The great part about being in the military and deploying to Iraq four times (besides getting to enjoy the rolling desert landscape) is that you're able to save up a ton of cash. At least that was what Mark Olivera, of Carlsbad, California, was able to do. Mark bought his '69 RS/SS back in 1999. "I picked it up from a buddy who owns Danville Auto Care. It was in mostly original condition and was built at the Van Nuys plant in March 1969. It had 65,000 original miles on the 200hp 307," Mark says. Eventually, Mark ditched the anemic 307 in favor of an LS6 454 big-block mated to a Tremec TKO-600 with a Centerforce clutch and a posi 12-bolt. Since then it's been repainted and worked on by Best of Show Coach Works in San Marcos, California, with the latest modification being a Flaming River close-ratio steering box. Mark is currently saving up for some new brakes. Hopefully, he won't have to take too many more trips to the sandbox to get it done.
For the last 17 years Perry Williams of Guthrie, Oklahoma, has been working to get his '82 Z28 to its current stunning state. Way back in 1997, his buddy Brent Wilkins helped him massage the body panels of his then-rough Z, but when it came time to paint, he wanted to do it himself. "This is the first car I ever painted. I used Spies Hecker paint, and I chose purple with painted silver racing stripes," Perry says. The original engine is long gone and in its place is an '85 5.0L tuned-port mill backed by a TH350 trans. The Camaro rolls on fully polished Z28 wheels and Perry added a high-rise wing to the back. In addition to laying down the paint, Perry also did the interior work himself. It all makes for a sweet third-gen that's never in danger of being lost in the crowd.
Out of the Barn
Bryan and Rebecca Jenkins, of Knoxville, Tennessee, know that "the family who hot-rods together, stays together." With that in mind, they set out to build themselves a sweet Camaro. "We found a treasure when we came upon a '69 that had been sitting in a barn for almost 18 years. When we acquired the car in November 2008 it still had the original 250 six-cylinder, Powerglide, and 10-bolt rearend. The car was rust-free and, to us car enthusiasts, was actually in super condition for restoration. The owners had purchased many new GM parts years earlier that were still wrapped in brown paper. We began to tear the car down, and after many long nights in our one-car basement garage, we finally completed our prized restoration. We did all the work ourselves, with the exception of powdercoating, painting, and interior.
The Warbonnet yellow '69 is motivated by a pump-gas-friendly 650hp 540 big-block and is backed up by a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed trans. Since being completed in 2009, the couple has picked up a slew of awards for their barn-find Camaro.
No Camaro Left Behind
Most of us can remember when we were first smitten by muscle cars. In the case of Washougal, Washington, resident Jeff Rupper, that moment is crystal clear. As he recalls, "The year was 1980, and I'd just turned 17. On my way home from work one day I stopped at a car lot and found a red and black RS/SS '69 Camaro with a recent engine rebuild on a 396 and a four-speed, sitting on four Cragar rims with fat tires. They were asking $4,000. It was straight, clean, and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I had to have it. So that weekend I brought my dad down to have a look. You need to remember this was the '70s. The gas crises was just ending and my dad couldn't let go of the fact that it was a gas hog, and I would never be able to work on it. He was right. I have never been much of a mechanic. So he found a nice little Datsun B310 (that's Nissan to you youngsters) in the same lot that he felt would be much better suited for me, and proceeded to convince me to be practical. To this day I've never forgotten about that Camaro and have always dreamed of someday having one like it."
Jeff never really did find the time to become a mechanic, but he has found a way to feed his need for a sweet Camaro. This time in the form of a yellow RS/SS '10. Since picking up the new ride, Jeff has modified it a bit to bring it more in line with the '69 he left sitting on that dealer's lot. A bigger camshaft and Borla exhaust gives it the right muscle car sound and, as a bonus, an extra 100 hp. He would also like to upgrade the wheels to something with an old-school vibe and a deep lip, but for now he's happy to finally be cruising in a Camaro.
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