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Slammed and Stunning Big-Block 1967 Camaro

Tribute-ish: Steve DeMarco builds the Camaro of his dreams, with a twist

Jesse Kiser Jun 15, 2017
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What’s your dream car? For Steve DeMarco, he longed for an original Yenko Camaro—a car many aspire to own. But, let’s put things into perspective. In 2014, an original Yenko sold for $220,000 at Barrett-Jackson, when the median home price in America was $188,900. The poster of your dream car hanging idle on your wall is often as close as it gets for most of us—the reality we succumb to, even as adults. But when a true hot rodder can’t afford one, he simply builds it all his own. Enter the 1967 DeMarco Supercar.

Even from afar it doesn’t closely resemble an original Yenko, and Steve certainly wasn’t attempting to pass it off as a Sunday-cruise-in clone. The badges hidden in the paint are hard to spot unless the sunlight hits the hood just right. The famous headrest letters are missing, the stance is all wrong, and the chrome wheels don’t scream Yenko—but that’s what makes it a DeMarco Supercar (D/SC).

The plan was simple, even if the execution became long and complicated. “I decided to build a Yenko as though it were built today, but with some added custom touches,” said Steve. Despite being the wrong color and having a too-low stance, there are two primary traits that resemble a Yenko: the name of a man who wanted to build a badass Chevy and a big-block.

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Steve bought the Camaro, minus the engine and transmission, back in 1987. “I planned to build it for my daughter April’s 16th birthday.” But when April first saw the car she said, “I hope you don’t think I want that.” Sadly, Steve then rolled the car to the end of the line of others projects, where it sat dormant for the next 23 years.

Over that span of years, April finished her schooling and began her career as an Emergency Department Registered Nurse and Steve started his own business, Carolina Custom in Clinton, North Carolina. Fast forward to 2010, Steve received a phone call from April, now 36. “Dad, I’m ready for my Camaro now.”

Now for a theme, “My mind kept going back to a car I once saw right out of the military, long before April was born, a 1969 Yenko Super Camaro,” said Steve. “A car I had hoped to someday have, but that never came true.” Steve decided to build one, but with a storyline: a 50th anniversary, customized, and chromed version that honors the original. The plan would be for April to receive her Camaro on the car’s 50th anniversary. This was also to be a project that pushed the shop’s machining and customization talents.

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When Steve finally got into the project after 20-plus years of neglect, it was discovered that there wasn’t much of a Camaro left. The only factory parts left after the sheetmetal work are the hood, trunk lid, rockers, and floor. The factory rockers and aftermarket fenders were stretched 1 inch lower. Out back, the rear wheelwells received 2-inch mini-tubs. The stock firewall was replaced and recessed. The rest of the underhood pieces, such as the inner fenders and radiator support, were handbuilt in the shop. If you look closely you’ll see a few things missing from the firewall. The brake/clutch master cylinder was custom-machined at Carolina Custom and then relocated behind the firewall with a small, chrome access plate on top.

The bodywork was jointly Steve’s shop and John Clapper, while the paintwork was performed at Southern Auto Restoration in Beulaville, North Carolina. The paint is Axalta Sonic Blue Pearlcoat—same as what you’d find on a 2003 Mustang. There’s a single stripe inside of the double Camaro stripe, all with the D/SC (DeMarco Supercar) logo hidden inside.

The Camaro sits on Schott Performance Wheels Mod 5 wheels, measuring 19x8 in the front and 20x10 in the rear, wrapped in Falken 452 rubber.

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The most important part of the Camaro—the big-block—is a Chevrolet Performance ZZ502 crate engine with forged internals, which received Sonic Blue paint to match the exterior. Carolina Custom built the steel/aluminum valve covers and air cleaner with DeMarco/SC badging. Two four-barrel 500-cfm Edelbrock carbs mounted to an Edelbrock Torker II chrome intake manifold grace the top of the big-block. Fuel is feed from a custom fuel tank. For some added chrome goodies, the 502 features a chromed Billet Specialties serpentine system with chrome water pump.

Sanderson ceramic-coated, long-tube 1 3/4-inch headers dump into 2.5-inch pipes and Flowmaster mufflers. An American Powertrain T-56 six-speed with a billet flywheel and American Powertrain Science Friction street clutch backs the 502, while a narrowed Ford 9-inch completes the drivetrain.

The Camaro rests on the original subframe with TCI Engineering subframe connectors and a TCI tubular IFS up front, 2 inches lower than stock. Stainless steel control arms and chrome spindles add to the polished finished underneath. A rack-and-pinion was stolen from a Fox-body Mustang. ShockWave air springs and an auto-leveling system allow for adjustable ride height. Wilwood brakes handle the stopping power with drilled and slotted 12-inch rotors all around.

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Inside, the fabrication includes a custom dash and recessed gauges. The lower gauge pod was also hand-fabricated similar to that of a stock Camaro. The sculpted metal paneling and paintwork continue through the dash and door panels and into the rear seat area.

You’ll notice the chrome on the center console trim flows from the trunk through the interior and matches the air cleaner and radiator support. Steve wanted to build on the exercise of consistency.

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The front seats are from a Dodge Durango and were chopped to fit their new home. The rear seat buckets were custom made; both were upholstered by Chuck Hanna of Mooresville, North Carolina.

Steve didn’t formally unveil the car until February 2016, then promptly won Car of the Year at the 2016 Run to the Sun show in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on its first outing.

When Steve completed the car he told April, “After 26 years, I am excited to finally give you your Camaro. I love you, April, and here’s your first car.” April said about that experience, “I was so humbled. It brought tears to both of our eyes. After so many years I finally realized what this car meant to my dad and I.”

Photography the Author

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