1968 Chevy Camaro - Gen X First-Gen

Chris Shelton Apr 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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You can't really fault Generation X for its short attention span. We were guinea pigs for sophisticated target marketing, we were the first generation to get computers in the classroom, and we came of age on four-minute vignettes set to highly synthesized '80s music. From now on think of the Internet's capacity to reward users to flit about as their ever-narrowing attention span sees fit as our little gift.

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That said, perhaps it's no surprise that the Internet distracted Chris Holstrom from a work-in-progress. "I was in the middle of a '41 Ford coupe project in 2005 when Jason Rushforth introduced me to Lateral-G.net," he began.

Now to know Jason is to undergo perennial transformations of sorts, even if you don't want to. The guy is hardcore into G-machine-style cars and he's downright persuasive; He's an artist, so when he's done explaining what he sees with his mind's eye he breaks out a color rendering of it. And since the two have been buds since high school, you could say that Chris has been Jason's guinea pig. "Long story short, the '41 went on eBay," Chris continued.

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Apparently not everything has changed over the years: good First-gen cars are either priceless or worthless. "There was so much rusted-out junk for sale," he said. "I was disheartened until I saw an ad on Team Camaro.net." The victim of a botched quarter-panel replacement, the car was a mere 100 miles away. "$4000 and the body was mine," Chris reveled. "No motor or trans, and it was all ripped apart, but I finally had a First-generation Camaro!"

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Naturally, he spent a good deal of time and effort fixing what the elements and prior owners' inflicted upon the car. Then he turned his attention to styling. Jason obliged with a few ideas.

By shaving the government-mandated side markers, swapping for earlier RS taillights, and using a Goodmark hood, they conspired to make the car look a bit more like a love child of a 1967 and 1968 Chevy Camaro SS. While he was at it, he welded up the panel edges to tighten up the gaps, and massaged the body straight. Typical for Jason, the colors came right out of the new-car songbook: Audi Reflex Silver and Salsa Red, both from PPG's urethane base/clear systems.

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But the car is more than just a pretty face. Chris built an LS-style engine based on an '03 LQ4 truck block and rotating assembly. Bud's Machine Shop in Lakewood machined and reassembled it with a hotter COMP Cams camshaft. Titanium retainers and custom springs withstanding, the heads are stock; however, he did replace the manifold with an LS6 piece. "I have no idea how much horsepower ..." Chris admitted, "... but I built it around a Car Craft article that produced 480 hp at 6200 rpm." For reference, that appeared in the April 2007 issue. And for the record, the car moves.

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Chris dressed the engine and relocated the coils with Katech Inc. rocker covers. Wait 4 Me Performance Engine Management reprogrammed the ECU to run stand-alone; Injection Technology created the harness. He installed the engine with a Northern Factory Sales LS1 aluminum conversion radiator that, ironically, runs a Lincoln Mark VIII fan. Using 2 1/4-inch Magnaflow mufflers, Puyallup's Mike Sader crafted everything behind the Stainless Works full-length headers.

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The transmission started life as a T-56 six-speed from an '02 Camaro; however, Chris gave it the once-over with billet shift keys and updated the synchros and shift forks. He adorned it with a Z06 clutch and a Hurst shifter, and bolted it in with an ATS crossmember and install kit. Strange Engineering made the driveshaft.

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