With men it's practically our duty to make snide remarks or a justified roll of the eyes regarding women who tend to have a difficult time making up their minds. It's not uncommon for women to spend hours shopping for that "just right" item at the mall. So when Denise Jarvis wasted no time in finding attraction in a 1967 Chevy Camaro convertible she saw at a local car show, her husband, Brent, might have been a little caught off guard.
At the time, Denise was the proud owner of a black '69 SS 396 four-speed car. Any Camaro guy, or gal for that matter, would "kill" to own a piece of that ride. And it's not that she was unhappy with the big-block bruiser, but once eye contact was made with that '67 convertible, she was instantly smitten.
"We were walking through a car show in the summer of 2005," recalls her husband, Brent," when Denise mentioned how cool she thought that blue RS convertible Camaro looked. She really liked the hideaway headlights and wished she had one."
In the fall of the same year, he received a call from one of his customers who had a '67 RS convertible. He told Brent that he needed to dump the car quickly as he was going through an ugly divorce (are they ever pretty?) and needed $20K right away in order to take care of some legal bills. As co-owner of Performance Restorations in Mundelein, Illinois, Brent is familiar with most of the cars in his area. "I knew the car," Brent said. "It was a documented, rust-free West Coast example that came with a build sheet and original bill of sale. The owner asked me if I knew of anyone who might be interested in buying the car. I thought about it for maybe 3 seconds before writing him a check."
Brent knew this was Denise's dream car but before passing her the keys, the car would need a little sprucing up. With a super clean canvas to start with, Brent had the car in sanitary condition in no time. "The car was so clean and rust-free, the restoration only took about four months," Brent says. "I painted the car inside and out, and the floors only needed a little wash and scuff job before painting."
Denise received the finished car on her birthday in April of 2006. "I'll never forget the smile on her face the first time she saw the car completed," Brent says.
Over the past five years, Denise has tallied up about 20,000 miles on the car. It's basically her daily driver-weather permitting-and most of those miles were racked up with the top down. She likes the attention she gets while driving the car. In fact, when her best friend, Pam, rides shotgun, some sort of mischief is bound to ensue, à la Thelma and Louise.
More often than not, Denise often gets quizzed about her "boyfriend's" or "husband's" car. She's always quick to make the correction that the car belongs to her, and she'll "politely" rattle off engine specs if necessary. You know, just to prove the point.
Speaking of which, the '67 retains a numbers-matching, .060-over 358ci mill built by the crew over at C.R.E. in McHenry, Illinois. A mild Crane hydraulic roller works in conjunction with the Crane rockers and pushrods, and 10:1 compression full floater forged pistons provide the punch. The Edelbrock heads were treated to a smooth porting for maximum flow, while a '67 Z/28 intake was massaged in the same manner. An MSD HEI distributor provides the spark, and a Holley 750 rides up top along with a '70 Z28 snorkel air cleaner perched above. It's a tasty recipe Brent whipped up to uphold the vintage Z/28 look. Aesthetics aside, Brent estimates the assembly puts out approximately 450 hp at 6,000 rpm.
A Tremec TKO 600 managed by a Hurst shifter optimizes forward momentum. The original 12-bolt posi armed with 3:36 gears remains on duty with the only changes being a fresh set of seals and bearings. Slathered with a new coat of paint, the rearend was good to go.
The stock suspension on a '67 Camaro (even when new) provides a less-than-desirable ride, so Brent stiffened the vintage F-body with a Hotchkis center brace and subframe connectors. A 11/4-inch sway bar out front helps keep the ride in check, and Brent cut one coil out of the stock-height springs for a little less altitude. It's old school but effective. QA1 shocks reside on all four corners, and pair of custom-built three-leaf springs accompanies the 7/8-inch sway bar out back.
Master Power 11-inch slotted and drilled rotors fit the bill inside the Denise-chosen Boyd smoothie wheels (17x5 up front, 17x8 out back) and Michelin Pilot Sports (225/45 front, 245/45 rear). There's something about a five-spoke wheel on a classic ride, no real explanation; it just works
The interior remains period correct with stock vinyl seats (bright blue with white stripes) and optional factory tach and ralley gauges. Most of Denise's drive time is spent with the A/C on full blast (top down), so an upgraded sound system was in order. A Kenwood CD head unit with a built-in G-meter and Kenwood KAC-6404 amp provokes the four Infinity four-ways. It's plenty of juice to drown out excessive wind noise with Denise's favorite car tunes.
Brent points out, "The body was virtually rust and dent-free, so all we had to do was strip the body and repaint it. We went with Marina Blue to keep the color correct and used PPG white for the SS stripe on the nose. I've been in the restoration business for a long time, and I have to say this is one of the nicest survivors I've seen in a long time."
We can't blame Denise for wanting to drive this classic hot rod on a daily basis. We would imagine she goes through extreme withdrawals during the cold Illinois Winter months, but we hear she makes up for it immediately after the frozen roads thaw.
So if you're wondering what happened to that big-block '69 Denise was cruising before she took over this '67? Well, she made up her mind and sold it ... in one day.