This project had an un-assuming start when we went to look at a ’68 Malibu on craigslist with Matt’s (shop owner) dad. The Malibu wasn’t something that was really worth pursuing due to a low option list combined with extensive rust and poor condition overall. However, while we were looking at the car, we happened to notice a ’69 Camaro parked next to a pile of firewood, with a tree growing through the front grill. Matt’s dad, Tim, was interested in the car, but the owner didn’t want to sell.
Passion leads to design,
design leads to performance,
performance leads to success!
As we left the seller’s house, Tim made an offer for the car and told the seller that if he did change his mind, call him, and he’ll come back with a trailer and cash. Sure enough, the next day, the seller called back (after talking to his wife) and the rest is history.
The Work Begins
Once we began to dig into the Camaro project, it was discovered that unfortunately someone had decided to fill the engine block/cooling system with tap water, and forgot about it until it froze months later due to winter.
After trying different methods (to little avail) to fix the cracked engine block, we opted for one last resort: JB Weld. Surprisingly, it worked, and we were able to start the car, bring it up to temperature, and drive it around for a few drives before we began a complete tear down on the car. Check out the video below to see the start-up after it had been sitting for over 25 years!
Many Surprises Lurked Under the Surface
As we began to tear the car down, we discovered the following:
- The car was a factory big block RS / SS car, NOT a Z/28 as someone had cloned it to be
- It had a deluxe interior from the factory
- The factory vacuum headlight doors were problematic at best
- A ’69 Camaro is no place for a carpeted orange dash pad
Unfortunately, the rust in the body proved to be more extensive than any of us were able to easily realize that dark spring night inspecting it in a field. The rust was extensive enough that in order to repair the body properly, we elected to replace the trunk floor, wheel houses, quarter panels, package tray, tail panel, inner tail panel, trunk floor braces, roof skin, doors, fenders, inner rocker panel (driver), full floor pan, toe section, lower cowl, and upper dash panel. In hindsight, we probably should have sourced a better (possibly reproduction) body.
After reading perhaps one too many Super Chevy articles about the latest pro-touring build, Tim ultimately decided to pursue a complete Detroit Speed front subframe assembly, with a matching Ford 9″ axle and quadralink suspension for the rear. The car will also feature Detroit speed weld-in subframe connectors for added chassis rigidity.
The drive train will feature a heavily modified 526ci based ZL1 aluminum big block engine, with a brand new Tremec T56 Magnum transmission.
We’re getting excited to finish this jaw-dropping project!