THE EXTERIOR
 

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In my opinion GM did a near-perfect job of designing the 1970-73 Camaros (no offense to the 74-81 guys).  There's not much room for improvement.  People who try to alter the original design usually end up worse off in my opinion.  Given that, the exterior of my Camaro is 99% stock appearing.  It turns a lot of heads the way it is in near-stock trim, so I figure, hey why mess with it?   The modifications I did fit within the existing design of the car.

Since GM masterfully incorporated Corvette style tail lights onto the back of the 70-73 Camaros, I decided to take it one step further and have dual turn signal lights like the Vettes.  This meant deleting the back up lights, but to me it's worth it.  

I also decided it was time to bring the tail lights into the 21st century, so I undertook a complete conversion to LED lighting.   I documented how I did it in this write up.   It uses off-the-shelf parts and the factory tail light lenses and can be done for less than $100 if using the original tail lens hardware off the vehicle.  Below are the results:

Video of Left Turn Signal

Video of Right Turn Signal

Later on, I made another upgrade to the tail lights.  Replacing the LED light strip that formed the annular ring, I went with a 4" diameter LED "halo" ring that fit right into the stock tail lens.  It now looks like this.  Much cleaner and more of an OEM look now.

 

Another big modification I did was to retrofit Acura TL projector headlights.  The difference between these and even the H4 replacement 7" sealed beam is literally night and day (there's no comparison).   I sourced my parts from the The Retrofit Source.   It's a great outfit with knowledgeable, helpful and friendly guys who are enthusiastic about their products.  Definitely recommend them.  My write up on the retrofit is located here.   Here are some photos of the completed install.

 

 

 

One thing that's noticeable in the above photos are the custom Audi-style LED driving lights (DRLs).  For those interested in duplicating these, here's a write up showing how to make them

Here are some videos of the turn signals in operation.

Turn signal video 1

Turn Signal video 2

 

I subsequently made a major update to the front lighting again.  This time, I deleted the Audi-style DRL's in favor of a four-point LED setup (much like what's found on some Porsche Panamera's and Cayenne's).  The LED-strip lights were getting WAY too cliche'd as it seemed every new model car was coming out with some form or another of LED-strip lights.  It simply wasn't novel anymore.  

I also relocated the turn signals into the main headlight assembly.

The material covering the grill and now the parking lamps is some perforated, black anodized aluminum mesh that I got from ebay.  The front end looks updated and much cleaner now, in my opinion.

Also, to update the function of the headlights, turn signals. and DRL's, I incorporated some updated circuits.  Namely:

1.) Automatic headlight activation module.  With a small light sensor mounted on the dash, a module activates the headlights when ambient light dips below a preset level (at dusk, going into a tunnel, etc).  It operates off switched +12V, so I essentially never have to manually turn on/off the headlight switch.

2.) The DRL's deactivate once the headlights are activated.

3.) Known as a "switchback" circuit, the left side DRL's deactivate when the left turn signal is activated (and same for the right side). 

This type of functionality required 6 relays wired together as well as a circuit that converted pulsed turn-signal output into a steady state +12V signal.  It was non-trivial to say the least.  But the results are fantastic and really give the car an updated look and feel to it.   Below are some videos demonstrating these functions.


Right Side Turn Signal Switchback

Left Side Turn Signal Switchback


Headlights Deactivate DRL's 

 

The last thing I did was to add a third brake light.  The 1987-1993 notch-back Mustangs had just the brake light assembly I was looking for.  It gives a factory look along with additional safety from people who may otherwise rear end me.

To update the third brake light, I converted it to LED's.  Some photos and a brief description of how I did it can be found here.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

This site was last updated 12/30/13