders. We loosely installed all the hardware, so we could still move things around if necessary.
8 The hood latch is configured differently, so it'll fit the new grille to come. Other than that, it will mount right to the car.
9 Believe it or not, the outer bumper bracket is this simple little chunk of metal, and it gets pinched between the fender and lower valance. It is held to the lower valance by a small self-tapping screw.
10 With the outer bracket in place, the lower valance was installed. That small filler piece also gets sandwiched between the sheetmetal. Those filler strips are the same on standard and RS front ends, so we repurposed our old ones.
11 Once we had all the sheetmetal on and all hardware loosely installed, we started lining up everything, and tightening the bolts. We started at the grille opening, and worked our way around.
12 Before we installed the urethane nosepiece, we added the divider bracket and grille divider insert.
13 The nosepiece has a thick metal structure buried inside the urethane, and the mounting tabs line up with the new bumper brackets. It uses four bolts with large washers we got from the bolt kit to hold it on. The holes in the mounting tabs are oversized to allow for adjustment.
14 The bumper pieces use two normal bumper bolts on top, and one standard bolt from the bottom. This was the bolt we spoke about earlier.
15 A & B The chrome grille surround slips inside the nosepiece and attaches, to the sheetmetal via plastic nutserts and larger Phillips screws. These are fairly special items, so we were thankful we had the master hardware kit. Now is the point where we made sure everything was lined up, as we tightened all the brackets.
16 The right grille piece slips in the surround, and is held on by similar hardware to the surround, only smaller. Before we put in the left grille, we tightened up the grille divider insert.
17 The left grille piece has one missing vertical bar at the top corner. This is where the hood release falls.
18 We rebuilt the headlight brackets with items from the hardware kit before reinstalling them. Yes, the kit is so complete it even has the headlight tension springs.
19 The new RS turn signal assemblies slip right into their holes. They attach to tabs hanging off the sheetmetal and can be centered perfectly with a bit of tweaking of the tabs.
20 After installing the rest of the headlight stuff, we popped in new plastic nutserts...
21 ...and bezels. These bezels are made of fairly delicate aluminum, so make sure not to overtighten the screws, as it can distort the shape.
22 At this point, we installed new marker lights. These are not part of the conversion, but we felt old, faded markers would detract from all the new stuff.
23 The RS taillight lenses feature a small stainless trim ring down inside the lens, which makes them a bit fancier than the non-RS units. These lenses just snap into the buckets.
24 The new lenses are a deep red with a shiny surface and really make the back of the car look sweet.
25 Speaking of sweet, how about this! The conversion took us less than two hours, but the payoff is enormous in the style department. Obviously, we will need to paint all of these items to really finish of the job. One thing to note: Painting the urethane will require a flex agent added to the paint, so it won't be as susceptible to cracking. In closing, the Ground Up conversion and bolt kit made this a no-nonsense install and well worth the money.