1969 Chevy Camaros - Best Of Show ... And Go

Everybody Wants A Purebred, But We'll Take The Mongrels Every Time.

Chris Shelton May 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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Going by COPO protocol, Butch retained the stock wheel, column, dash, heater controls, white standard interior, and even the lowly (and frequently discarded) radio-delete plate. But don't think Butch chose to clone as an easy way out: in the process he had to find a 140-mph speedometer, a factory tach, and the requisite center-mount fuel gauge that accompanied tachometer cars, which didn't get the console-mounted gauges. "The hardest thing was finding some of the little things that were missing that they don't repo," he said.

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The Beast
Regarding the big-wheeled RS, "I wanted to build a car the way I wanted;" Butch began, "reliable but with way too much power." And over a two-year span, and with the help of friends, among them Walt McPherson, Brian Sales, and Tim Harris, he did just that. "I found the car in AutoTrader," he continued. A woman had purchased the car new in Central California and brought it with her when she moved to Washington State. "She was losing her eyesight and wanted to quit driving. It was in fair condition and had an older paintjob, but it was mostly un-restored."

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For the most part he stuck to the Pro Touring theme. Rather than force the front suspension to do things it was never intended to do-handle, specifically-he replaced the entire subframe with a Chris Alston Chassisworks g-Machine assembly. Above and beyond revised pickup points to improve camber curve and roll centers, it features tubular control arms, VariShock adjustable-damping coilovers, a billet steering rack, and dropped spindles. Bolted to those are 13-inch Wilwood rotors and four-pot calipers.

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As he did with the front, Butch replaced the entire rear suspension, this time with a triangulated four-bar crafted by Brian Sales of Redline Race Cars in Longview. He similarly dispensed with the 10-bolt in favor of a Dutchman 9-inch that, like the COPO clone, spins a 3.73:1 cog on a limited-slip differential. That axle also sports Wilwood discs, albeit 12-inchers. Unlike the front, the rear rides on Aldan Eagle coilovers.

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Cornering performance may take precedent over straight-line acceleration nowadays, but one thing remains the same: big power still rules. The GM Performance Parts ZZ572 delivers it too; even though it's the low-compression pump-gas variety, GM reports that it produces 620 hp (and at that, some say it's underrated).

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Butch left the engine alone but adorned it with a Barry Grant 850-cfm Speed Demon carburetor and Chassisworks 13/4-inch headers. Those, in turn, feed 3-inch aluminized pipes that Tim Harris built with an X-pipe and Spintech mufflers.

The front of the engine drives a Billet Specialties Tru-Trac accessory drive system. Ahead of that is a BeCool aluminum radiator and electric fan. The back of the engine drives a 700-R4 prepped by Bow Tie Overdrives in Hesperia, California. Butch controls it with a stock horseshoe shifter that he updated with a new detent plate and lens to match the overdrive's pattern.

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Just because the car was solid to begin with and basically looks stock doesn't mean Butch didn't invest a lot of effort into its body. In anticipation of wider tread, Butch opened the rear wells with Detroit Speed mini-tubs. He replaced the hood with a 4-inch cowl-induction unit, and to give the engine a bit more presence he shaved the firewall.

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Though seemingly more intense, Butch says those mods paled in comparison to the work that the Rally Sport package took. "I spent a lot of time trying to line up hidden headlight parts to make them look straight and aligned with the opening," he said. He replaced the vacuum-operated headlight actuators with electric motors, and hid the A/C hoses. Longview's Larry Barnett painted the car Hugger Orange using PPG Concept-series urethane base/clear.

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