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1972 Chevy Camaro - But Wait, There’s More…

How Brett Anderson got a whole lot more than he bargained for

Chris Shelton Jul 1, 2011
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Every one of us is guilty of buying more than we bargained for, but Brett Anderson raised the bar. “I’d just finished my ’73 Camaro Pro Touring build and was looking for some pieces to make the factory windshield wipers work,” he said. A Craigslist listing took him to a seller’s house where Brett admitted his fondness of cutting up old tin. “After a few more minutes of conversation, I left with the wiper parts and two more basket-case Camaros.”

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Though you wouldn’t know so much by what he started with, his ’72 is the sum of those cars, a whole bunch of help from Brett’s pal Dan Willcocks, and a ton of work. For example, while many forego the stock suspension for C-6 Corvette setups, few go so far as engineer the mounting points from scratch.

To be fair, Brett started with an aftermarket cradle; however, “After I assembled the car for fit-up the first time, I realized it wasn’t meeting my goals,” he said. So he cut it up and rebuilt it the way he wanted. As a result, “The car sits low and tucks everything above the pinch welds yet doesn’t sacrifice the C-6 geometry.” As if the C-6 needed help, Brett found reason to upgrade to a Speedway Engineering antiroll bar, an AGR steering rack, Strange Engineering dampers and springs, and Corvette 14-inch Z-51 brakes.

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Another thing that sets Brett’s car apart is a hot-rod standby, a quick-change rear axle. “But you can’t buy a kit to put a quick-change in a Camaro,” he observed. “So it was back to the drawing board to design a triangulated four-bar suspension to work well.” To do justice to the Speedway Engineering axle, Brett raised the trunk floor and Spectre fuel tank 4 inches and built the suspension entirely from scratch with universal components from A&A Manufacturing.

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The axle’s ring gear bolts to a limited-slip carrier, which drives Moser axles. Kore3 brackets adapt 13-inch Z-51 brakes to the housing ends. As with the front, the rear rides on Strange Engineering coils and dampers.

Topside, the car tells a different story. Early on, Brett consulted illustrator/wheel maker Jason Rushforth for the car’s overall design. Rather than rely on the rash of popular modifications that second-gen cars hardly need, Jason proposed a distinctive stripe variation and a host of minor alterations. Brett obliged by shaving the side markers and redundant badges, smoothing the firewall, and tuning the panel gaps. In fact, Brett took it upon himself to prep the car and apply the Victory Red paint. How’s this for service: Jason Rushforth, who designed the graphics, helped Brett lay them out.

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Though the raised running gear required extensive floor modifications, it was the stock hood that required so much work. “I wanted to run a supercharger, but it wouldn’t fit under the hood,” Brett noted. “But Jason wouldn’t let me use a cowl-induction hood.” “No way, man,” Jason replied. “Every damn Camaro has a cowl hood. Anyway, I knew Brett could make it all fit.”

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Brett started with an ’02-vintage Camaro LS1 engine and a Magnacharger supercharger. He first milled as much off the blower and its manifold as possible. He found a bit more room by flipping the throttle body; however, instead of bolting it on directly, Brett made an adapter that pointed the throttle body down a few degrees. After an estimate 100 hours of machine work, the whole package fit beneath the hood just as Jason predicted.

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After such extensive slight of hand, it stands to reason that Brett hid the wiring in the engine compartment and relocated the ignition coils behind the dash. He also routed the heater and refrigerant hoses between the passenger-side fender and wheel well. Beyond the blower, a pair of Katech rocker covers, and fuel and spark mapping by Trifecta Performance in Duvall, the engine is largely stock. But don’t let that fool you; though tuned to be street friendly, the engine makes 525 lb-ft of giggle-inducing torque and 500 ticket-generating horsepower.

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Between the blown LS and the quick-change rear axle is a T-56 transmission and a driveshaft made by D&D Driveline in nearby Port Orchard. In fact, the only modifications associated with them were raising the floor as noted earlier.

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The same can’t be said of the exhaust that runs alongside the driveline though. Brett started with off-the-shelf Edelbrock headers that dump into 3-inch pipes. Only these aren’t what you think; to prevent the pipes from hanging below the pinch welds, he flattened them by clamping them between pieces of lumber. To make the job that much more difficult, Brett kicked the pipes over the axle beyond the two-chamber Thrush mufflers. They end just as GM dictated: at the rear pan.

Brett began with late-model OEM seats but they underwent so many modifications, their origins are no longer of any consequence. South Kitsap Upholstery in Port Orchard, Washington, trimmed them and did up the stock dash in black leather. Rather than analog gauges, Brett reads a Racepak Data Systems UDX-series insert. He replaced the clunky Harrison climate-control system with a more streamlined Vintage Air Magnum IV unit and its matching panel.

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Dan Willcocks re-wired the car with an American Autowire harness; Brett installed the Kenwood/Pioneer audio system. He replaced the clear windows with tinted Auto City Classic glass. Knowing how Brett got in this mess in the first place, it’s no surprise that he installed a Detroit Speed Inc. Selecta-Speed wiper system.

When Jason Rushforth sketched the car, naturally he did so around a set of his Trooper wheels. The fronts measure 19x8 with 5 1/4-inch backspace; the rears, 20x10, with 5 3/4-inch backspace. They wear Hankook Ventus S1 hides, 245/40ZR-19 and 275/35ZR-20, respectively.

Simply by the insight they gain with each car, most builders — especially owner-builders — can rattle off a litany of things they would do differently. Not Brett Anderson. “The car is everything I wanted it to be and more,” he revealed. “If there was something I didn’t like, I would’ve changed it.”

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That’s not cockiness or arrogance speaking. In fact, it’s quite reasoned. “Everything was a challenge,” he noted. “I went so far out of the box that there was not one part that simply bolted on; everything had to be fit to my liking before final assembly.

“It takes so much longer to build a car like this but it’s worth the effort,” he continued. “This has been my toughest piece so far and I learned a lot. I can’t wait to get started on the next car.”

Whatever that car may be, assure yourself he’ll find it while looking for something else.

the engine makes 525 lb-ft of giggle-inducing torque and 500 ticket-generating horsepower.



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