As stated in the subtitle, this gorgeous 1968 Camaro belongs to Tom and Margarita Graham of Tyler, Texas. Tom is in the healthcare industry, and has always loved cars. As much as Tom wanted to be a gearhead, all the schooling and focus it takes to become a doctor kept him way too busy to wrench in his off time. We are sure you can guess how much free time a med student gets. Anyway, fast-forwarding a bunch, Tom was now a professional and still had the desire to own a killer muscle machine. It didn't take him long to find the one he wanted, a nice 1968 Camaro that needed a full resto.
Tom had heard through the grapevine of a well-established shop called Hatfield Restorations in Canton, Texas. After just a few minutes talking with them, Tom knew he had found the right crew and decided to entrust the building of his dream car to them. There were a lot more conversations along the way, but for the most part Tom told them he wanted the car "to handle like it was on rails, have enough power to let me show off, and look slick just sitting still." Looking at the car you can tell the Hatfield crew accomplished all of that.
The first thing you might notice is the slick, custom-mixed. maroon pearl paint laid down by Michael Stovall at Hatfield's. Well, it took a ton of blocking and sanding to get the 40-plus year-old sheetmetal that straight. Once you get passed how arrow-straight the car is then you might notice the subtle body mods the Hatfield crew did. Both the front and rear lower valences were reshaped to have subtle spoilers. The front also got a few punched holes fitted with custom stainless steel grilles, a mod that runs throughout the entire car from the custom fabricated air cleaner to the cowl.
Other notable body mods are shaved drip rails, marker lights, bumper bolts and trunk lock. The body sculpting doesn't stop at the exterior; the underside of the hood and firewall have been completely smoothed, and a core support cover was created to hide some of the necessary-yet-ugly things needed, like wiring and such.
Now don't go thinking just because this F-body has an excellent paint job that it's a cream puff underneath. Oh no, this one is built to run. It is outfitted with a complete Detroit Speed (DSE) suspension system. Up front is DSE's hydroformed subframe that features tubular upper and lower control arms, coilover shocks with "Detroit Tuned" valving, power rack-and-pinion steering, splined anti-roll bar, C6 steering knuckles and bearing packs. This front system is tied to the car with a set of DSE subframe connectors. These run out back to a DSE mini tub rear set up that has offset hangers to move the leaf pack over.
New wheelwells were grafted in to make room for some serious rubber. There are 10-inch wide 255/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sports up front with a 12-inch wide 315/30ZR18s out back. The sticky Pilot Sports are strapped onto a high-end set of HRE 790R three-piece forged rims. Stopping power is on par with the rest of the suspension, with a two-piston caliper/13-inch rotor Baer system up front, and a GM single-piston caliper/11-inch rotor set up out back.
All that suspension and traction would be a waste if you don't have power to push it, and this Camaro has got some power. Sitting inside all that custom bodywork is a Mast Motorsports 427 LS pumping out over 600 horsepower, but still having nice street manors for daily driving. Behind that is a Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission with a Ram dual disc clutch and TCI bellhousing. That shoots the power back to a 9-inch with a 3.73 gears.
Tom planned on driving the F-body a lot so he made sure the Hatfield crew created an interior that's a nice place to be in. The sheetmetal of the dashboard was left pretty much stock, but everything else was given a custom touch. Auto Meter gauges now fill the cluster, Mercedes carpet covers the floor, custom panels were fabricated for the doors, and the stock seats were reshaped and then just about all of it was covered in leather. Just to solidify the cars true nature, a DSE cage is tucked inside all that custom upholstery. The last creature comfort becomes apparent when you turn on the Custom Electronics stereo. Instead of a few rinky-dink speakers this Camaro rocks a pro grade system with Kicker mids and tweets, and a set of 10-inch kicker subs in the trunk (all powered by a JL Audio class D amp).
We asked what was the most memorable moment with the car and Tom reported with a grin, "What my wife said when she saw the final bill."
Tom says the car is perfect with just the Hedman headers hanging a bit too low for his tastes. Once that situation is rectified, it should be perfect. Tom told us this was supposed to be a family project that got a bit out of hand, but he has no regrets. We asked what was the most memorable moment with the car and Tom reported with a grin, "What my wife said when she saw the final bill."
We are sure those were some choice words, but in the end we think it was worth it.