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“69 Camaro with an Alloy Engine And Tenacious Grip

STEVE TEMPLE May 25, 2022 All Feature Vehicles

A “69 Camaro with an Alloy Engine And Tenacious Grip

Late ’60s Camaros had a lot going for them: great looks and neck-snapping acceleration all at a good price. But handling and braking were hardly their strong suits. If you wanted to turn and stop, the Europeans were way ahead of things back then, with a focus on roaring around a road course rather than bombing down a drag strip.

So what if you took the best of both worlds to make a world-class Camaro? That’s exactly what Dave Brandt did with his ’69. “I’ve always been a European car guy,” he admits.

Having an appreciation for foreign exotics, but not wanting to betray his all-American roots, he had Steve Keefer of East Bay Muscle Cars put a staggering array of continental refinements into a Detroit-bred, mean-streets machine, so that it would drive as good as it looks.

Easier said than done, of course, especially when you know that when he purchased this 396 four-speed Camaro Brandt says it was “in an absolute shambles.” Even so, Keefer took the fit and finish to an unprecedented level of detail on this motorized masterpiece. It’s subtle and sensational at the same time, with a dignified titanium color scheme.

That approach fits right in with Brandt’s profession as a model for prominent men’s clothing stores, giving him a discerning eye for style and attention to detail. Considering all of the performance upgrades underneath, the visual impact of Tenacity (the car’s moniker) is like a big-muscled thug dressed in a fitted gray flannel suit. You can dress it up and take it out for a ground-pounding ride.

This Maximum Drive experience comes courtesy of a 630-hp LS3 and a Mast Motorsports’s Black Label SS 6.8L. Set back 8 inches for an exact 50/50 weight distribution, it’s paired with a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed that funnels all of the power to a quick-change Winters rearend with 4:12 Posi gears.

Body: The Camaro’s classic shape was massaged in numerous areas, with a 3-inch body drop, custom wheel tubs, wider A-pillars, modified spoiler and rear diffuser, and a unique fuel filler in the center panel. The turn signals flash sequentially, flagging it as a truly unique creation.

That’s all well and good for a solid punch off the line, but how about the handling? To give the Camaro a truly serious suspension, Keefer customized an Art Morrison MaxG chassis designed with FEA (Finite Element Analysis). The front clip is markedly stiffer, yet significantly lighter than the bulky OEM unit. It boasts reduced unsprung weight, forged aluminum C6 Corvette control arms, a shortened front-view swing arm, modified caster and adjustable coil-over shocks. In the rear resides a 3-link setup with a Watts linkage, all of which makes for a tenacious grip when carving corners, while Exotic Air lifters ensure a glove-soft ride.

All of these performance upgrades required a commensurate treatment to the body and cockpit as well. The body was dropped a full 3 inches over the frame rails, and the doors, quarter panels, front spoiler and valance were all extended, as well. Exterior obstructions, such as door handles and drip rails, were shaved off, for a look as smooth as the fit of custom-tailored Italian suit.

“The  initial concept  when designing the car was to incorporate influences from the exotic car world without losing the  iconic ’69 Camaro features. We wanted it to stand out, but at the same time give it a more refined Euro look, kind of a Ferrari-meets-Camaro blend.”

Engine: Balanced and blueprinted, this aluminum LS3 from Mast Motorsports spins a forged Callies crank with H-beam rods and Mahle pistons. The Mast heads are 12-degree CNC ported with ARP bolts and nitrided beehive valve springs. A Hogan’s aluminum intake employs GM’s shorty injectors and 60mm throttle body, along with a Bosch MAP sensor. East Bay Muscle Cars fabricated the custom airbox.

As for the interior, it too received a complete going-over, using a 1967 Camaro dash extended 4 inches, plus a Cadillac CTS console. Numerous panels were custom molded, and the Recaro seats were modified, as well.

All told, every square inch of this car received some personal attention and exotic enhancement. It’s exactly the level of persistence and passion that you’d expect from a Camaro called Tenacity.





BUILDER: East Bay Muscle Cars, 560 Valdry Ct.,
Brentwood, CA 94513 925.516.2277

FRAME: Art Morrison MaxG modified by East Bay Muscle Cars

SUSPENSION: Front: Corvette C6 forged aluminum A-arms: rear:  3-link assembly with TMI Watts linkage

BRAKES: Baer 14-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors with six-piston calipers

WHEELS: 15 x 7 and 15 x 8 Wheelsmith and stock hubcaps

TIRES: Front: Michelin 285/35ZR19; rear: Michelin 335/30ZR20.

ENGINE: Mast Motorsports Black Label SS 6.8L LS3  630-hp

BODY AND PAINT COLOR: PPG two-stage Audi Lava Gray/Matte Titanium

INTERIOR: Camaro dash extended 4 inches with custom Cadillac CTS console and removable transmission tunnel, molded cockpit panels, Momo wheel, Recaro seats, leather and micro suede upholstery

AUDIO: Pioneer CD/DVD/receiver with LCD screen, Memphis amps and component speakers




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