by John Pfanstiehl
Chrome has a special place in the heart of most Corvette owners. Chrome-bumper C3s had an added jewel on the rear: a chrome license plate bezel between the chrome bumpers. C2s had similar bright work with their anodized aluminum license plate bezel between their chrome bumpers.
As pretty as they are, these gleaming bezels pit and dull over time. Installing a new bezel is an inexpensive way to quickly brighten up a Corvette’s appearance. And parts replacement doesn’t get much easier than this one. While in the area, it’s a good time to replace the license light assembly if needed. Follow along to see how easy it is to swap old for new with these two parts.
01: Chrome plating on this light metal part doesn’t hold up as well or as long as the chrome plating on the steel bumpers. The corrosion typically begins in the hard-to-plate inside corners and on the sides.
02: Zip Corvette offers two levels of quality for the bezel. 1st Quality and “2nd or Driver Quality” shown here. Zip informs customers that the 2nd Quality has imperfections such as a few pits and marks that were not properly buffed prior to chrome plating. It looks good and is a less expensive option.
03: Remove the four screws and the bezel. The screws go into plastic nuts so corrosion or stripped heads are not likely. That’s all there is to changing the rear license plate bezel unless the plastic nuts or screws warrant replacement.
04: A complete set of the plastic nuts and screws are in Zip’s Rear License Bezel Mount Kit. These screws are #8 if one is needed. A set of the two larger plastic nuts and screws is also available for attaching the license plate.
05: The plastic nuts snap into square holes in the fiberglass panels. This car had no square holes up in its replaced taillight panel – the screws went right into the fiberglass. In a fifty year old car, things aren’t always as they were from the factory.
06: The rear license plate rubber bumper is also available if the original one is missing or has become hardened. This rubber part presses easily into the panel and keeps the lower end of the plate from rattling against the bezel.
07: To replace a license light assembly like this one, remove the two bracket attachment screws, unclip it from the wiring harness and pull it down. The bracket screws usually come out easily but it may help to spray some penetrant on the machine screw that attaches the ground wire and harness clip.
08: The original lens can yellow and become partially opaque after many decades of service. The bracket’s two attachment screws are also #8.
09: The new replacement 1972-1973 Corvette license light assembly comes complete with steel bracket, socket, bulb, lens, lens gasket and pigtail. Cost is only about $30.
10: “GUIDE 35 SAE L66” and the GM part number are on the lens. Note that this part does not have a provision for the fiber optic lens found on 1968-1971 Corvettes.
11: Tip: run the screws through the new bracket while it is out. This makes installation of the screws easier when the assembly is held up behind the panel.
12: Turn on the parking lights to make sure the bulb is lit before installing the assembly. The ground wire needs a good connection for the light to work. Also wiggle the connector to make sure its connection is also good.
13: Install the four screws into their plastic nuts to complete replacement of the old corroded rear license plate bezel. The new chrome brings back the showroom-new look to the rear of the car.
14: The new license plate light assembly looks much better than the tired old unit it replaced. The bracket and lens are bright and new, and the illumination is no longer dim.
15: The polished stainless steel license plate frame can dress up either the front or rear license plate. Zip also offers MANY license plate frames with Corvette, Grand Sport, Z06 and other logos. Carbon fiber and frames with LED back-up lights are also available.
1968-1973 Corvette Rear License Bezel Replacement
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
Corvette Parts List Related to Article:
- 1968-1973 Rear License Bezel
- 1963-1973 License Plate Stainless Frame
- 1968-1973 Rear License Bezel Mount Kit
- 1963-1973 Rear License Bezel Screws
- 1968-1979 License Plate Bolt & Nuts
- 1963-1979 Rear License Plate Rubber Bumper
- 1968-1971 License Light Assembly (GM Licensed)
- 1968-1971 License Light Assembly
- 1972-1973 License Light Assembly (GM Licensed)
- 1972-1973 License Light Assembly
- Shop/Repair Manuals