A popular phrase bantered about is “it’s the thought that counts,” but when you think about it, that tidbit of wisdom falls a bit short. All the good thoughts in the world are fairly useless unless the thinker makes those ideas a reality. Where would we be if Edison just “thought” about his inventions instead of rolling up his sleeves and making a little history?
Having seen many loved ones stricken with breast cancer, Andrew Herold decided to do more than just opine the problem, he decided to try and make a difference. What evolved was a plan to build a sweet Camaro, auction it off at the Mecum Auction in Dallas on September 6-8, and donate a stack of cash to the Save The Ta-Tas Foundation (savethetatas.com).
The perfect donor for this noble cause turned out to be right under Andy’s nose: a family owned ’72 that had been passed along for over three decades. Back in 1977, Jerry Fernandez Sr., bought his son Jerry Jr. the ’72 along with a rather beat-down ’68. Now, the second-gen had a rather sad, and completely cracked, red and black lacquer paintjob, so Jerry’s dad was able to score a sweet deal on the pair of F-bodies. “Back in those days, you could pick up a Camaro for around $500,” recalled Jerry Sr. The ’72 had a three-speed paired up with an anemic 307 V-8. Eventually, the ’68 was traded off for a new Midnight Black paintjob, which in hindsight might not have been the best decision.
Eventually, Jerry Jr. got married while in college and, in the quest to find extra income, the ’72 was almost sold off. With an expectant wife who was trying to finish nursing school, Jerry came up with an idea to keep the Camaro and bring in some extra cash by delivering newspapers. To make the gig easier to pull off, the manual trans was ditched in favor of an automatic. As his family grew, the Camaro became less practical and was eventually left to languish in the garage. But once his son Bobby hit high school, the Camaro was back in action. As Jerry’s cousin Andrew Herold told us, “Bobby drove the car for a few years and really liked that it was passed down from his dad. He didn’t know much about mechanics, so he often relied on me to keep it running as good as it looked.” As you can imagine, the Camaro was driven hard by the high school teen and, after blowing up his fourth engine, the Camaro was once again retired to the garage where it sat until Andrew came up with the idea of this build.
Keep in mind Andrew isn’t some rich cat looking for a tax write-off. He’s just a working-Joe family man like the rest of us. Given this economic reality, he knew that the only way this car could get built would be by getting companies to donate to the cause. His first call was to his friend Eric Rammalaere at Victory Racing Engines (VRE) in Detroit. When Eric heard the plan was to raise funds to help fight breast cancer, he jumped on board and offered up his shop for the build. With the ball now rolling, a call was placed to RJ of Eye Kandy Designs, who sketched up a rendering of what the final Camaro, now dubbed the Passionately Pink Camaro (PPC), would look like. Armed with a plan, Andy started reaching out to various parts vendors for support. It wasn’t long before over 70 companies were on board for the project.
Reliable Transportation helped move the car to VRE and the crew started tearing down the old Camaro. What they soon found was that the body panels were in worse shape than first thought. After some calls, new sheetmetal started rolling in from National Parts Depot, Classic Industries, and YearOne. Cuzie Customs (located next door to VRE) worked their metal magic and prepped the ’72 for more than a few layers of BASF Glasurit Cyber Gray Metallic paint and clear. Once painted, the crew at VRE had a mere 28 days to turn the pile of parts back into a running Camaro. To give the PPC a unique look, a one-off Z-Force hood was donated by Motorsports Performance Design along with some custom billet lights and grille courtesy of Monzter Motorsports.
Powering the PPC is a stroked GM LQ9 LS engine displacing 408 cubes. VRE filled the engine with top-shelf go-fast parts from SCAT, Howards, JE, and ARP. The compression was dropped to 9.5:1 and a polished Magnuson MP112 blower was bolted on top. Other parts like a Holley oil pan, Deatschwerks fuel pump, and Spectre air intake help the engine churn out 581 hp and 514 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. A Flex-a-lite aluminum radiator keeps it all running cool and spent gas exit the Camaro through a stainless Borla exhaust system. Power from the 408 shifts back through a GM 4L60E and Yank 3,000-stall converter set up by Finish Line Transmissions—all controlled by a Baumann Electronics Optishift unit. Rounding out the drivetrain is a Dynotech driveshaft and a 10-bolt modded by VRE with donated parts from Yukon Gear.
When it came time to put a suspension under the car, Andrew hit up Brian Vinson of Airlift Company for one of their Lifestyle II digital adjustable air suspension kits, which was supplemented with widgets from BMR Fabrication. The brakes came from Kore3, and the rolling stock consists of Fikse 19x8 and 19x10 wheels wrapped in Toyo rubber.
The interior of the PPC got some special treatment as well. For safety, there’s a Chassisworks rollcage and HR3 fire extinguisher, and a Momo steering wheel paired with an ididit column keeps the Camaro movin’ in the right direction. The Marquez Design interior panels and Corbeau seats were covered in leather and pink ultra-suede by Todd Abraham of Advanced Performance Interiors. Dakota Digital provided the gauges as well as the controller for the Vintage Air system. There’s also a badass Ron Williams JVC and Kicker stereo system for blasting out the tunes.
The whole build only took a scant four months to pull off, thanks in large part to the hard work of VRE and the other shops involved. “It takes a lot of heart to put life on hold for a build, but this one definitely deserved it,” stated Thomas Stachowicz of VRE. There were many weekends and late nights put in before the Camaro made its debut at the 2011 SEMA show in the Spectre Performance booth. But in the end, all the hard work was worth it. In addition to VRE, Andrew also gives his wife, Alexis, props for putting up with four chaotic months while the build consumed his life.
Another key player was Brian Young of the New Orleans Saints. “When we ran out of money to finish the project, Brian stepped up and made a generous donation to get us to the finish line,” recalled Andrew. But that’s typical when you take on a good cause in an industry filled with great people.
“It takes a lot of heart to put life on hold for a build, but this one definitely deserved it.”