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Pro Touring 1969 Camaro With All The Trimmings

Perfectionist: Ed Borges drives fast … straight down the middle

Ro McGonegal Jul 26, 2018
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Ed Borges has always loved fast cars and early on had been a Formula 1 crazy. His family left Portugal in 1969 to come to the United States, clearly expecting that it was the way to a better future. They weren’t wrong. When he came to America “we got a TV set where I could watch racing on the Wide World of Sports.”

Time cranked on and this go-fast proclivity was soon manifested in Eddie Marine, his first company. Time continued to crank on and when things began to turn up a bit in 1994, he bought a ’71 Mustang Mach 1 and made it his mule. He gradually restored it and when he kicked off Eddie Motorsports in 2009, it was the first one to assume his billet trim bits and silvery wisdom. His thinking was pure; create a production bolt-on part that looked like a custom one-off part, the likes of which the car-building elite would include with pride. It was Ed’s vision to make that part accessible, affordable, and easy to install.

“It wasn’t until I started Eddie Motorsports that I really got into hot rods. Being in the industry and going to Goodguys shows and SEMA, I started to see what guys were building. Seeing our parts on so many high-end builds got me excited,” Ed said.

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“I wanted to build an iconic muscle car to showcase our products and I’ve always loved ’69 Camaros. I had purchased a really nice ’67 for the project but my heart just wasn’t in it for that car. I couldn’t get motivated. For the ’69, I hired a local guy to do the body and initial assembly but that didn’t work out so well. Bob Frontino was the one who straightened it up and really got all of the fit and finish and details right. Right now, he’s working on his sixth build for me. I’d put his work up against anybody’s.”

Ed spent a couple of years ripping through lists on the Internet for a decent roller that wouldn’t need a ton of metalwork. He never got a solid hit. In his mind, he reluctantly revisited the ’67 … for a moment or two, until somebody made him a fat offer and he sold it. Quite by accident, an old neighbor of his had a ’69 and wanted to sell it. Ed jumped on it the next day. He said that he probably paid too much, but the body was in great shape.

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Though he didn’t know it, the ’69 would be his cherry-buster. “The biggest challenge was enduring the amount of time it took to complete the thing,” he said. “I had never done a body-off restoration. I’m not the most patient person, so I was biding my time and watching the project crawl along. It drove me nuts. When things aren’t progressing the way I think they should, I dive in and make it happen. It’s ironic. The biggest disappointments I initially had with the car were that the original builder was impatient and hadn’t taken the time to finish things correctly,” he quipped. The Camaro gut-punched him, slowed him and showed him that there is no way to move along a custom build until it is the time.

Once separated from the clean body shell, the ’rails got what was coming to them. The frame was sodablasted and then another one of Eddie’s tactical arms called Fusioncoat applied the matte-black sealing paint. Though the Camaro was envisioned as a showcase car and happens to have a Pro Touring aura, it isn’t necessarily one and doesn’t require all the roughest and toughest high-profile equipment that usually attends those cars. Ed just used what made sense to his budget and his sensibilities.

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Regardless, he had set up the chassis with drop spindles, put a Pro Touring clip on it, adjustable coilovers, bigger bars, four-piston discs at each point, and then illuminated the silhouette with modular wheels and gummy rubber. When it came to motivation, Ed could have easily bypassed hard-core and settled on a crate engine or some such. No. Bragging rights ruled, said he had to have a Dart SHP small-block turning forged components sucking sustenance through Holley heads. And just when you thought he might convert it to electronic fuel delivery he didn’t, and posted a traditional Holley 750 on the pinnacle instead. Output is 450 lb-ft, just about perfect for energizing the 3,200-pound Camaro’s power-to-weight ratio.

For all his business-like demeanor, Ed’s a comfort creature, too. He wouldn’t do without air conditioning or stereophonic sound. Raul Ledesma put him the seat. He and his Auto Trim shop in Ontario, California, have been making grumpy people happy for decades, like they came in wearing a burlap suit and went out in an old flannel shirt and worn-soft Levis.

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The entire point of the exercise was active participation, not mindless cruising or reclining-with-a-cocktail mentality. Ed likes to rev the engine, drop the clutch, and go through the gears just like the rest of us. And like the rest of us, Ed likes to drive, but this isn’t about going long haul or anything like it. For him, it’s tooling local, checking the scene, and making mental notes; wherever he’d be going he wouldn’t need an overdriven top gear, much less a sixth one. He went no further than a five-speed capable of 600 lb-ft.

So, beyond the hyperbole and the rhetoric, Ed really has created a maintainable idea that will still be pertinent years from 2018. It’s his palette piece and one that he will keep replenishing as his scope continues to expand. Not many of us can say that.

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Tech Check
Owner Ed Borges, Rancho Cucamonga, California
Vehicle 1969 Camaro
Engine
Type Dart Machinery SHP cylinder block
Displacement 372 ci
Compression Ratio 9.9:1
Bore 4.125 inches
Stroke 3.480 inches
Cylinder Heads Holley, steel 2.02/1.60 valves, 68cc combustion chambers
Rotating Assembly Forged steel crankshaft, forged I-beam connecting rods w/ 3/8-inch bolts, hypereutectic pistons w/ full-floating pins, Clevite bearings, Hastings moly ring packs
Valvetrain : Comp aluminum 1.7:1 roller rockers, pushrods, and springs
Camshaft Comp Extreme Energy 294 hydraulic (0.540/0.562-inch lift; 242/248-deg. duration at 0.050), Eddie Motorsports billet aluminum rocker covers
Induction Holley intake manifold and 750-cfm carburetor, Eddie Motorsports 14-inch aluminum billet air cleaner
Ignition PerTronix Ignitor III and 8mm primary wires
Exhaust Doug’s shorty headers, 1 5/8-inch primaries, ceramic coated, Flowmaster U-Fit 3-inch dual pipe kit and 40 series mufflers
Ancillaries Edelbrock water pump, Derale fans, AutoRad aluminum radiator w/ aluminum core support, Powermaster 170-amp alternator, Eddie Motorsports S-Drive Plus eight-rib serpentine accessory drive and engine dress-up parts
Machine Work Dart Machinery (short-block); Westech Performance (Mira Loma, CA)
Built By Short-block by Dart Machinery; cylinder head prep, camshaft install, and dyno test by Westech Performance
Output (at the crank) 480 hp at 5,400 rpm, 450 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm
Drivetrain
Transmission TREMEC TKO600 five-speed, American Powertrain billet steel flywheel, 11-inch American Powertrain Science Friction clutch assembly w/ ceramic disc
Rear Axle GM 12-bolt, Auburn Gear limited-slip differential, 3.73:1 gears, stock axles, American Powertrain driveshaft
Chassis
Front Suspension Speedtech 2-inch drop spindles, Speedtech Pro Touring clip, Viking adjustable coilover shocks w/ Classic Performance Products springs, CPP 1-inch antisway bar
Rear Suspension Viking adjustable coilover shocks w/ CPP springs, CPP 7/8-inch antisway bar
Brakes Wilwood 12-inch rotors, four-piston calipers, front and rear; Wilwood master cylinder
Wheels & Tires
Wheels Boze Victory 18x8 front, 18x10 rear
Tires Nitto NT555 245/40 front, 285/35 rear
Interior
Upholstery Raul’s Auto Trim (Ontario, CA)
Material Vinyl/suede
Seats TMI Sport R Pro-Series
Steering Unisteer rack, Eddie Motorsports Racer billet wheel
Shifter American Powertrain Revolution mechanism w/ Eddie Motorsports billet aluminum stick
Dash Stock w/ National Parts Depot Naugahyde, Eddie Motorsports billet dash insert
Instrumentation AutoMeter American Muscle
Audio Kenwood Excelon KDX-X300 head unit, 6x9-inch rear speakers
HVAC Classic Auto Air
Exterior
Bodywork Paul Smoot, PSI Auto Body (Ontario, CA)
Paint By Paul Smoot
Paint PPG Cyber Gray Metallic w/ Glamour clearcoat
Hood Classic Industries 2-inch cowl steel
Grille Camaro Central Retrofit RS
Bumpers Classic Industries

Photos: Robert McGaffin

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