1978 Chevy Camaro Steel Bumper Conversion

Part 4: Front Buildup

By All Chevy Performance Staff – Missed Previous Articles? Catch Up Here: Part1, Part 2 and Part 3

We are back with Craig Hopkins of The Installation Center and this Auto Metal Direct (AMD) second-gen Camaro conversion. In part four of our multi-part series, we are converting this ’78 Camaro into the ’71-73 steel bumper version. We removed the entire back end of the car, turning it into that iconic round-taillight version, and now we are working on the front end to get that highly sought-after early second-gen look. The great thing about the front-end swap is that everything bolts right up without any real modifications—from the hood and fenders, to the core support and bumper, we show you just how easy this can be.

002 reinstalling the front subframe
Craig Hopkins uses datum tables on all the builds at The Installation Center requiring suspension removal; reinstalling the front subframe needs to happen here to properly set the front end.
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Hopkins partnered with AMD to supply all the needed parts. From the body panels and brackets to the hardware and trim, AMD has everything you’ll need to do this conversion. With top-quality parts, this project can easily be done in your home garage, especially if you have a friend to spot you. Hopkins recruits Wesley Kennedy to help get this job done in no time.

003 bushings from AMD
Fresh bushings from AMD are right on time. Having the new bushings in place at this point will ensure that when you gap everything out the gaps will not drastically change at the body shop.

Follow along and see their approach to this conversion. Next we’ll cover the rest of the lighting and trim install to complete this conversion with AMD.

004 factory used locator pins work to align the subframe to the body
The factory-used locator pins work to align the subframe to the body, and that is exactly how Hopkins will do it.
009 Two bolts at the core support and two bolts in the factory location set the fender onto the second gen
Two bolts at the core support and two bolts in the factory location set the fender onto the second-gen.

010 amd camaro conversion part 4

029 get to work fine tuning the gaps and tightening everything down
With the front end mocked up, Hopkins can get to work fine-tuning the gaps and tightening everything down. This Camaro has come a long way from that original rubber bumper at a fraction of the cost of finding a ’70-73 car in the same condition.
028 fender to core support bars are installed
Finally, the fender to core support bars are installed.
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027 amd camaro conversion part 4

026 new hood safety latch
The new hood safety latch is installed along with the hood latch and release to fine-tune the hood placement.

 

025 reinstalls the bumper
Kennedy reinstalls the bumper with less chance of it getting scratched now that most of the front end is on.
024 headlight adjusters and buckets
Hopkins installs the headlight adjusters and buckets.
023 turn signal lamps are installed
The turn signal lamps are installed and come complete with bulbs and harness to make installation a breeze.

 

022 headlight brackets bolt right up
AMD offers all the details you need to complete this project. The headlight brackets bolt right up.
021 installs the hardware clips for the turn signal lights
With the bumper removed out of the way, Hopkins installs the hardware clips for the turn signal lights.
020 Installing the brackets on the bumper make hanging the bumper bracket on the car much easier
Tech tip. Installing the brackets on the bumper make hanging the bumper bracket on the car much easier. You get a reference where they should be before final bumper installation.
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019 amd camaro conversion part 4

018 adjustments to the hood hinges to get the gap on the right track
A quick check on clearance, Hopkins makes some adjustments to the hood hinges to get the gap on the right track.
017 new hood goes on
The new hood goes on; this is where having that buddy to help really comes in handy.
016 grille installation utilizing the full AMD catalog with new hardware and bushings
Kennedy moves onto the grille installation utilizing the full AMD catalog with new hardware and bushings.
015 78 Camaro to an early second gen
As you can see, a little work goes a long way in converting this ’78 Camaro to an early second-gen (’70-73).
014 AMD hood hinges
New AMD hood hinges are installed and bolted on hand-tight ready for the hood to go on.
013 installs the bumper fillers between the upper and lower panels just like the original
Before getting everything snug, Hopkins installs the bumper fillers between the upper and lower panels just like the original.
012 lower valance is installed
Moving right along, the lower valance is installed. All panels are initially hand-tightened to make for easy final adjustment. This is the standard version; the RS conversion can be accomplished using the same overall process.
011 core support and fenders framing out the front end
With the core support and fenders framing out the front end, Hopkins and Kennedy hang the AMD header panel.

Sources
Auto Metal Direct
(833) 404-4777
autometaldirect.com

The Installation Center
(706) 348-6653
amdinstallation.com

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