"Forty years? You had to wait 40 years?"
"You didn't try to buy the Camaro on and off through the years?"
"Nope, never bothered him. We'd get together once in a while. We used to go out and have a few beers now and then. We were just good friends. That was it. I never bugged him about the car."
Apparently Allen Horine knew that his friend Garo Kachadourian (also known as Kach) wanted his 1967 Camaro. Lots of people did. A 7,000-mile, RS/SS 375-horse 396 in the garage of the original owner tends to draw attention.
Allen bought the car brand new at Mall Chevrolet in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. His goal was drag racing. So on day two, he sent the stock 396 to engine builder Tony Feil to blueprint it expressly for NHRA Super Stock/C.
"Feil was a very big East Coast engine builder located in Raritan, New Jersey, in those days," Kach says. "He is well known, especially in Super Stock, for building modified production engines back in the day."
Allen drag-raced his RS/SS big-block Camaro for two to three years, even going up against Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins several times in Super Stock, including a race at Tri-Cities Dragway in Endicott, New York.
"Horine was running in the 11s–11.60s and 11.50s at the time," Kach says.
Drag-racing muscle cars was common in the 1960s. Muscle cars were built to drag race. What made Allen's RS/SS special was what happened later.
"Parked it," Kach says flatly. "I told him if he ever wanted to sell the car, please give me first refusal."
Forty years passed. Sandra (aka Sam) called Kach in the spring of 2015.
"She says, 'Kach, this is Sam.'"
"I said, 'Don't tell me something bad happened to Al.'
"She says, 'Yes, he passed away. There's people after the Camaro.'"
Sam would give Kach first chance at the low-mileage SS. The classic was stored in an old garage at the house of a friend, "somebody Al grew up with."
Kach was very excited to look at the old Camaro again. The garage looked ready to fall down. Upon opening the garage door, he felt "happier than hell" when he saw the black paint on the rear taillight board and the original Marina Blue paint.
The RS/SS would "match" his 1967 Corvette with a 435-horse 427. Both were Marina Blue. Both had the highest RPO big-block in their respective lineups. The car was in good condition, but the garage's leaking roof created "minor rust issues," such as around the rear window.
Kach knew right away what he was getting. Yes, the odometer showed 7,800 odd miles, but the car had been modified for drag racing. Yet the price was still attractive because Sam knew her husband really wanted Kach to have the car.
The 396 was still the numbers-matching original big-block. The body was "never butchered." Kach found modifications such as "a Lakewood scattershield, Hooker headers, Lakewood traction bars, but no rollcage."
Of course, the engine was highly modified. Kach knew the cam was a Sig Erson grind, same as Grumpy Jenkins used in Super Stock in the 1960s. The stock 3.08s in the rearend had long ago been replaced with a set of 4.56s for the track, just right for the 10.50 M&H Race Masters also included.
The big surprise came when Sam mentioned a brother-in-law had "all the original equipment sitting in his cellar."
"I said, 'What do you mean?'"
Kach found the original exhaust manifolds, the original Rally wheels with the small caps and beauty rings that came on the car new, the original 780-cfm Holley carburetor, and the original "163" factory high-rise aluminum intake manifold. There were even two Goodyear redline tires that came on the car new in the stash of original parts.
Kach was ecstatic with the deal, but he still had a tough decision to make. Should he restore the car to stock or to the way his friend drag-raced the Camaro in Super Stock?
"There are people saying I should leave it the way it is. It's a pretty nasty-sounding car. I mean it sounds just like Jenkins' white '67, which was set up for Super Stock/C."
I'd like to hear readers' opinions. Yes, production of the L78 396 was low at 1,138 in 1967. But a Super Stock drag racer returned to glory with vintage parts is unique. Vote for a day-one or day-two restoration by email at email@example.com.
The Marina Blue paint is still original. Garo Kachadourian even got the original window sticker. The car had tires aired and engine running when he arrived. Look closely and you can see the traction bars installed during the car's drag racing days.
The 375-horse 396 is the original numbers-matching big-block, modified in 1967 by Tony Feil. The original carburetor, intake, and exhaust manifolds also came with the car.
The interior is in good condition. No rips or tears in the upholstery.