The lesson in automotive restoration is to always start with the best possible car you can find, even if that means seeing double. The first part of this two-Camaro story began with adventures in weight reduction. The previous owner of the original donor car had some interesting ideas in this area, and evidently a sawzall to test his theories. By the time Dave got the car, the damage was already done. The main firewall unibody supports and door supports were carved out to win a race run only in the previous owner’s mind. The hapless Camaro lost the race before it ever got started.
With Camaro number one too far gone off the big end of the experimental drag racing construction track to be rescued, another stalled Camaro project was located. Camaro number two looked good enough inside and out to display at any weekend show, but there was trouble hidden out of sight. Only after the layers of paint and bondo were peeled back did the true history of the project begin to unfold. Even though it had been professionally repaired, the dusty evidence revealed the Camaro had been hit from the right rear and coaxed back into the correct shape using classic poke and pull methods.
Stripped of its somewhat storied history, the Camaro was prepped with a new door skin, two new quarter panels along with some new front sheetmetal. Other body modifications included a set of inner wheelhouses and subframe connectors. A stock subframe was bolted up to the body with DSE half-height aluminum sub frame bushings. Onto the subframe went a set of big-block frame stands to place the engine a little down and back for air-cleaner-to-cowl hood clearance. Dave wanted to keep the Chevrolet mill under the hood looking period correct, so room had to be made for a ZZ383 and stock appearing powertrain setup.
With the underlying structure of the Camaro sorted, the Campbell Auto Restoration crew got started building outward on the newly-solid core. A ‘69 steel cowl hood was fitted to the ‘68 body. The stock bumpers were massaged, and side markers shaved to accent the super-sano clean look of the car. A stock replacement RS grille with electric headlights doors gives a menacing stare over the chin spoiler. The entire car was bathed in a custom mix Glasurit Orange Solid by Mike Kamimoto, and finished with a subtle-but- still-there front ghost stripe. To make certain the car had the right stance, a set of staggered 17- and 18-inch Budnik Groove wheels were shoehorned up into the fenderwells thanks in part to a set of DSE minitubs out back.
At the heart of the Camaro is a ZZ383 crate mill backed by a slightly-loose Trick Shift 2,300 stall speed converter and a GM 4L65e four-speed automatic trans. Twist goes through an aluminum Dynotech drive shaft and into a Moser 12-bolt rear stuffed with an Eaton Tru-Trac. Accell Gen 7 engine management meters the right combo of air, fuel, and spark into the holes through the custom intake modified for electronic fuel injection.