April 2011 Readers' Rides

Big Bang Theory
When it comes to buying a pre-owned Camaro, you just can't pass up a good deal. And nothing makes it sweeter than negotiating that good deal into a great one. Damon Causey surprised himself when he made an offer well below the seller's asking price for this gorgeous 1998 Chevy Camaro. "When I first saw the car for sale, the owner was asking $12,900. The guy took excellent care of the car, and he told me it's never been driven in the rain-well, it showed," said Damon. "To make a long story short, I went back the next day drove it home for $9,500. It didn't settle in right away, but after driving the car for a while, I realized that I got one hell of a ride for a great price."

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"My Dad always had old Camaros around when I was growing up, so that's why I have an interest in them," Damon points out. "Now my dad has a '99 with the opposite colors as mine. We get a lot of 'thumb's up' when we get both cars on the road and out to shows."

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Damon's been gradually hopping up the LS1 a little at a time. So far he's upgraded it with a GM hot cam, LS6 valve springs, and a polished finish Weiand intake. Ceramic-coated Pacesetter 1 3/4-inch headers dump into a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust system and American Thunder 80 series mufflers keep the exhaust note tolerable yet still aggressive.

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Suspension mods include a host of UMI products including panhard bar, three-point subframe connectors, tunnel brace-mounted torque arm, and lower control arms.

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"For the price you just can't beat an LS-powered fourth-gen Camaro," Damon exclaimed. "This car has been absolutely amazing. I drive it to the track, run high 12-second passes in the quarter-mile on street tires, drive back home, then to work the next day. I've even beaten Corvettes and Mustangs that costs five times the money. Oh, and it gets 25 mpg on the highway. As far as I'm concerned these cars are the best bang for the money."

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Clean Cruiser
Bill Meyer of Allendale, Michigan, knows the value in keeping it simple. After all, when you roll in a '67 Camaro this sweet, fancy bits can end up becoming clutter. His Buttercup Yellow RS clone is powered by a mild 350ci small-block with Hedman headers mated to a Flowmaster exhaust system. The stock suspension was rebuilt with Energy Suspension components and some Edelbrock IAS shocks. The car rolls on 17-inch Wheel Vintiques painted in body color. The end result is a classic ride that's fun to cruise and will most likely never go out of style.

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Bad In Black
Arizona denizen Chris Brock loves the performance of classic Camaros, but he also likes all the wiz-bang features found on newer cars. That meant the best choice was to pick up a '10 SS. To up the power output he slapped on a Magnuson TVS 2300 blower and helped it feed on copious amounts of atmosphere by adding a Roto-Fab cold air intake system. At a recent dyno test day at Stillen, the F-body put 534 hp and 488 pounds of twist to the tires. To improve the car's handling, Pfadt suspension parts were sourced along with a set of Eibach performance springs while Stillen slotted/drilled brake rotors and Hawk pads help bleed off speed. With that done, Chris then upgraded the aesthetics with a GM Heritage grille and some Forgestar rollers wrapped in Nitto NT05 rubber. It all makes for one badass Camaro that combines the best of both worlds.

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Pro Touring Standout
It's not too often that we see many Pro Touring-style '81 Camaros, so when Joe Martz from Hanover, Pennsylvania, sent us these photos of his sweet looking second-gen, we had no choice but to include it in our special Readers' Rides issue.

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Joe is a second-gen guy through and through. In fact, before owning this one, a pretty beat '78 was his ride of choice. "My first one was so rough, I finally replaced it with this one," said Joe. "On Thanksgiving Day in 2008, I began a full restoration. Except for some wiring, every piece has been taken apart and either cleaned up or replaced."

As mentioned, the car lies heavily on the Pro Touring theme, so a Tremec five-speed Hurst Driveline Conversions trans along with a Dana 60 rearend stuffed with 3:73 gears from DTS handle everything the ZZ 502 can dish out. Suspension upgrades from Global West include front coilovers, subframe connectors, lower leaf springs out back, and QA1 shocks. The ensemble brings the ride height down a comfortable 2 inches and 18-inch Foose Legendary Wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich KDW rubber reside on all four corners. For stoppers, Wilwood 13-inch discs handle the brunt of the work up front and 12-inchers fill in the rear.

Slathered in Cadet Blue with silver stripes, the exterior stage is set, and with a plethora of performance and visual upgrades, this car easily stands out from most any late second-gen on the streets. As Joe points out, "This car is a driver, not a trailer queen. And it drives just as good as it looks."

Plan Of Attack
When Dave Alexander bought this '67 back in 1982 he didn't have a real plan of what do with it besides drive and enjoy it. In fact, he kept it "as is" until it was sold in 1986. But that was a decision he regretted, and in 1987 he bought it back. Recently, after claiming he was corrupted by this very magazine, he decided to turn the car into a good Pro Touring ride. Of course, we think he was somewhat led down this performance path by his 17-year-old stepson, Dawson. In any event, the pair plans on transforming the Camaro, and have been steadily amassing a pile of parts including a March pulley system, Tremec five-speed, DSE speed kit, Chassisworks rear g-Link system, and a set of Baer T4 brakes. Dave was pushing to keep the gen-I small-block, but Dawson is leaning towards an LS7, and we're thinking he's going to win on that one, too.

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Work In Progress
Like many of us car guys, Don Hendrick's progress on his ride is tempered by available time to tinker and limited cash flow. He's had this super-clean '69 for seven years, and over that time has been steadily chipping away at getting it into shape. The suspension has been upgraded, front and rear, with wares from Hotchkis, and Don has rebuilt the 350 with a forged crank, rods, and Mahle pistons. "She ran several 13.7s my first time at the track, but next time I plan on having a B&M shifter to help keep her in the 6,000rpm power band," remarked Don. And while he considers his '69 to be a "plain Jane" we think it's pretty killer as is.

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Surprise
Brooke Suslak is fully behind her boyfriend Greg Giroux's automotive addiction. In fact, she's so proud of his Camaro that she sent us this posed snap. Greg's '00 SS is motivated by a forged 402-inch Scoggin Dickey LS2, which puts 515 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque to the wheels when fed a little nitrous. Other engine mods include Kooks 1.75-inch long tubes, a FAST 90mm intake, and AFR 245 heads. A Moser 12-bolt wrangles the power to the pavement, and a pair of Magnaflow mufflers helps quell the noise police. The suspension has been worked over with a slew of parts from UMI, Hotchkis, and Bilstein with Baer providing the stopping power when needed. Hey Greg, we think Brooke is a real keeper!

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