We all share some sort of connection with the Camaro. Historically, it’s GM’s golden child and arguably America’s favorite muscle car. It’s a safe bet you have some sort of affinity for the ride or you wouldn’t be holding this Camaro-dedicated publication in your hot little hands. Your relationship may have begun in 1967—the year we were all introduced to the Camaro, or it’s possible you’ve yet to begin your kinship, as you “patiently” await delivery of your 2010 SS.

It took almost 30 years for Rick Love, owner of this slick, silver metallic second-gen, to finally get his hands on an F-body. He remembers similar rides taking up residence in his high school’s parking lot. “There were a few guys in school that drove second-gen’s, and I really liked the look of that body style,” Recalls Rick. “At the time I didn’t have enough money to get one, but man, I thought they were just too cool.”

In mid-2007 Rick caught a healthy dose of Camaro-itis when Stacy Tucker offered him a stint behind the wheel of her ’69 for a few laps around an autocross course at one of the Goodguys car shows. Those “few” laps turned into a long day of giving Stacy’s hot rod an extended workout, and Rick a fistful of blisters and a renewed interest in getting a Camaro of his own.

“Fortunately I had just sold another car I had been working on and had a few dollars in my pocket, so the hunt for a Camaro began,” quips Rick. “It took almost two years, but this one came up through a mutual friend. I wanted something clean and in good working condition that I could drive right away and start upgrading the suspension. This car had the rust-free body and good paint. It was just what I was looking for, plus it was already decked out with a six-speed.”

Working full-time at Vintage Air in San Antonio, Texas for over 10 years, Rick is no stranger to classic hot rods. He’s built a few of his own over the past 25 years, but credits, or blames, depending how you look at it, Kyle and Stacy Tucker of Detroit Speed and Engineering for re-kindling his interest in Camaros. “I’ve driven my ‘39 Ford over 140,000 miles during the last twenty or so years, including The Hot Rod Power Tour and Street Rodder magazine’s Road Tour, but when Stacy let me drive her ’69 Camaro, I was blown away at how great the car felt and handled; not only on the autocross course, but it had excellent street manners as well. I was hooked!”

With Vintage Air’s aggressively expanding line of performance products, it only made sense to have an early Camaro on hand for research and development,” explained Rick, “We drive our cars a lot and run them pretty hard, so having this second-gen around really helps with parts development.”

Well, that’s nice gesture and we’re sure Vintage Air’s owner, and fellow hot rodder, Jack Chisenhall is very supportive, but let’s get real; Rick built the car to beat up on and whip around various autocross and road courses. To prove that point, he ditched most of the stock suspension components for some upgraded hardware. With the help of Kyle Tucker, Rick installed Detroit Speed’s tubular control arms up front, stiffened up the rear with their performance-engineered leaf springs, and added Bilstein shocks all around. If you’re gonna run hard, you’ll be needin’ to stop hard, so Rick outfitted the car with a set of six-piston Wilwood stoppers riding on 12-inch rotors up front and four piston binders out back. Not only do the Wilwoods look good, they get the job done. He also relies on BFGoodrich KDW Radials to put the power and stopping force to the ground.

A relatively modest 350 resides under the hood playing host to a Comp roller cam and Edelbrock aluminum heads. A Holley 750 tops off the Edelbrock Performer RPM intake while a Be Cool four-row aluminum radiator keeps engine temps in check. Function and form co-exist nicely with a polished Vintage Air Front Runner Drive System setting the stylish tone with a Tuff Stuff 140-amp alternator, and Vintage Air Gen IV Sure Fit A/C System. The ongoing theme continues with a set of polished aluminum GM valve covers and an All Star Racing air cleaner housing.