Corvette Forum Member Details C6 ZR1 Front End Swap Process

By -

C6 Corvette ZR1 Front End in Progress

Corvette Forum member offers cautionary tale about aftermarket parts versus OEM GM parts.

While the base C6 Corvette is a great looking sports car, the front end of the C6 ZR1 is far more aggressive, making it an attractive upgrade for those who didn’t opt for the LS9-powered Chevy supercar. One owner of a base C6 that wanted the ZR1 look is “ncvette_1FUNRIDE”, who took his 2010 Corvette to a local body shop to have the ZR1 front clip and fenders installed, along with some other work including touch-up work to the side of the car and a new rear spoiler from SS Vettes.

In the end, his body shop was able to complete the project with gorgeous results, but the OP learned a valuable lesson when comparing the pricing of aftermarket components to factory parts. While he saved money in buying fenders from an aftermarket supplier, making them fit turned out to be a whole lot of work for the body shop. As a result, he recommends that others think twice about buying the OEM parts.

C6 Corvette Before ZR1 Front End

The Introduction

When the OP first introduced us to his thread, he explained what he was doing and why. This isn’t a DIY thread, as he simply took the car to a body shop and consistently updated the forum on the progress, but there is still plenty to be learned here.

Corvette ZR1 SLP Fenders Front

Well I finally dropped of my 2010 CG coupe (a couple of days ago) for the ZR1 front end conversion using SLP fenders. I also am having to replace the passenger’s side rocker panel as I damaged it when the car slipped off of a jack.

All of the interior is out of the car because of the mess, and I am doing a complete audio upgrade as soon as the body mods are done.

As progress is made I will add photos to this thread.

On a preliminary fitting the SLP fenders seem to fit fairly well but I will reserve final judgement until it is finished and get input from my body guy about how much additional work (if any) is required to make it look 100% right.

I am certainly looking forward to getting this project done. This spring should be fun.

Take note of that part about the fitment of the aftermarket fenders, as that is the real focus of this piece. He purchased the aftermarket parts rather than the GM OEM parts to save himself $1,500.

SLP ZR1 Corvette Fenders Early

The Install

Shortly after dropping his 2010 Corvette off at the body shop, “droptopp” posted that he was having issues with the SLP fenders:

You may want to throw your doors back on to see of your lines line up. I’m dealing with the same issue now. Rear factory fenders are done as great but issues with alignment of the SLP. As in major issues. Could you post pictures of the hood gaps as well? I had well over double the gap as in larger than my thumb sideways. Pm me your email addy and I’ll send you pics of what to look for.

Corvette ZR1 Front End Mocked Up

To which the OP shared some bad news of his own:

Yes, I just went over to look at them this evening. I am having similar issues that you are having. Gap between hood and fenders is larger than I would like and the passengers side gap between the fender and door is not good at all. Driver’s side seems to be ‘OK’.

I’m going to talk with my body guy tomorrow to see what can be done to make it better, if anything.

I am disappointed in these issues but hope that my body guy can at least improve it enough for me to be OK with it.

That was followed a short time later with more information on the brewing headache:

OK, I went by the shop this evening and they had been working trying to get all of the body panels to line up. I am disappointed in the fitment/gaps along the hood/fender points on both sides. Also there is a significant gap on the passenger’s side where the fender meets the door. I’m sure that the body shop can do some things to improve these areas some but definitely not up to OEM standards.

As a result, I would NOT recommend going the SLP ZR1 fenders route. Stick with OEM.

Here are some pics.

On the bright side the shop was able to ‘work’ on the SS Vettes ZR1 extreme spoiler and I think it is going to look great.

Corvette ZR1 Fender Sanded

He then shared some pictures of the fenders and hood in primer as the shop worked to make them fit together a bit better. As you can see, the gaps are very ugly, varying from front to rear. There was also an issue that the OP addresses later on with the arc of the fender relative to the hood being not-quite-right.

Corvette ZR1 Fenders Painted

However, the body shop continued to modify the fenders and hood, leading to a surprisingly clean finished product. Before we got to see the finished product, we got to see a few shots of the car without the ZR1 front end, allowing us to focus on the fitment of the fenders to the hood.

Corvette ZR1 Front End Swapped

Finally, in a separate thread, the OP shared pictures of the car with the new front end, the new rear spoiler and the new wheels. The car looks great and it is hard to tell that the fenders had originally fit so poorly, but if the body shop hadn’t been so great, the outcome could have been very different.

Lessons Learned

In the end, the OP’s car ended up looking exactly how he wanted it and as you can see in the “finished” pictures, his Corvette looks great with the new front end, but there is a lesson to be learned here. The aftermarket fenders required extensive work to fit correctly against the hood and doors, which likely ran up the bill at the body shop. The OP was fortunate enough to have a body shop that could do the work, but if someone was attempting to do this swap at home or at a less-experienced body shop, the project could have turned into a total mess.

Corvette ZR1 Front Swap Finished close

This should remind us all that when shopping aftermarket parts against OEM components, especially with something like body panels, it might be better to pay a little more for a proper fit. Saving money up front could cost more in the long run or worse, could leave you with poor fitting body panels.

Corvette Zr1 Front Swap Done Wide Side

Click here for a look at the thread was scores more pictures.

Join the Corvette forums today!

Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

Comments ()