Sometimes a misfortunate event in one's life can promote a circumstance of opportunity. Such was the case when business owner and Camaro enthusiast Teddy Niotis lost his right foot and ankle to a diabetes-related staph infection. Teddy needed something to keep him motivated, something to keep his mind off a negative life experience. Building another Camaro was the perfect medicine to keep his life heading in a healing direction.
As is the case with so many project car starting points, Teddy used eBay to dig out the perfect candidate for his therapy. He found a 1970 Chevy Camaro located in Orange County, California, for a mere $815 bones. "I paid $1,000 to have the car transported here to Grand Haven, Michigan," Teddy says. "The car had no interior, frontend, or drivetrain-it was exactly what I was looking for."
Not long after the car arrived, Teddy got the shell of a Camaro in the garage and began the disassembly process. After six months on a rotisserie, the car was finally sandblasted and sent to the body shop. From that point on, the fun really started: parts ordering.
"A good friend of mine, Mike, told me this project was a bad investment and that I should just sell the thing, but I wouldn't listen," Teddy says. "Nothing was going to change my mind; I was 100 percent focused on building an awesome Pro Touring Camaro with the latest aftermarket parts."
With the car back from the body shop, Teddy finally got his prosthetic leg and began working full bore on the car. "Come to find out, there were a lot of things I couldn't do like I could before. My friends really stepped up and helped out. I can't thank Jason Pittman, Dave Vaneck, and Steve Wierengo enough for all they did for me-physically and mentally," Teddy says.
Teddy and his gang worked meticulously on the car. From smoothing the firewall to lining up all the hood and door gaps, not much if anything was overlooked. The subframe was re-welded, and they welded in a set of custom-made subframe connectors. Just to shake things up a bit, a dash and center console from an '02 Trans Am found itself as part of the interior.
"I wanted the engine compartment to be one of a kind, so I dressed up the engine bay with pretty much every chrome and billet part I could find," Teddy says. "There's not much in there that doesn't demand your attention."
That's the whole point, isn't it Teddy? Baker Engineering assembled the balanced and blueprinted 383 Stroker; it's bored 0.030 over and stroked 3.75 inches. E-Tec Edelbrock cylinder heads smother the 9.5:1 SRP pistons, while a BEI cam comes in with an intake lift of 0.544 and duration of 236, while the exhaust side features a 0.531 lift and duration of 242. You're probably thinking Teddy went a little cautious on the compression ratio, but the MagnaCharger M112 puts to rest any preconceived notions that he's building a poser.
Rated at 540 hp, an A1000 Aeromotive fuel pump provides the greedy small-block plenty of swill to quench its octane thirst. A Melling oil pump keeps the crude circulating through the Milodon 7-quart pan. A Be Cool polished-aluminum radiator keeps engine temps in check and Billet Specialties' Tru Trac pulley system provides the function and form compliant with the remainder of the shiny parts.
MSD supplies the fire, and ceramic-coated Hooker Super Comp headers sort waste through a 21/2-inch Flowmaster exhaust system hushed through a set of Flowmaster American Thunder mufflers.
Zippy Performance beefed up the GM 4L60E transmission and mated it to a 3200 stall converter. Twist manifests its way down the D&R custom-built driveshaft managed by a 12-bolt posi unit armed with 3.73 gears.