1967 Chevrolet Camaro - Scarred For Life

Karen Leisinger's '67 Wins The 2010 Goodguys Street Machine Of The Year. That Was The Plan.

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Karen and her husband Dave Leisinger are hardcore Camaro enthusiasts. We might even be so bold as to call them "Camaro freaks"-a term of endearment, of course. They've even gone so far as to pass their enthusiasm of first-gen F-bodies on to their two boys: Josh and Jared, both Camaros owners themselves. Could it be, "A family that owns Camaros together stays together?" It works for them. At 19 years of age, their oldest owns a '68 SS. The younger lad is a Yenko fan so, between homework assignments during the elementary school year, he chipped in on the build of his '67 tribute. Did we mention that he's 11?

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We first ran into the Leisingers at the Columbus Goodguys show in 2009 where Dave brought out his immaculate '68 Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins tribute Camaro to compete for the 2009 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year. Although the Jenkins ride got high marks and went deep in the competition, it failed to take home the SMOY award.

That was then, and this is now, 2010 would be the year for Karen to bring out her Camaro to compete for the prestigious SMOY award. Seeing how the competition played out in 2009, Karen knew she would have to bring something more than special to the show. It would have to be different, yet not to the point of removing it's soul. Like many Camaro fans, she instantly fell in love with the fifth-gen Camaro, but her dedication remained with the first-gen. "There is so much fun and excitement that goes along with building a car, and I really like the looks of the '10 Camaro," said Karen. "But I didn't want to just go out and buy a new Camaro, so I thought 'why not have the best of both worlds and build a '67 with some of the finer parts of the new Camaro?' So I called artist Eric Brockmeyer and told him about my idea. I also mentioned that I wanted to build a Street Machine of the Year winner. He worked on some renderings and came up with a concept that featured some front and rear design elements of the '10 Camaro." And just for good measure, they added an actual roof from the '10.

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"At this point we knew it would take a shop with an extremely talented team to handle this one. We've worked with Roger Burman and the crew at Lakeside Rods and Rides in the past," Karen mentions. "They did a fantastic job on Dave's 'Grumpy' tribute car last year, so we knew Roger's team could handle this."

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So, with the donor '67 ready for a resurrection and an extensive list of body modifications on tap, the process would be rather timely. To make things even more difficult, parts off the '10 Camaro weren't yet for sale à la carte, so having the car ready in time for the Columbus event was certainly an issue.

Once the Lakeside crew got started on the car, and the cutting, stitching, and stretching began, Karen thought the early modifications in the sheetmetal actually looked like scars. "Even though I knew they would be covered up upon completion, with the amount of power this car will dish out, it will easily leave two scars on the asphalt," quips Karen. "That's basically how the name came about."

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With most of the focus laid on the exterior, Karen knew the car would need enough power to coincide with the highly modified body lines, so an LSX block accommodates GM L92 heads stuffed with 10.7:1 hypereutectic pistons. A GM hydraulic roller cam with 226/236 duration and 0.525 lift join the supporting cast of GM internals. An Edelbrock electric fuel pump keeps the thirsty Holley 750 double pumper quenched should Karen put her weight on the "fun pedal," which is more often than not. And with 600 hp readily available at the touch of her toes, how could she not?

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