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'71 Camaro Tail lights & tail light panel redo - pics inside!


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Well, I was stuck waiting for all of my parts to come in to finish my R230 swap and started thinking about tail lights.


I've always liked the skyline tail lights:




The cost though is crazy...$1200 for a set of lights and the surround panels not including shipping!!!


So, I started looking on ebay for round tail lights and purchased a corvette style tail light panel. I purchased a set of early seventies Vette and Camaro tails and settled on the Camaro lights.


The corvette tail light panel came from a vendor (Custom Z Parts), via ebay, and got to me cracked and misshaped. Rather than screw with the vendor, I cut the tail light panels down, and was able to get a second set of tail light panels from a good friend.


I trimmed the panel down, mounted the lights and here is the early version of what I have:






The panel is just screwed in place, but will be bonded using 3M panel bond adhesive and then the edges fethered in with body filler. End result should be pretty cool.


We'll see!

Edited by dat240zg
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Well, they're getting close. I sprayed some color on them, but don't really care for it. I think that I'll sand it down and go with a simple gloss black. What do you all think?







Looks great as it is, I am not sure going from graphite to black would be worth the effort. But at the end of the day, it's your car and your taste. Either way, awesome job, love the look of those tail lights on the car!!

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You beat us to it!


My buddy an avid second gen camero guy is building a 75 280Z with an LS1 swap. He has a 71 camero and we have been planning a bunch of chevy mods for the car including those tail lights for over a month now. I guess we dont need MS Paint anymore now that you posted these pics.

We are also planning to use a modified chevy steering column(no idea what it came out of) I purchased a while back that bolts into the Z already that can accept a Chevelle style walnut steering wheel(the one with the blue outlined bowtie). We are calling the project GMZ at the moment and hope to be able to have some custom B pillar emblems made to that effect.


Im guessing they are installed 180* from the original camero positions as the panel slops the opposite direction?

Ill take any tips you may have.

Edited by rayaapp2
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You're right about being installed opposite of the original position. Not really noticable unless you're actually lower than the lights.


Here's what I've learned so far:


1. The lights are too deep (with the plastic back). Fortunately, I had a set of '71 Corvette tail lights that I was thinking about using and they have a very slim back, so I've married the two and it fits fine.


2. Biggest thing, and what I'll probably do next summer, is to go find a wrecked '71, and cut the metal around the tail lights and then weld it to the Datsun tail light surround panel - as opposed to going the fiberglass route. I would have done that any way, but bought the corvette tail panel from the vendor (big mistake) and didn't want to waste more money.


3. The Camaro tails look big!... until you get them up there and then they're actually a little undersized. I may go to one of the classic junk yards in the area with a tape measure and see what other lights are out there.


I should have pics of the finished product tomorrow. I sprayed my last coat of clear tonight.


If you have other questions, just shoot.



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I did something similar with my Z. I wasn't trying to recreate any particular tail light panel I just thought it would look good. The pictures are old, I have finished the body work and the car sits in primer right now. I have not been able to finish it due to back to back deployments to Iraq/Afghanistan. Enjoy!




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Here are a couple shots of the lights done:






The car is real dirty, so when it's back on its wheels I'll wash, wax and get some better pics.


Two spray can coats of metallic black, wet sanded between each followed by two coats of clear also wet sanded between each. Finished off with some buffing and the gloss is crazy - from a spray can! Pretty chuffed with the way that they truned out. All thats left is to mount the lights and to come up with a solution for the backup lights.

Edited by dat240zg
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I am also plannIng this mod, I think they look great.

Couple questions though, I want to use sheet metal not fiberglass, is the panel perfectly flat or does it have some curve to it?

Also I may try the newer style oval lights, anyone done this?

Sorry if I'm hijacking

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