Many of us Camaro guys consider a vintage second-gen Camaro their prize possession-a car only taken to car shows and driven on special occasions. But not so for Albert Melchior. Dude's got a number of second-gens, all in various build stages and styles. In fact, we know of one he's working on that will be busting out 700 hp to the wheels. Once that build is finished, we'll be featuring it in the mag, too. But back to this little gem; it's basically the result of a bunch of leftover parts from a number of his other Camaro projects. We caught up with Albert at the Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Faceoff in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and watched as he bullied the car around the road course and autocross. Although the car has no trick suspension components, just stock stuff lowered in the front and rear, that deficiency had little effect on Albert's fun day at the track.
"As crazy as it sounds, this is actually our shop car," said Albert. "It's also a big morale booster. My kids don't mind going on errands as much when they get to take the Camaro. I personally love the idea of driving this car instead of one of our newer 'shoebox' cars. In fact, I sold all of them. Between this, my '68 Eldorado, and our pickups at the shop, I'm all set with daily drivers."
Albert, owner of Carbon Kustoms in Woodbridge, Ontario, is the type of guy who likes to sit back and watch other people have a good time. The fact that he let his buddies' son do his first burnout in this car echoes the fact. "I'll never forget seeing the smile on his face after the smoke finally cleared. I'm pretty sure we created a monster right then and there," confessed Albert.
Rolando Presutto of RP Motorsports built the engine and driveline. Nothing special here, just your average 450hp 383ci stroker small-block backed up to a 700R4 trans. The components were beefed up to handle the relentless abuse the car goes through. Although Rolando's forte is big-inch powerhouse engines, he built this one knowing Albert, and knowing lots of different people would drive the car and not necessarily treat it with the utmost respect or kindness. "It really gets beat on, so the fact that it's still running is a testament to Rolando's ability to build a solid combination," informs Albert.
Although the engine sports a relatively stock demeanor, a MSD 6AL ignition box stands out on the firewall like a prized Picasso, while a set of Hooker headers dump waste into a custom-built crossover exhaust system. Dominant decibels get scrubbed through a set of Flowmasters, ensuring this second-gen audibly retains its daily driver status.
There are no tricky interior mods or fancy gauges here; just the stock necessities. And in keeping with the "no frills" motif, American Torque Thrust II's (8x16 front, 9.5x16 rear) with standard backspacing are utilized for relentless duty. BFGs reside on all four corners-255s up front and 275s out back-and provide plenty of grip for this glorified parts chaser.
The vintage sheetmetal was treated to PPG Mulsane Blue-a two-stage arrangement applied by Mike Tersingi at Paint by Pablo. But Albert confesses it could use another dousing. "All the driving and bathing has really taken its toll on the finish."
Some might feel a classic '70 Camaro deserves better than a life relegated to a shop duty, but the car doesn't know any different. Besides, witnessing Albert take it to the limits of its abilities at Road America proves this car can take all the abuse anyone cares to give it-mental or physical.