October 2010 Readers' Rides

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High School Cool
Back in high school, Craig Lenhart of Auburn, Pennsylvania had a Camaro. "My '78 had dull chalky paint, rust spots, and a weathered interior," remarked Craig. Still as many of us did with our early cars he let it go and lived to regret it. Five years ago Craig decided to rekindle his Camaro love and picked up this replacement. Now it's his weekend cruiser and when he's behind the wheel he gets that rush first experienced back in high school. The 305 V-8 powered F-body exhales though a Magnaflow exhaust system and shifting duties are carried out by a TH350 trans. The paint is '02 Camaro Seabring Silver and the car rides on 15-inch n90 Z28 wheels wrapped in Firestone Firehawk rubber. As Craig told us, "I've done all the work in my garage except for the paint. I think if my wife saw it in Camaro Performers it would justify all the money I spent so far." If it helps, tell her we think it was a great idea!

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Conversion Factor
Randy Thorson of Beloit, Wisconsin may not have started out as a "Chevy guy," but that doesn't make him less of one now. As he told Camaro Performers, "After owning a new '70 GTX 440-6 PAK when I was 21, I didn't think I'd have that much fun in the front seat of a car again. But in 1988, I bought my friend's '86 IROC and have been the proud owner ever since. It's a special order 305-inch carbureted five-speed with most of the available options. I'm 61 and retired now, so the Camaro's 30 mpg looks pretty good to me these days. Although, there's a part of me that thinks a 383 would fit real nice under the lid. I don't care for all the third-generation whining, but it would be nice if mine made your mag. Keep up the good work." Thanks for the compliment, and we're 100 percent behind the idea of the 383. Do it ... you know you want to.

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Girl Power
We received this letter and it was so well written that we decided to just run it:
"Ashley Sadler from Orange County, New York, is not your typical young woman. She likes to wrench on her car and wants to swap in a 454 big-block to her Camaro someday. Stunned? How about this: in 2008, after she searched out one of her dream cars-an '88 Chevy Camaro IROC-Z28-her father taught her how to rebuild the top end of a SBC because of a nasty head gasket problem. She credits her father, Ron, with her love of cars, shows, and an understanding of how an engine works and credits mom, Rosie, for putting up with Camaros in and out of the garage all year long. Nicknamed Carmine for its paint color and notorious Italian ownership in Jersey in the late '80s (where car was bought new), the IROC has a rebuilt 350 5.7l TPI motor with 700R4 tranny. It turns heads with Edelbrock headers, full Flowmaster dual exhaust, TCI stall converter and a hot Comp cam. Add in the Weld Racing Superlites and 3.43 posi rear for when she runs at Lebanon Valley later this year just like her pop." Congrats to Ron for raising her right!

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Big-Inch Bow Tie
You see a ton of street machines and Pro Touring rides in this magazine, but that doesn't mean we don't love us some pro-street from time to time. Take Joe Pedulla's '70 Camaro, for example; this sick second-gen oozes attitude and makes you want to go out and find a nice stretch of straight asphalt to brutalize. Joe's car rides on a '77 Camaro chassis and is powered by a GM ZZ502 crate engine that was worked over by ProFormance Specialties to include ARR 325 heads, Edelbrock Super Victor intake, Arias 11:1 pistons, MSD ignition, and is topped off with a Holley Dominator carb. Put it all together and you end up with a 700hp big-block capable of easily shredding the massive 22 x 18.5 Mickey Thompsons. Backing up this big-inch mill is a reverse-manual valve body TH400 trans, 3,500 stall converter, and a Moser rear with 5.00:1 gears and a spool. If you happen to be driving around Joe's hometown of Niagra Falls, New York and spy this Camaro, we would suggest you show it the respect it deserves.

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Keeper Camaro
When Gordy Pehrson of Shakopee, Minnesota bought his '67 SS/RS Camaro back in 1976, he only paid 1,200 bucks. This was a good thing since, being only 17 years old, we doubt he had stacks of cash laying around.

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"My Dad was a Ford Guy and I was looking for a late '60s Mercury Cougar to hop-up. I also wanted to challenge my buddies who had a '65 GTO, a '66 Wildcat, and a '72 Challenger.

Unable to find a Cougar, a co-worker told me about his neighbor who had to sell his '67 Camaro Convertible. I wasn't too interested because it was a convertible, but my brother and I checked it out and bought it anyway," recalls Gordy. In the 24 years since, he's added over 40,000 miles to the odometer and has done a ton to fix up the drop-top. Best of all, he never sold the car when times got tough. As he relays, "In 1978, I needed money for college and tried selling my Camaro for $1,700. Luckily (yes, luckily) I ended up rear-ending a truck and went to the local Chevy dealer for parts. The parts guy told me I had a 'rare Camaro' with lots of options and told me I should hang on to it. He asked if my Camaro had a fold-down back seat. I had no idea '67 Camaros had this option and, after driving and working on the car for a couple years, found out mine did. I followed the parts guy advice to keep my Camaro and started taking better care of it."

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In 1990, Gordy and friend Dave Peterson tore the Camaro down and gave it a complete makeover. A restored 350 small-block was added and all the sheetmetal was massaged, repaired, or replaced. Although the project was more of a restoration, the pair decided to paint the car in Bolero Red rather than its original Granada Gold. Since then the car has seen a steady stream of new parts, from 18-inch COY wheels to a new Quadrajet rebuilt by his son Charlie. Gordy summed it best when he wrote, "I'll never sell my Camaro; it's like my first-born. A long time ago, I thought I wanted to be buried in it-top down, in first-gear, gas pedal to the floor, and a big-ass grin on my face. But now that my brain is fully developed, I'd rather give it to my son when I croak and have my ashes scattered away while he, my wife Debi, and daughter Emily are cruising down a nice country road listening to Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven. I can wait for that though, since I've got a lot more cruising to do!"

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