This Big-Block Camaro Looks Good From all Angles

August 31st, 2011

Text by Wyatt Strange

Photos by Travis Noack

It’s hard to believe that this car was designed and built in three months. And while we have all gotten used to watching builds on cars happen on TV with deadlines like the SEMA Show or the Detroit Autorama, this Camaro had to be done for something more important than all of those things rolled into one: Becky Austin’s 40th birthday.

At some point Becky mentioned to her husband Steve that she really liked a silver ‘69 Camaro that she saw at a show the year before, and that comment set the wheels in motion. Steve called Bart and the crew at All Angles Collision Repair with a pretty tall order: build a completely custom ‘69 Camaro with a big-block power plant and manual transmission, give it a bunch of one-off touches, and have it ready for Becky’s birthday in just over 90 days!

Bart and the staff of All Angles had an informal meeting and they decided that they could do it in that tight deadline. They didn’t have a moment to waste, so they rolled a complete ‘69 Camaro into their shop and by the afternoon had several well-organized stacks of plastic bins and piles of parts. As soon as the car was completely blown apart, they started on the rust repair and long list of body mods. Out back, they hand-fabricated a spoiler on the trunk, extended the tail pan, stretched the quarter panels, frenched the back-up lights, hand-fabricated custom steel side vents, narrowed the rear bumper and added a set of Detroit Speed rear wheel tubs. Up front, they modified the drip rails, shaved and contoured the firewall to hug the curves of a big-block and added a Foose billet grille insert. Then they custom built a set of rocker panels that feature pockets for the side-exit exhaust. Fesler billet hood hinges, trunk hinges, door jamb vents, fender braces and taillights were added after the silver paint that covers all of the sheet metal had cured.

As the body was coming together, there was another crew dedicated to the Camaro’s suspension. Up front, they used a Speed Tech Performance Ltd. bolt-in subframe with Ride Tech ShockWaves and Wilwood six-piston brakes. Out back they installed a narrowed 12-bolt with an Eaton Posi, 4.11:1 ring and pinion with Mark Williams axles and a Speed Tech Performance torque arm rear suspension with a set of  Ride Tech AirCans and Wilwood four-piston brakes. The entire air suspension is controlled by a Ride Tech top-of-the-line RidePro e3 digital controller to monitor the air pressure and ride height of the car, and it’s all completely programmable. They shoehorned 18 x 10 front and 19 x 12 rear Rushforth Rated X wheels wrapped in Nitto rubber under the fender wells.

Then it was time for the power plant. They decided to go with one of GM’s Anniversary ZL-1 427-ci engines that GM produced in limited numbers to celebrate the 1969 ZL-1 Camaro. The one that the crew got for this particular car is number 84 of 427 built. This all-aluminum four-bolt main big-block was grossly underrated at 430 hp, while actually producing in the neighborhood of 700 hp. This particular engine has had a Concept One Victory Series pulley system and modified Hooker headers installed, the camshaft was replaced with a Lunati roller unit, and the carburetor was replaced with a 850-cfm Holley to increase the power even more. The impressive motor was bolted up to a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual transmission, Ram 11-inch clutch and a Hurst Blackjack shifter, and then it was slipped gently between the frame rails. A Ron Davis Racing aluminum radiator was installed to keep it all cool.

The space between the doors is just as trick as the exterior. The All Angles crew installed a Covan dash pad, a complete set of Autometer gauges, a complete Vintage Air kit, JL Audio sound system and four bucket seats. Then the crew from Unique Upholstery was handed the baton and they ran with it. They built a custom console extension between the rear bucket seats, and then proceeded to cover all of the interior panels with silver leather. The seats got a similar silver leather treatment around the edges while they received perforated velour on the seating areas.

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