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Green Machine

The McDowell's Knockout Second-Gen Camaro

By Grant Peterson, Photography by Mike Harrington

Some people hit the nail on the head right from the start. Others spend a fortune, and just as many years, trying to get it right without ever achieving the same success. You can't buy good taste, but try telling that to some people.

Thankfully, nobody needs to tell that to Jim and Linda McDowell in regards to their beautiful '70 Camaro. Jim has a pretty accurate idea of what looks good on four wheels, as manifested in the work that comes out of his North Carolina-based business, Slim Jim's Body Shop.

Color can easily make or break a car. I can picture Jim at the paint bench pouring and mixing like a mad scientist until he got the equivalent of the Incredible Hulk in a spray gun. Not only did Jim knock one out of the park with the color, his bodywork compliments the amazon green perfectly. It looks like Jim is in the right industry.

With what can be the most challenging part, it was time to exercise the same level of taste and restraint throughout the rest of the car. No one can argue the McDowell's choice to install the LS1 drivetrain; it was left as GM intended, but is now connected to a Denny's driveshaft that leads to the Moser 12-bolt rearend with a 3.42 gear. A Griffin aluminum radiator precedes the V-8 of the same material. A stainless steel tank from Rock Valley feeds the LS1, which utilizes the Goodmark cowl hood for fresh air. With the addition of the Classic Air A/C system, it was necessary for Mike Freeman to notch the frame for the A/C compressor and the alternator since the motor had been set back. With a swap like this, new headers had to be fabricated, so Gerald Rinehart was called in, with some help from Joey Styles. Installing the Flowmasters was a nice way to compliment the headers.

Everything that hooks the Camaro to the road is as simple and effective as the rest of the car. On the outside, Goodyear F-1s are mounted to the 17-inch Boyd Coddington wheels that house the Baer Brakes, with 13-inch rotors on all four corners. Master Power's booster and master cylinder move the fluid to the Baer calipers. Moving farther in, we find Hotchkis sway bars and their 2-inch drop springs front and rear. Bill Stein shocks reside all around, surrounded by Global West's tubular A-arms up front.

Open the door and the black leather-covered Custom Racing seats invite you to jump right in. Kevin Lawhern helped Jim put the fairly stock, black GM interior together, as well as handled the wiring duties. Jim keeps an eye on the Auto Meter gauges as he's grabbin' gears with the B&M shifter. Jim brought Mike and Kevin together to map out, fab, and install the rollcage, which is no walk in the park if you have never had the chance. Pair the 'cage up with the RJS harness and you can have one confident ride.

We now have a pretty good idea of what two years of hard work and planning can produce. If having less is more, then the McDowell's Camaro is the most!

By Grant Peterson
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