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1970 Chevy Camaro RS/SS - Heavy Metal

Terry Hansen Builds a Hard Rockin’ Second-gen g-Machine

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It was in 1970 when Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album, and today, many regard the English-bred rockers as the first true “heavy metal” band. That notion is certainly up for debate, though, as during the same period, groups such as Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin were heavy (Pun? Yes, of course) contributors to the same musical genre. Back in the day, this new sound was described as heavily amplified, distorted music with emphatic beats, extended guitar solos played at extremely loud levels.

That same year, Chevrolet was getting loud, too, by releasing their latest version of heavy metal: the second-generation Camaro. Exterior-wise, the car appeared sleeker and faster than the first-generation Camaro; and it was. What the GM engineers learned from racing the first-gen led to the improvements piled into the second-gen. Advances included better braking, steering, and weight balance. The early ’70s Camaros were the epitome of muscle cars during that era. Unfortunately for the mid-to-late ’70s Camaros, the gas crisis and a government-mandated reduction in tailpipe emissions, along with higher insurance rates for muscle cars, all but killed the second-gen’s performance. Thankfully, heavy metal music fared a whole lot better than the late-’70s Camaro.

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Terry Hansen is a big ’70s metal fan—of the music and the early second-gen Camaro. “As a teen, I had numerous Camaros, but I always liked the second-gen best as far as looks and handling ability,” notes Terry. “The way I see it, today’s music isn’t as good as it was back then, and neither are the muscle cars.”

Fast forward 20-or-so years, and Terry’s rambunctious hot rodding lifestyle had been left behind along with the plethora of random muscle cars. The responsibility of supporting a family and working in the construction industry took priority over wrenching on cars.

About 12 years ago, Terry got the itch to include a muscle car build into the family/work mix. While shooting the “bull” with local body shop owner and drag racer Mark Mahood, Terry mentioned to Mark that he was looking to build a 1970 Camaro. Mark knew that his neighbor Paul Brown had an all-original, nicely preserved ’70 RS/SS he was looking to unload. It turned out to be the perfect canvas for Terry to build upon.

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With no exact course to take, Terry picked a few of his friends’ brains as to what direction to take his newfound project. He wanted to build a car with big horsepower that could easily take to the street, handle like a modern car, yet still turn heads at car shows. The general consensus of his comrades pointed him in a g-Machine/Pro Touring direction. Done deal.

Although the car sat in Terry’s possession for about 12 years before the first wrench was turned, motivation finally took over, funds became available, and Terry got busy. With newfound focus, Terry put a call in to Bruce and Chris over at CBM Motorsports in Rancho Cucamonga, California, for one of their hopped up mills. Known for building some stellar performance-oriented LS engines, they started with a 6.2L LS3 and machined their way to 6.8 liters of mayhem. Bored to 4.065-inches and a 4.000 stroke, they configured in a set of 11.0:1-compression Manley pistons urged by a Manley crankshaft with CBM connecting rods. LS7 high-rev lifters keep the symphony working in harmony. The ensemble was then capped with CBM’s CNC-ported aluminum heads. A COMP custom CBM 600 cam (0.612/0.612-inch lift; 248/252 degrees of duration) orchestrates the controlled chaos worth 620 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.

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An Aeromotive in-tank Stealth 340 fuel pump readily delivers octane amply distributed through a FAST 92mm Big Mouth throttle body and stock LS3 intake manifold. A Mocal oil cooler and Mattson’s three-row aluminum radiator ensure the engine temps stay in line even through the rigors of SoCal’s treacherous summertime heat and unforgiving stop-and-go freeway congestion. A Vintage Air A/C unit helps Terry keep his cool behind the wheel in such situations.

Dynatech 1 7⁄8-inch ceramic-coated headers mate up to a Zoomers stainless steel 3-inch X-pipe system finalized by a set of Zoomers 3-inch round mufflers topped with rectangle tips conformed to follow the Camaro’s custom rear roll pan. Successfully unleashing the engine’s fury with little compromise, this exhaust system possesses little ability to tame the car’s ferocious growl at any rpm range above idle.

Ensuring the engine bay retains a good deal of eye appeal, Terry accented the mill with CBM’s billet pulley kit and custom coil covers. The Ringbrothers hood hinges punctuate the scene, and Terry’s own metal mesh cowl screen is an excellent departure from the plastic stock piece.

Chino Hills Transmission beefed up the 4L65E transmission and bolted in a TCS 3,500-stall converter, which sends twist via the shortened stock steel driveshaft to a Detroit Speed-assembled Moser 9-inch rearend loaded with a set of 3.70 gears and posi unit.

The front suspension consists of 2-inch drop spindles and Detroit Speed tubular control arms damped by a set of Detroit Speed coilover shocks, while the back half consists of a complete Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension system installed by Fast Eddie (Orange, California). Eddie also stiffened up the chassis with DSE subframe connectors.

Baer 6P six-piston silver-coated calipers grab the 12-inch rotors to scrub off speed quick-like while contributing to the cohesive look inside the polished Intro Split 5 wheels (18x9.5 front; 18x12 rear). With handling being the dominant priority of the build, Terry went with BFG g-Force rubber on each corner (275/35-18 front; 335/30-18 rear).

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Westminster Auto Upholstery did their magic on the interior and stitched black leather over the Cerullo GT seats and center console then custom-designed the door panels to tie in with the race-inspired motif. Playtech added a custom affair with their metal work on the center console and lower dash.

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Terry white knuckles a Momo Jet 350mm leather-grip steering wheel while fingertip gear changes come by way of the Twist Machine paddle shifters. HGM Automotive programmed the COMPUSHIFT controller to Terry’s preference.

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Mahood’s Collision took charge of the basic bodywork, and also grafted in the Corvette door handles. Mahood’s then doused the second-gen in PPG Silver and set it off with gray SS stripes down the hood and truck lid. The rear and front bumpers got a matching gray powdercoat treatment from Americoat (Orange, California). The cool combination sets the car apart from the more commonplace “same-as” look found on more conventional builds.

“Building this car was an absolute labor of love,” said Terry. “Not only was it my first attempt at assembling a car from the ground up, it was also a great experience having my son Zachary and grandson Brayden involved with it as well.”

Although heavy metal has gone through a multitude of transitions over the years, passionate old-schoolers would argue that ’70s metal is by far the pinnacle with which to plug in their high-end Bose headphones. On the opposite side of the coin, the changes Terry Hansen made to his classic Camaro allow him to drive it harder and faster than it was originally intended. That right there is music to Terry’s ears.

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