September 01, 2020 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos: Jun Vinluan

Tuner: Musclebrawler

Here’s a cool resto-mod Camaro

“Bitten by the car bug.” That’s how the owner of this Camaro got into American Muscle cars according to Alex Claudio of noted restoration shop Route 66. But it was really the close friend of the owner who was initially responsible, being the one who introduced him to the realm of restoring/collecting American Muscle cars. Having a nicely restored muscle car, made him appreciate the popularity of American muscle cars and realize how enjoyable it was to collect them, as Alex explains further, “Unlike Japanese cars that constantly keeps changing models every five years, American cars in comparison were in production for a longer period of time. As time passed, these classic cars became heirlooms for future generations of car enthusiasts.”

From the start, the owner really wanted a first generation, ’67 to ‘69 Chevrolet Camaro. Symbolizing the ponycar wars during the sixties, this was Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford Mustang, which was selling like crazy. Targeting the youth market, the Camaro had the traditional ponycar proportions, long hood and short trunk that quickly appealed to the masses. Thanks to the long hood, fitting either a straight-six or a small/big block V8 engine made things easier. Aside from different engine options, the Camaro also came in different variants such as the Rally Sport (RS), Super Sport (SS), Z/28, or the super rare COPO with a ZL1 aluminum big block engine with 425 hp. Styling-wise, the iconic 1969 facelift is considered as the pinnacle of Camaro design and looks the best in my opinion.

Their endless search to find a suitable Camaro finally paid off when they located a 1969 model.However, there was one problem though. The whole car was literally in 10,000 pieces according to Alex being an unfinished project. But the best part was that the car came packaged with a big block 427 cubic-inch engine. Even before the build began the owner already envisioned how he wanted his Camaro to look and the parts that he wanted installed. In fact, he even made his wishes very clear. “A classic performance car with air-con and music. Must be streetable and offer lots of performance when the need arises.”

With his years or expertise in getting more power from V8 engines, Ken Kepner is the go-to person. Ken went over the whole big block engine and fitted it with stout internals to make sure the engine stays in one piece while making loads of power. The 427 cubic inch engine is one of the largest engines Chevrolet ever made, coming in a close second to the tire-shredding 454 cubic inch engine that was used on the ’70 Chevelle SS. Other goodies that would make any muscle car guy happy include an 850 cfm Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor and manifold, Elite Series tall valve covers, and a set of genuine Hooker headers with a custom “Nascar style” exhaust tips. They also swapped the stock rear differential for a more robust 12-bolt diff to handle the huge amount of torque levels. With Ken’s extended service and work quality, the engine was as docile yet remained generally streetable. In fact, ken simply told the owner, “You’ll be very happy with the power.” Bestowed with the newfound power, the brakes needed upgrading to bring this muscle car to a halt. An SSBC big disc brake kit that includes a billet brake master and power booster provides outstanding stopping power. To prevent rear axle hop during hard launches, a set of old school traction bars were bolted on to the leaf springs, which does the job very effectively. Thicker front and rear sway bars also help a lot in the handling department as it rolls on 17-inch, Torq-Thrust wheels from American Racing with Mickey Thompson wide rubber.

As for the bodywork, Alex notes that they dealt with a lot of major rust issues normally found on the usual rust spots. “We had to do a major body restoration job. While it wasn’t that structurally bad, but it was badly in need of repair.” The body work also saw them adding custom touches such as a set of custom mini-wheel tubs at the rear to accommodate wider rear tires while the front flares were minimally tweaked so as not to deviate that much from the original look of the car. The owner also added his own custom touches on the interior like a 2+2 seating arrangement with matching custom buckets seats. The interior also houses a custom console where it had one of the owners’ most important requirements, which is to have a couple of cup holders for his favorite brew. The exterior also featured some touches that the owner personally wanted, most prominent being the V-grille and the LED rear taillights. Jimmy Chua of Jetcar built a custom audio enclosure utilizing Ground Zero speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers to pump out great sounding tunes for those long trips.

This resto-mod ’69 Camaro can’t get any better than this, but what’s great about it is the owners’ passion and participation in the whole build process. Having his inputs reflect on certain aspects of the build make it more personal and create a distinct character that shows. Overall, Alex Claudio notes that the owner is very happy with the overall result”. And that’s all that matters really.

SPECIFICATIONS

1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Engine

Chevrolet 427 cubic-inch V8

Engine Mods

Forged Pistons, Roller rocker arms, Aftermarket Camshaft,Prepped cylinder head, (Ported & Polished)Edelbock (850cfm) 4bbl carburetor, Edelbrock Performer IntaManifold,Edelbrock Elite Series valve covers, Edelbrock Elite Series air cleaner,Edelbrock In-line fuel filter, Hooker Headers, Flowmaster Mufflers,Custom 3” stainless steel full exhaust, Aluminum Nascar Style exhaust Tips,

Other Mods

MSD HEI Distributor, MSD Plug Wires, CSR Billet Thermostat Housing,SPAL Cooling Fan, Stainless Steel Radiator Hoses,Aluminum Radiator, New Gas Tank, Custom Battery Tray,

Horsepower

450 horsepower

Transmission

Turbo 400 Automatic transmission, B&M Megashifter,12-bolt rear differential with LSD,

Suspension Mods

Custom (f&r) sway bars, KYB Gas Shocks, Lakewood Traction Bars (rear),

Brake Mods

SSBC Big Disc Brake Kit (front 6-pot & Rear 4-pot)SSBC Brake Master and Brake Booster, Braided Stainless Brake Lines,

Rollers

American Racing Torq-Thrust Wheels (F-17×8.5, R-17×10.5)Mickey Thompson Street Comp Tires (F-245/45/17, R-275/40R17)

Interior

Classic Instruments gauges (Speedo, Tach, Oil, water, volts, fuel, temp, clock)Custom gauge cluster, Grant Steering Wheel, Lokar throttle and brake pedals,Custom center console w/ cup holders, Custom leather seats (front & rear),

Car Audio System

Pioneer head unit, Ground Zero tweeters, Ground Zero mid range speaker,Ground Zero Subwoofer, Ground Zero Power Amplifiers, Custom enclosure,Jimmy & Jerry Chua of Jetcar Audio

Exterior

LED taillights, New front grille, Front Spoiler with Struts, Rear Spoiler,Cowl Induction Hood, Hockey Stripe, OEM 427 emblems, Hood Pins,

Engine & Mechanical Works

Ken Kepner

Body & Paint

Route 66 of Frank Koh & Alex Claudio

Kudos to

Ken Kepner, Orly Alay-Ay, Boy Garcia,Frank Koh, Mick Uyliapco,

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