The year was 1983 and Brian Garing was in the market for a new car. He just read an article on the new 5-liter, high-output L69 Z28. With information in hand, he headed to his local Chevy dealer. The problem was that they’d never heard of the option. “I contacted [GM’s F-bodfather] Scott Settlemire (relative of my best friend) and explained my dilemma. He told me the car had to be ordered long form and not by the computer. He then gave me all the option codes I needed to order this car. Nolte Chevrolet in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, was the only local dealership that would place the order that way,” said Brian.
He enjoyed the ’83 for many years and then in 2007 Brian decided to take the Z28 in a road racing direction. He did the lion’s share of the work, and in 2009 the Camaro hit the road again. After sorting out some mechanical issues, he hit the track in mid-2010. It was all going good until 2011 when the engine puked out parts and the Richmond trans had a fit. Eventually, all the issues were worked out and he was able to compete in the 2012 Motor State Challenge. Currently, the Z28 fields a Holley-fed 515hp, 383 stroker backed by a five-speed G-Force road racing manual transmission. A Moser 12-bolt plants the power, while parts from Ground Control, Koni, Hotchkis, and Spohn help the Camaro stick in the corners. Baer binders ride inside 17-inch IROC-styled rims wrapped in BFG rubber.
What makes a car special to the owner? Is it a project that goes off without a hitch or is it having to fight your way through problem after problem because you simply love to hear a lumpy idle and squealing tires? In the case of 19-year-old Justin Mason it’s definitely the latter. “I bought the ’00 when I was 16 for $6,900. It was bone stock, and a month later I wrecked it pulling into traffic. It sat for three months before I had enough money to start fixing it.” The repair involved rattle cans of paint, but hey, when you’re on a budget you do what you have to.
Justin’s luck kept runnin’ hard. “In early 2011, I ended up wrecking again when my bald tires broke loose in a rainstorm. The rearend was snapped in two, so I picked up another one with 4.10 gears. It ran 12.8 e.t.’s with open long-tubes, which is how I drove it on the street since we don’t have emission laws in Oklahoma,” recalled Justin. A year later he added an exhaust system and a 175-shot of nitrous. Two months later, the engine was toast and Justin decided to rebuild it. He had never torn an engine apart before, but with the help of the Internet he got it done and tossed in a bigger camshaft and converter. He even bought a Dremel and ported and polished the heads. His newborn daughter Alexa rode home from the hospital in the Camaro. A few days later, Second gear bit the dust. He pushed on, fixed the gearbox, and with the support of his fiancé, Rhagen, has been working on the ride ever since.
He drives the Camaro everywhere, even places where he shouldn’t. As he recalled, “I’ve taken it mudding a few times, but after getting stuck repeatedly, I’ve learned my lesson!”
Hey, we don’t care where you drive your Camaro, so long as you drive it hard.
Edgar Ramon of Chicago loves his second-gen Camaro. And what’s not to love? Under the hood is a 625hp forged LS2 topped with a Magnuson TVS 2300 supercharger. Behind it sits a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed transmission with a twin-disc clutch. Power feeds back to a Moser 12-bolt with Detroit locker limited-slip and 3.55 gears. The suspension is Global West with QA1 coilover shocks, while the steering was improved with a quick-ratio gearbox and Flaming River tilt steering column. Bonspeed 18-inch wheels wrapped up in Bridgestone run-flat rubber negates the need for a spare tire while LED lighting and a Detroit Speed headlight system keeps him safe in the dark. It all gels to make a sweet cruiser that can haul the mail when called upon.
Mark Silvia of Taunton, Massachusetts, picked up this ’69 Camaro back in 2001 and has been steadily working it over. As Mark explained, “The motor was built by myself in a metal storage garage with no lights or heat! It’s a 408 solid-lifter stroker that puts out 450 hp. The trans is a TH350 with a 2,500-stall converter, and the rearend is a 10-bolt with an Eaton posi and 4.11 gears.” The tough working conditions continued when he installed the Summit Racing exhaust kit laying on his back with the car up on jack stands. About a year ago the ride got a fresh coat of paint, and now his wife refers to the Camaro as “his mistress.” Then again, don’t they all?
Yeah, the steering wheel is on the wrong side, but that’s about the only “flaw” we could find with Brendan’s (no last name was included) jet-black third-gen. “I’m from Australia and was just reading the ‘Straight Talk on Third-gens’ editorial in the May 2012 issue, so I thought I would shoot you over a few shots of my ride,” wrote Brendan. The F-bod runs a 440hp, 400ci small-block filled with parts from COMP, Weiand, Holley, and MSD. Sitting behind the mill is a 700-R4 trans with a shift kit and 3,000-stall converter. It’s good enough to run 12.3 e.t. in the quarter-mile.
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