What makes a successful Pro Touring Camaro? Guess it depends on your definition of success: is it the measured performance of the Camaro itself, the presentation of the finished product, or the public reception to said finished product? Well, in many cases, just one of the above qualifies; but in the case of Gregg Blundell's '69, all three factor in.
For Blundell, a SoCal IT consultant (Gregg was born and raised in New Zealand), his viewpoint on his Camaro's most unique features kind of sums things up quite nicely in a nutshell: "Given how many Pro Touring-inspired '69 Camaros there are running around, with very healthy LS powerplants, I'd have to say this one gets points for being driven hard and competing full-out despite the level of paint and bodywork." But, we're getting ahead of ourselves here—let's start from the get-go, as Gregg helps recount the coming-of-age of his same-age project (he's also a product of '69).
"I'd worked on cars since I was a teen —basic recipe for making them go faster, handle better, and look killer—9 times out of 10 that meant a bigger engine, more boost, a lowering kit, and a carefully chosen set of aftermarket wheels and tires … done. Most of that was in a different time, and admittedly, a different country. The idea of rebuilding a real American muscle car the same age as me appealed, and while I'd always liked the '69 Camaro in magazines, I never thought I'd own one. I'd noticed companies and individuals starting to produce parts for these muscle cars that satisfied my wants.
"The idea of driving this across the country when completed excited me, again wanting to put something together that would do that comfortably, not feel like your typically ‘restored old car,' and maybe even be able to have some fun at local weekend driving events.
"I purchased the car as a roller. The car was an older, driver-quality restoration and it looked like it had been done OK. It had been a running, driving car and the seller had just dropped in a fresh small-block crate engine from a very well known SoCal shop that came with a receipt and dyno sheet. The seller had not even hooked up the engine before realizing he was out of money.
"So all that was needed was to reconnect the exhaust, electrical, and plumbing, and voila! A few days' work … max. Well, before hooking things up, I figured it was just as easy to pop the engine back out and clean up the engine bay first while I could get to everything, maybe replace some bushings and hardware at the same time. That's when I realized how easily these cars could be disassembled. I then figured if I was going to paint the car a different color (it was yellow), now was the time. So to do the job right, out came the glass and interior, and before I knew it I had completely stripped the car!
"Enter the first body shop. The subframe and suspension were removed and the car was media blasted, which uncovered some less-than-favorable sheetmetal. Replacing the sheetmetal and widening the rear wheeltubs became a priority. That took the body shop over a year and then the body shop completely flaked-out. They had left the now shell outside in etch primer and did nothing else. Removing the now surface-rusted car from their clutches was a pain, plus they'd ‘lost' a bunch of the suspension along the way.
"By this time I had started to meet other people in the SoCal area and online at Pro-Touring.com building similar cars, including (Camaro Performers Tech Editor) Steven Rupp. I ended up trailering the car down the street to Best of Show Coach Works (Escondido, California) less than a few miles away. We put a plan in place to build the car.
"The outside of the car, I wanted the result to look like a '69 Camaro but ‘cleaned-up a little.' Nice and clean, original lines, lowered, monochromatic with a splash of bling.
"The Pro Touring influence had taken over and many exciting parts were available for these cars. For the most part I spent that time pulling together parts for the car. By the time the true build got going—the Pro Touring movement was well underway. The online community extended to local events where I got to see and ride in many awesome, inspirational vehicles.
"While at SEMA 2010, I got to see Mark Stielow's latest Camaro build and realized the overall simplicity but quality of that car was exactly what I was wanting. That and several other quality builds really had me nail most every other (major) decision I had to make to complete my build. Seeing some of those same cars go out and run hard at OUSCI (Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational) a few days later just completed the picture for me and I came home all fired up!"
Over the course of six years, some shop hopping, and truly submerging himself in the world of Pro Touring cars—from the build to the behind-the-wheel experience—Blundell debuted his '69 at the 2011 SEMA Show (via invitation from the folks at Vintage Air), where his trail of "success" began to unfold. "That SEMA experience was superseded with what was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life. I drove the car across the country for six weeks and competed in multiple driving events. I met and got to hang out with some of the best people in the car community, got to see lots of awesome cars, and just had the best time actually ‘driving' my car."
|Owner:||Gregg Blundell, Carlsbad, California|
|Vehicle:||1969 Chevrolet Camaro|
|Type:||2008 GM LS7 by RPM Motors, Santa Clarita, California|
|Cylinder Heads:||LS7 aluminum, CNC-ported and milled|
|Rotating Assembly:||Forged LS7 crank/pistons, titanium rods|
|Camshaft:||COMP custom-grind hydraulic roller|
|Induction:||FAST LSXR intake manifold, ported FBW throttle body, Katech/FAST billet fuel rails|
|Fuel System:||Gen 5 Camaro in-tank pump w/ Vaporworks kit, FAST injectors|
|Ignition:||GM coil packs, Katech relocation kit|
|Accessories:||Katech valve covers, custom cold-air intake, Optima battery, Aviad oil pan|
|Exhaust:||Kooks stainless headers, custom stainless exhaust, Borla stainless mufflers, MagnaFlow X-pipe|
|Output (to rear wheels):||595 hp @ 6,700 rpm; 530 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm|
|Transmission:||Tremec Magnum-XL 6-speed; Centerforce twin-disc clutch/lightened steel flywheel|
|Rear Axle:||Currie 9-inch rearend housing, 3.50:1 Posi centersection, TruTrac limited-slip, 31-spline Moser axles|
|Modifications:||Best of Show Coach Works, Escondido, California|
|Front Suspension:||Art Morrison Enterprises C6 subframe, DSE connector kit, RideTech adjustable coilovers|
|Rear Suspension:||RideTech Air Bar four-link, adjustable coilovers|
|Brakes:||Wilwood SL6/SL4 14-inch rotors and 6/4-piston calipers|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||Fikse Profil 5S 18x9.5 front; 18x12 rear|
|Tires:||Falken Azenis 275/35-R18, front; 315/30-R18 rear|
|Upholstery:||Elegance Auto Interiors, Upland, California|
|Material:||Charcoal leather, suede headliner, black Mercedes carpet|
|Instrumentation:||Owner-customized Z06 w/ SpeedHut electronics|
|Air conditioning:||Vintage Air|
|Paint/bodywork:||Best of Show Coach Works, Escondido, California|
|Paint:||PPG Azurite Black Metallic|
|Hood:||Anvil Auto carbon-fiber cowl induction|
|Trunk:||Anvil Auto carbon-fiber w/ spoiler|
|Bumpers:||Anvil front, stock rear|