It takes patience and dedication to learn the right way to build anything. It takes determination to finally accomplish something that brings total satisfaction. For 22 years, Craig Davis has been building and restoring rides. He has owned everything from a ’79 Porsche 911, to a collection of Volkswagen Bugs. When he came across this Camaro, his first intuition was to just to load it with gobs of power and run it down the track, but after taking a step back he began to envision something a little different.
He’s invested far more than he ever imagined into this ‘68 Camaro SS, and he can’t help but love the reaction it gets on the streets. But the satisfaction he gets when someone rides in it for the first time is immeasurable.
Since 1983 Craig has been learning the secrets of customizing cars, and the tricks he’s acquired are starting to get him noticed. A 21/2-year build, this Camaro is finally paying off in huge dividends. Keep in mind, this car was never meant to be the pristine piece it is today, but after a whopping $75,000, what else would you expect? This Chevy was basically built from the ground up. What was salvageable on the original body was removed and set aside, and once the skeleton of this car was entirely exposed, it got the complete restoration treatment. The exterior received a complete overhaul as new sheetmetal was brought in for doors, fenders, and quarter panels. The firewall was smoothed and filled to create a clean look. A 4-inch cowl induction hood was set in place for engine clearance and to keep the engine cool, while the frame was welded and massaged to complement the pristine bodywork. After the fabrication and sheetmetal work were completed, the classic was sent off to Tim Biggs of Biggs Customs in Kennedale, Texas, for the final paintjob. The body and frame were slathered in a Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes custom Lime Green while an Olympic White graphic stripe was laid across the body for a classic look.
With the exterior screaming for attention, Craig decided to bring the same detail to the interior. New Taupe cut pile carpet was laid across the floor to accentuate its curves. The stock Camaro seats were re-upholstered in light tan tweed to complement the carpet. The same material was used to upholster other various trim pieces throughout. A fiberglass center console houses three 2 1/8-inch Auto Meter gauges, and a Quicksilver shifter and custom fiberglass dash plays home to a flip-out screen and DVD player. Speaking of audio, an impressive Alpine IVA-C801 AM/FM/CD/monitor and an Alpine DVA-5200 DVD player start off this attractive system. One PR MBQuart PCE 316 three-way component fit into custom kick panels, and two JL Audio 8-inch subs are tucked in a sealed enclosure under the dash and powered by a 450-watt amp. A JL Audio 12w7 sits in a custom fiberglass enclosure that fits into the rear package tray and is powered by its own 1000/1 JL Audio amplifier. The stereo runs off its own two Excide Orbital EX-34 gel batteries to ensure a non-stop beat.
Of course, the main thing everyone wants to know about a muscle car is underhood. Morgan and Son Racing Engines in Grand Prairie, Texas, took the honors of installing the 540ci big-block and Powerglide transmission. Carbureted by a 1050 Dominator, there is no doubt that this machine can definitely get up and move. Everything is a mod when it comes to this engine. Starting with an Eagle 4.250 crank and Eagle 4340 H-beam rods, the 10.0:1 JE pistons conform to the Dart PRO 1 345 heads and Dart pushrods.
A Comp Cams solid lift cam keeps the power in check at high rpm. A Milodon oil pan works in tandem with a Mellings Hi-Volume oil pump. Also along for the ride are an ATI Super Damper, Plasma Moly Rings for serious competition, Clevite H-Series rod and main bearings, and a Manley roller bearing timing chain. A duo of gutsy-toned Hooker headers pound out the glory through a set of 3.5-inch Dynomax mufflers.
From the beginning, a Ford 9-inch rear end and Strange axles were part of the transformation. Mike Lang of Burleson, Texas, installed the break-the-bank suspension setup that dropped the car 2 inches on four adjustable coilover shocks. Custom tubular control arms were mounted in the front and a ladder bar suspension was set up in the rear. This arrangement comes down around 18x8-inch Eagle alloy wheels up front and 20x8 Eagle alloys in the rear. Both are wrapped tightly in Nitto NT555 performance tires (245/40/18s front and 275/35/20s rear).
It’s amazing how a machine over 35-years-old can become an exceptional piece of art. But with it comes a price—patience and attention to detail. As many of us learn along the way, sometimes getting carried away has the best results in the end. Through his years of hard work and outside-the-box mentality, Craig has definitely built a show-stopping ride. And with the amount of power and fun this car dishes out, it’s no wonder the 12-gallon tank-load of fuel doesn’t last long, but the rush it provides is well worth the cost of 93-octane swill, no matter what the price.