Late C3 Chrome Bumper Conversion

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One of our Corvette Forum members is building the resto-mod C3 of his — and our — dreams.

Late C3 Corvettes are plentiful, affordable, and make great platforms for projects. While strangled by the fuel crisis and packed to the gills with obsolete emissions gear, that’s easily remedied. The smallblock Chevrolet powerplant is versatile and can easily be transformed from a smog-era snail into a fire-breathing monster worthy of the muscle-car era that preceded it.

There’s just one problem: if you love the look of early, chrome-bumpered C3s, you’d better be prepared to shell out some serious coin. Well, Corvette Forum member mkdesign has an interesting solution: he’s converting his resto-mod 1975 convertible to have the look of a chrome rear bumper, just made of fiberglass.

Mkdesign has purchased and fitted an older-style tail section from Don at Glassworks. It mimics the look of the early chrome bumper cars, eschewing the heavy chrome metal bumpers for fiberglass replacements. This allows for a few important tweaks in the design.

The tail section has been modified slightly to better follow the lines of the car’s quarter panels. It’s apparently a bolt-on affair, requiring just normal finish work to make it look as though your Corvette left the factory that way.

CHECK OUT: What Forum Members Are Saying About This Chrome Bumper Conversion

Unfortunately, fiberglass will not polish to a shine like chrome, but mkdesign plans to paint the bumpers to match the charcoal grey centers of his wheels. Another poster suggested a new, high-tech paint that convincingly simulates chrome.

Another option is a chrome vinyl wrap. We’ve seen entire cars — Corvettes, even — wrapped in this way. It’s pretty gaudy on a whole car, but as a way to simulate chrome bumpers? Sign us up!

It’s pretty amazing that automotive technology has progressed in ways that make it easier than ever to enjoy our low-tech classics. From high-tech simulated chrome to new bolt-on fiberglass panels that let you change the look without grafting on a new rear clip, there’s never been a better time to build the C3 of your dreams!

Cam Vanderhorst is a contributor to Harley-Davidson Forums, Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and MB World. He is also a co-host of the Cammed & Tubbed podcast.

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