Subtle influences on a young person can sometimes be immeasurable. It can provide strong memories that will last a lifetime, and then some. Take for instance, hot rod builder Chris Nash. During his formative years, he has vivid recollections of being chauffeured around in his mom’s second-gen Camaro. At the time, it was not a big deal — quite common, actually — to have a 1973 Chevy Camaro as a family driver. But in retrospect, it’s a pretty cool ride. He also remembers her selling it while he was in his early teens. Sucks for Chris, as we’re betting he was looking forward to having a Camaro as transportation to and from high school.
Many years have seemingly flown by, and the car is long gone, but the memories of that ride have carried on over to the ’73 you see here.
At this stage the car isn’t all about glitz and glamour; it’s about function. It’s super clean on the outside with an amazing chrome silver paintjob and a unique textured stripe. “I get more comments on the stripe than anything,” said Chris. “It’s difficult to do something totally different these days, so it’s cool when people take notice of what we’ve done with the stripe.”
Being owner of Precision Rod & Customs in Sevierville, Tennessee, one would think busting out a spectacular muscle car would be quite a simple task, but if you know anything about hot rod building, then you know that customer cars take precedence over personal projects – even if the project belongs to the shop’s owner. And these days, the “money tree” hasn’t been bearing fruit like it did a few short years ago. “Right now, this is basically our shop car.” Chris points out. “We use it for everything from running errands and picking up parts, to grabbing lunch.”
Chris is happy to point out that there’s a good chance the car will have an influence on his young daughter, too. “One of the greatest memories I have with this car so far is taking my little girl, Lexi, for her first ride in it,” boasts Chris. “Watching her eyes light up when I started the engine is something I’ll never forget, and I hope she doesn’t either.”
The basic 440ci small-block is visually spiced up with a Vintage Air Front Runner and A/C system, which looks slightly out of place since it far outshines the rest of the mill. At some point Chris will make his way to a sano engine bay, but for now, it’s all about function, reliability, and keeping cool behind the wheel during those stifling Tennessee summers.
Hooker black-coated headers feed into a 3-inch mandrel-bent exhaust and finish through a set of Hooker mufflers. No horsepower rating was given on our tech sheet. In fact, Chris may not have much interest in actual dyno numbers at this point, but we do know the Keisler-built Tremic TR-6060 transmission is plenty strong to handle whatever number the engine does happen to put out.
For suspension, Chris went with 2-inch drop spindles, Speed Tech tubular A-arms, and Ridetech adjustable shocks and springs up front. Ridetech components also take residence out back, which contribute to the F-body's all around 3-inch drop.
Wilwood 12-inch rotors and four-piston calipers were called to duty on all four corners while Schott’s Velocity wheels (19x10 rear, 18x7 front) play home to the Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber.
In order to compensate for the fat rollers out back, Chris went to Detroit Speed Inc. and installed their Deep Tub kit. A three-link torque arm set up with a Watt’s link provide extra road-hugging stability for those occasions when Chris decides to hit the nearby twisting roads of the Smoky Mountains for a day of spirited driving.
The clean interior hosts a few modest upgrades, including a pair of Scat’s black Procar seats, while the dash is loaded with Autometer Phantom II gauges. To accompany the Vintage Air climate-controlled driver’s quarters, a Kenwood head unit and amp provide plenty of juice for the double dose of 6x9’s and the Rockford 10-inch sub that rests in the trunk.
“All the guys at the shop have put a lot of effort and time on this car, so I have to give props to Cornbread, Victor, David, Josh, Rock, and Jimmy. Without them,” Chris eagerly mentions. “This car would still be the basket case it was when I first bought it.”
It won’t be long before this shop star second-gen will be a major player in the Pro Touring scene, but for now, Chris and the guys at Precision Rod & Customs will keep on running parts and picking up lunch in style. And with a little luck, they’ll build some great memories along the way, too.