Doubtless, the number of shops specializing in the Pro Touring ethic has increased exponentially in the past few years. The genre is likely out of control now and its popularity has far surpassed the Pro Street notion and the street-and-strip configuration as well. We're seeing a total involvement here, the shops no longer restraining. The cars are at least as good as anything built for a well-heeled enthusiast, and why shouldn't they be?
The RestoMod Store in Independence, Missouri, is one such, and this '67 Camaro is a prime example of the trend. It's about getting the word out, on all four wheels. Billboards that roll tend to leave a longer-lasting impression than two-dimensional static displays. It's the difference between active voice and passive voice, doing rather than being acted upon. Look. It's not pasted to a wall. It runs. And it runs like a bat out of hell.
In fact, the tech sheet that accompanied the images for this story wasn't written by the Camaro's owner, 43-year old Robin Greenhagen, but rather by the shop responsible for it. To quote Resto's spokesman Alan Kreifels, "We wanted to show that that 1967 Camaro can be just as attractive as the popular 1969. Our style is ‘finish everything.' We leave no stone (or fastener or panel or wire) untouched. We want every aspect of the car to scream ‘Wow, they really thought this through and paid attention to every detail.' In the end, our shop's hallmark is the quality of our designs and the passion of our execution. We really enjoy a super-clean engine bay but always avoid the cop-out of an engine cover. We want to feature our engines, not cloak them.”
RestoMod's philosophy is embodied by the acronym SPEED: Safety in improved seat belts, stronger frames, suspension; Performance from a high-performance engine and transmission, wheels and tires, and modern suspension; Engineering from modernized electronics, engine, and transmission; enhanced frame and chassis to reinforce the original design; Economy via a modern V-8 with fuel injection, overdrive transmission, unleaded fuel, and better rolling stock, all of which contribute to better fuel economy; Drivability that is engendered by structural enhancement of the frame, rack-and-pinion steering, performance tires and wheels, and a sussed out HVAC system.
Robin Greenhagen hails from the upcountry burg of Watford City, North Dakota, hard by the Montana border and miles from nowhere or even Fargo, for that matter. The people in Missouri built it quickly, just four months, which in shop-jail time is like doing a nickel standing on your head in the state pen. RestoMod completed the build in October 2013, and Robin has driven it weekly, though probably not in the months-long lock-down of sub-zero weather. So far, he's rolled up 3,000 freaky but trouble-free miles burning across the northern tundra in the cusp of the Camaro's customized cockpit.
RestoMod did what they said they would. They combined a stainless steel work ethic with parts and material that are not the usual, your-name-here stuff. And check out that singular display in the engine compartment. It pastes you in the eye like an overhand right and leaves you just as stunned.
The LS engine didn't begin as anything special, but Dahmer Powertrain in Lee's Summit, Missouri, made it so. They did the machine work and incidentally pumped the displacement up to 403 ci with a stroker crank, but other pertinent details are either proprietary or non-existent. The all-alloy engine is highlighted by its uncommon (and happily so) intake system that was grown in Australia. Those down-under boys have been playing with the LS (in the Holden) for many years and their prodigy is nothing if not unique. The OZMO Engineering short-runner induction system is a combination of a billet aluminum base merged with multi-layered carbon-fiber tubes, CNC fuel rails, and a bunch of exclusivity. Katech carbon rocker covers complement the construction. Output is estimated at 575 horsepower. Torque is channeled through a Tremec T-56 to a driveshaft built by RestoMod. The terminus is a Heidts 9-inch pulling 3.89:1 gears and an equal-traction device.
Though the Camaro's clothes look like they're off the rack, they are certainly not. The body features that custom engine compartment in two-tone aluminum and a completely nude firewall. All the normal bumps and protrusions have been eradicated or put out of sight, shielded behind the panels or secreted beneath the dashboard. Moving to the outside, RestoMod cleaned up the silhouette by shaving the driprails and the door handles. They built a custom deck spoiler and formed new valance panels, completing the tableau with aftermarket '69 Camaro taillights, but the most ambitious work is nearly invisible. Resto extended the rocker panels, fenders, and quarters two inches to make the Camaro appear lower in its stance. At the leading edge, RestoMod offered a custom hood, clipped the bumper and recessed the grille as well, all of it looking most natural. They hogged out the wheelwells to cup those extra-wide Hankooks. Finally, the RestoMod boys got busy in the paint booth, laying on a DuPont Custom Blue formula that they mixed themselves. Then their own Matt Grey applied the hood graphics in gloss black metallic and orange stripes.
To be truly civilized, the Camaro was underwritten by Painless Wiring necessary for the Vintage Air HVAC system, the Kenwood touch-screen head (followed by Diamond Audio amps, speakers, and sub-woofer), and the Dakota Digital analog meters. The sanctum seethes with hand-made items. Among the most obvious, the subtly modified steel dashboard (sans cover) and the hand-built console that flows like a waterfall. A six-point rollbar adds strength, safety, and anchors the big-web seatbelts. Every time Robin pulls that gear shift, he's got his other hand on the Billet Specialties Draft steering wheel and his feet on the Wilwood reverse-swing pedals. For the gut, RestoMod rolled out yards of soft Ultraleather and wrapped it custom-like around the Pro Car seats, the auxiliary bench, the door and side panels, and the package tray.
Rollers & Binders
High-zoot 18x8 and 19x9 Boze Daytona rims welcome ZR-rated Hankook Ventus rubber with 225/40 and 305/30 sidewall markings. The energy burners are Wilwood, 13 inches in front and augmented by 10-inch discs mounted inboard on the Heidts centersection.
Chassis & Suspension
The undercarriage is dedicated, posting Heidts Pro G suspension at either end of the car. In the case of Robin's Camaro RestoMod chose independent configuration throughout. The assembly included a 9-inch centersection and is equipped with an antisway bar. At the front of the car, we see another complete assembly that gathers an antisway bar, custom upper and lower control arms, dampers surrounded by coil springs, powered rack steering, 2-inch drop spindles, and the transmission crossmember as well.