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.
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
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:
Left Turn Signal
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
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
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
I also relocated the turn signals into the main
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.
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
2.) The DRL's deactivate once the headlights
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
photos and a brief description of how I did it can be found here.