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Whatever It Takes

The GoodMark Camaro Is A Labor Of Love

Tony Kelly May 27, 2005

Somewhere in the process of building this one-of-a-kind Second-Generation Camaro, Dale Etheredge might have argued with our characterization of the Goodmark Camaro as being a labor of love. But now that it is completed, it is obvious that a lot more went into this project besides time and effort. Only a shop such as Etheredge's could have taken the remains of three different F-bodies, salvaged vital parts from each one, then combined those components with fresh Goodmark sheetmetal, and the finest performance, comfort and appearance products from dozens of aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers. What he wound up with is what we see here today. The Goodmark Camaro is seamless; it appears to have just been born from the way it looks today, and belies its vintage in the 1970's. It is not only a testament to the builder; it represents what is possible in today's restoration and customization market.

For many months, SUPER CHEVY readers have been able to follow the progress of the Goodmark Camaro as it came together. Admittedly, this car initially represented what is often called a "worst case scenario." Many builders would have kept on shopping when confronted with the selection of cars from which this project evolved. Our mission in using such worn-out, eaten up and beaten-up starter cars was to show exactly what could be done with the products available in today's aftermarket industry--obviously, a lot. When, and if, you get a chance to be up-close to the Goodmark Camaro at one of its many nationwide appearances, try and guess which sheetmetal is old and which one is new. Okay, here's the secret: Everything but the roof is new. All the rest is reproduced by Goodmark under license from GM. Of course it wouldn't look so great if it weren't for the professional bodywork done at Metal Finish U.S.A. in Cleveland, Georgia. If you're even thinking of a project such as this, where new panels make sense, make sure you're in the hands of excellent body technicians.

When things started to come together, it was fun to see the state-of-the-art components added to the car to make it handle right, go fast, and be comfortable. The Second-Generation Camaro was a pretty nice ride straight out of the factory, but its'70s-era technology is a quantum leap from what we have today. Our suspension, steering and brakes are upgraded with parts from Heidt's Hot Rod Shop, Performance Suspension Technology, Hotchkis Performance, QA-1 Precision Products, Competition Engineering, Stainless Steel Brakes, Classic Tube, Lokar Inc., Detroit Speed and Engineering, ididit, Nitto Tires, and Weld Wheels. How's that for a "Who's Who" of some of the best and the brightest engineering and technology companies in the industry today? The proof is in the driving, and right out of the box this Camaro drove straight and fast when we brought it from its debut at SEMA, in Las Vegas, to our Super Chevy California headquarters.

When the Goodmark Camaro is on the road, we're the center of attention. House of Kolor mixed the paint that was laid on by the same guys who did the panel work, Metal Finish U.S.A., and the trademark flames came from the talents of Gary's Body Shop. One look at this car and those in the know realize it's a Goodmark project. The high comfort level is provided by Vintage Air, a Clarion AM/FM/CD system (which we can hear better since we've used Soffseal to keep out the wind noises), seats from Scat Enterprises, insulation by Dynamat, panels and headliner from PUI, and carpet from Tim Parts (who also got the nod for lights and lenses). Facing us is the dash, covered by Just Dashes and gauges from Auto Meter, which were installed in the carbon-fiber panel from Covan's Classic Automotive. We don't even have to exert ourselves to roll the Iowa Glass windows up and down, as we have push-button operation from Electric-Life Power Windows; ain't we cool though?

Now that we've talked about how beautiful and comfortable the Goodmark Camaro is the real "meat" of this car is the Bill Mitchell World Products 454ci small-block. Conservatively built to hammer out a measly 560+ hp, with about the same number in torque, this mill is just our style for cross-country motivating. Running a Comp Cam, a F.A.S.T. fuel injection system, Hedman/T.D. Performance Headers, a Flowmaster Exhaust System, K&N Filters, Barry Grant fuel pump and regulator, Earls Performance Products lines, wiring by American Auto Wire, cooling by U.S. Radiator and Flex-A-Lite, this monster hooks up to a 4L80 E transmission from TCI Automotive, held in place by an Energy Suspension mount, with a Lokar shifter, through a Denny's Driveshaft into a Moser Engineering rearend, lit up with an Optima Battery and Vintage air Alternator, with fuel flowing from a Rock Valley stainless steel tank.

We've only had limited seat time in the car so far, but recently, after blowing it out a bit, we developed a head-pipe leak that we really liked because it let us hear "lots" of engine noise. Before we screwed it back on tight again, we found ourselves at a red light with a construction worker using a jackhammer about 10 feet away. We blipped the throttle a couple of times, which the jackhammer guy heard over the noise he was making. He looked at our car and gave us the "thumbs up," acknowledging that the Goodmark Camaro was now the "big hammer" in town. We just can't wait to get on the road; look for us.


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