Factory-built ultra-high-performance Camaros are few and far between,
and when one is up for sale the price tag is usually high enough to
scare away even the most serious collector. For some, the decision to
clone one of these supercars is their only chance to own something that
will come close. A good clone, when done right, is still not a cheap
undertaking as the proper parts are just as hard to find.
There’s generally not a problem with clones as long as the owner does
not try to pass the car off as the real thing to some unsuspecting buyer when it comes time to sell it. What does all this have to do with the beautiful highly modified Camaro on these pages? Well, believe it or not, when Jody Bernard bought this Camaro it was a highly detailed, perfect ZL1 clone restoration with the exception of the factory air conditioning. All the right pieces were there including a Yenko aluminum 427.
Once the ZL1 was in Jody’s hands he started to make modifications right away. The first thing he added was the Speed Pro EFI and a rebuilt 200-4R automatic overdrive tranny. The stock 15-inch rally wheels were soon swapped for a more appropriate set of 17-inch polished five-spokes and some sticky tires. The cast-iron exhaust manifolds and chambered exhaust were replaced with Hooker Super-Comp headers, a Dr. Gas X-pipe, Torque Tech pipes, and Dynomax mufflers (four in all—two Super Turbos and two Bullets).
decided to clean up the engine bay by replacing the factory A/C system
with a more compact, lighter, and efficient Vintage Air unit and hid
all the lines in the process. The disc/drum braking system was swapped
for a Baer Track 1 system that put 13-inch discs up front and 12-inch
discs in the rear. In order to improve handling, Bilstein shocks took
the place of the factory spiral units. Inside the Camaro, Jody upgraded
the stock bucket seats with a set of Corbeau buckets covered in the
stock ’69 Camaro upholstery to match the rear seat.
that the Camaro was looking the way he had envisioned, and the braking
and handling were greatly improved, Jody suddenly realized that the
engine wasn’t producing as much power as he wanted. Eighty rear-wheel
horsepower was added with a pair of CFM Performance ported Canfield
aluminum heads along with a solid roller cam and some roller rockers
from Comp Cams.
This lasted about two months before Jody once again wanted more. As
luck would have it a friend of his decided to sell a Wayne Due subframe
that came with Fourth-Gen Corvette components, power rack-and-pinion
steering, and coil-over shocks. Jody jumped on this deal quickly
knowing that it would give the Camaro the late-model handling wrapped
in an early-model envelope he wanted.