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Topless Terror

HR&CS Builds the Ultimate Canyon Carver

Andrew Schear Jun 9, 2004

Only a train ride away from his dream car, Graham Weiss started feeling the butterflies of first time hot rod ownership. With his 5 1/2 year-old son Hunter sitting next to him on the Amtrak ride from San Diego, California, to Sylmar, California, the only thought running through his head was, "Is the Camaro really as nice as its photos?" Son, Hunter, only knew that Dad was buying a hot rod and that the trip entailed riding past Disneyland. But for Graham, the trip was a bit more involved. Finding a nice, clean Camaro convertible was a touch harder than finding a coupe. After exhausting the Recycler and Auto Trader, Graham finally found what he considered a worthy starter vehicle. With his purchase complete, father and son jumped into the F-body and went homeward bound. Unfortunately, a leaky fuel tank meant that a tow truck was in order, which turned out to be young Hunter's highlight of the day.

After getting the '68 back to the greater San Diego area, Graham arranged to meet with builder and customizer, Randy Clark, owner of Hot Rods and Custom Stuff. The two came up with a game plan for restoring the '68 convertible and the F-body was left in the capable hands of Randy and his shop. As an experienced hot rod builder Randy disassembled the entire chassis and catalogued the loose parts.

After surveying the entire situation the car was moved to HR&CS' internal blasting facility to remove all the previous paint jobs as well as the light rust. With just a bare carcass to work with, each and every panel was made rust free and properly straightened.

With the bodywork taken care of, the suspension and drivetrain were being simultaneously acquired and prepped for installation. To make the '68 handle, Detroit Speed and Engineering road race suspension was installed up front while a combination of de-arched Eaton springs were used in the rear combined with Bilstein absorption. Underneath the giant Colorado Customs rollers are Stainless Steel Brake Company four-piston disc brakes complimented by slotted and plated rotors.

After making the chassis rolling with wheels, tires, suspension and brakes the team at HR&CS dropped in the GM Performance Parts Fastburn 385hp crate motor with modified Crane cam. Behind the crate motor sat a Richmond six-speed manual hooked to a Currie 9-inch rear housing. While no set up is bulletproof, we're pretty sure Graham will have a hard time breaking this setup.

Still fenderless and looking like a bare shell plus motor the F-body was moved back to the paint shop where Randy's paint team would coat the '68 in a combination of PPG and House Of Color candy urethane. Thanks to the help of Pete "Hot Dog" Finlan the ragtop received a paint scheme unlike any that we've seen to date. As Graham's high school dream turned reality the only magic left was up to interior guru Ron "The Stitcher" Mangus down at Custom Auto Interiors. While no stranger to custom leather interiors Ron gave the '68 an interior that Z06 owners might be jealous of.

As the winner of numerous awards at the illustrious Grand National Roadster Show, Graham and Randy have a lot to be proud of. Still on the car show circuit Graham's '68 is considered virgin to the roads and has a few kinks yet to be worked out in the drivetrain. As we told HR&CS and Graham there's always a place for this mean roadster on the SUPER CHEVY "Road Rage" test track, just give us a call. While this may be Graham's first real muscle car, we're hoping to see a Chevelle and Tri-Five parked right next to it in Graham's garage.


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0407sc_08z 1968_chevrolet_camaro_convertible Wheel_view 9/8

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