Between 1973 and 1982, the federal government mandated that every car sold in the U.S. must have a front bumper and a rear bumper that could withstand a 5mph collision without damage. While good intentioned, this virtually destroyed the aesthetics of car design for 10 years, until the law was changed from 5 mph to 2.5 mph for the 1983 model year.

As the price of ’60s muscle cars continues to rise, hot rodders are turning to less expensive alternatives. Like you, we’re always looking for the next thing, and all those disco-era bumper cars from the 1970s represent a vast untapped reservoir of project car fodder. Their only problem is that a car's oversized protruding bumper--especially the rear bumper--overshadow the beautiful silhouettes that lie beneath.

Nevertheless, there is an easy fix. All you need is a good eye and the right tools. We’re going to show you how we fixed the front bumper on a 1976 Chevy Camaro (which happens to be the same for all Camaros from 1975 to 1977), and the rear bumper of a 1975 Chevy Laguna (the same one found on all 1973 – ’77 Chevy Malibus and Monte Carlos). That said, the techniques and tools used here can pretty much be employed on all makes and models from the era.

You may recognize both cars as past Popular Hot Rodding project vehicles; the ’76 Camaro is Project g/28 (chronicled between 2005 and 2008), and the ’75 Laguna is Project Talladega (ne Project Laguna). As we’ve since discovered, both Chevrolet body styles have stunning profiles that were destroyed front and rear by huge battering rams. Turns out, these cars aren’t ugly after all! Watch as we show you how to fix ugly 1970s bumpers.

All of the work on our 1976 Chevy Camaro project car was performed by the artisans at Johnson's Hot Rod Shop in Gadsden, Alabama. JHRS has produced some of the most notable hot rods and muscle cars in the last decade, winning both the prestigious Street Rod Of The Year and the Ridler Award.

All of the custom fabrication work on our 1975 Chevy Laguna project car was orchestrated by Heath Elmer Restorations, including the custom rear NASCAR-style spoilers, narrowed and tucked rear bumper, blow-out straps, quarter-window covers, cowl air inlets, and headlight covers.