We love our Camaros around here, but what really gets our blood pumping is hearing from those who drive the hell out of them. One such guy is Garry Schmidt. As he told Camaro Performers magazine, “I’ve had my 1987 IROC Camaro since new and drove it for many years as my primary vehicle, through summer and winter. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, so winters can be pretty harsh. Over the years the car eventually rusted out; there were holes through the doors and around all wheels, and much of the paint on the hood started to peel off the undercoating (apparently a common problem for GM around 1987). It was far from the car that I brought home from the lot with a huge grin on my face.” In 2002 Garry had the body completely restored and shot in bright GM Blue Metallic paint. He had also been tinkering with the original 305 TPI mill but eventually decided to go all-in and swap it for a 440hp LS6 built by Turn Key Engine Supply. And since he was in the mood, he reworked the entire suspension with parts from Spohn, Eibach, and Hotchkis along with a binder kit from Baer brakes.
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After returning from Afghanistan, Army paratrooper Paul Reily knew he wanted a Camaro. As he told us, “I wanted a Z28, but after three months of searching around Anchorage, Alaska, I couldn’t find one. Then I saw the one I have now. I was happy with the car and thought it was the fastest thing on the road. A local shop was willing to give it a ‘custom exhaust' that consisted of some 2-inch pipe hacked and welded to a set of super rice dual tips. It was terrible, but at the time I thought it was great, at least until I started to learn about cars.” In late 2005, Paul was stationed at Fort Campbell in preparation for deployment to Iraq. “It took me about five days to drive from Anchorage to my new station. It was an amazing trip. The kicker was how much the trip cost me. It was right when gas shot past three dollars a gallon and the Army was still paying us based on two or less.
Eventually, he hooked up with the Middle Tennessee F-body Association and learned a ton about modifying his fourth-gen. While in Iraq he ordered up a host of handling parts from UMI and BMR. With that done, he spent his off-time, while deployed to Afghanistan, ordering up engine parts like Trick Flow 215 ported heads, custom ground COMP bumpstick, and a FAST 90mm intake. As Paul stated, “It ended up making 454 hp at 6500 rpm. I had the car repainted and bought some Rushforth Livewire wheels to dress it up a bit.
I am currently on my fourth trip overseas, and I’ve been working to get a roll cage and a Fab-9 rear. I’m also looking at either a turbo setup or going with a whole new motor. I had dreamed about a Camaro since I was in high school. I always wanted a first-gen and a corvette, too. It’s on the list, but one car at a time.”
Rhonda Sharpe comes from a family of Camaro lovers. Her husband has a ’68, she rolls in a ’10, and her pops drives a ’67. As she told us, “My dad, Ron Parsley, had always wanted a classic car. Ten years ago we bought this Camaro in Georgia with the intention of hauling it home on a trailer. When we found the rental place closed, we decided to start driving it home to see how far it would get. To our surprise, it made it all the way home to West Virginia.” In 2005, the family started the rebuild. At first it was just going to be a small deal, but you know how that always ends up. First up was a mini-tub kit from Detroit Speed Inc., which led to cleaning and painting the subframe. Next thing you know Rhonda’s husband and dad were building a rotisserie. Then came the firewall. It turned out that Ron had always liked the smooth look, so more fabbing was done, and while there, he decided to hide the wiper motor behind the fender. Then Ron figured that since the drivetrain was out, it was the perfect time to update it with a Turn Key LS6 and Tremec 5-speed trans. To the uninitiated, that would sound like the end, but gearheads are rarely happy with the status quo. So after some road time, Ron decided he needed more power. Before long, a polished Magnacharger was dropped on top of the LS6. After sitting in Rhonda’s ’10, Ron decided that he wanted those seats as well. Being a good daughter, Rhonda tracked down a set. With some work, they were eventually grafted to the ’67s interior. Rhonda recalled, “He loves to drive it!! We’ve been on the Hot Rod Power Tour, Holley LSFest, Goodguys shows, and many local events. I take a lot of pride and joy in helping him with this car.”