Chris Short has a pretty good eye when it comes to muscle cars. With that pair of near-perfect peepers comes the gift of a being able to look at a wide variety of automotive brands and see certain attributes that he favors. Whether it's GM or Chrysler, the guy just has a knack of spotting and acquiring some of the nicest muscle cars on the planet.
Chris grew up in bustling Brooklyn, New York. Though he now resides in Colts Neck, New Jersey, you can say he's still a New Yorker through and through. Back when he was growing up in Kings County, his parents, proud and consistent Chevrolet owners, purchased many of their daily driver Impalas and Malibus from nearby Benson Chevrolet. It was a well-known dealer, located on the corner of 86th Street and 16th Avenue, smack dab in the heart of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
Though it was a volume dealer and catered to the everyday driver, Benson Chevrolet was also known for decked-out, built-to-the-hilt, street-brawlin' Bowties as well. Big-horsepower Chevelles, Novas, and Camaros were all sold through Benson's doors. This particular Brooklyn dealership is where this 1967 Camaro's story gets its start.
In 1967, Louis Perricone decided to check out the new ponycar offering from Chevrolet once he heard you could get it stuffed with the stout 396/375hp Turbo-Jet V-8. At the salesman's desk, he checked off all the right boxes to build a true street performer. He chose that particular L78 package, the M21 four-speed manual trans, and finished it off with the QB 4.56 Positraction rear differential. The SS/RS optioned Camaro was everything a performance oriented motorhead would love . . . and then some.
Fast-forward some 45 years. Chris had been looking for a Camaro to add to his collection. Not some middle-of-the-road pony ride, but a true factory gunslinger. On an internet auction site he spied a car that would pique his interest in a big way. It was Louis's Camaro, which had found a resting place not far from where it was sold new. Amazingly, over more than four decades, the car had racked up just a bit over 2,800 miles, mostly by doing quarter-mile runs at Atco, Raceway Park, New York National Speedway, and famed Fountain Avenue. Chris just had to see this ride in person.
There was a small downside. The car had lived outside for many years, which meant it was exposed to humid East Coast summers and harsh, salted winters. But since it had seen such little road time, it was possibly spared some of these environmental hardships. Chris contacted the seller, who told him he was flooded with calls and that there was a list of curious courters ready to make a deal on the car. But that didn't stop Chris; he wanted just one shot at getting this Camaro into his stable.
Chris got the seller to schedule an appointment. He wanted to bring an expert along to check out the car with him. He called his good friend and muscle car guru Brian Henderson, cofounder of the Super Car Workshop in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. As luck would have it, Brian was nearby that day, scouting a car for a client in Greenwich, Connecticut. The next day Brian made his way to Brooklyn to meet Chris for their first glimpse of this rare ride.
Chris made a deal that day in the seller's kitchen, and soon had a Benson-bred Camaro to call his own. The car was in reasonably good shape considering the time it spent outside, but Chris wanted to bring it back to its original glory. He did, however, want to save all the day-two garnishing. He handed the car over to Brian and his crew for reconditioning. This was not the first time the two had worked together on a project; SCW handled the restoration of Chris's 1969 Jack Douglass Yenko Camaro and a few other Bowties as well. Chris knew he had the right guy for the job.
The little bodywork needed and a fresh paint job were performed by Super Car Restoration in Clymer, Pennsylvania. Owners Jamie Cooper and Joe Griffith, along with the help of SCW, tore the car down and did the cosmetic restoration, keeping much of the car's low-mileage finish intact. The only sheetmetal that was replaced was the trunk lid. A spoiler had been added back in the day, which didn't agree with Chris, so it was removed. A correct date-coded lid was sourced for the project instead.
The crew replicated all the original paint patterns, straight down to the overspray. Among the interesting things found during the restoration were remnants of the tape left in the trunk jamb, which was never removed from the factory blackout process on the SS "big-block-only" rear panel. The tape was retained, as was the original trunk rubber seal. The factory-applied trunk spatter was in nearly perfect condition, only requiring a slight touchup.
Once finished, the Camaro was shown at last year's Carlisle GM Nationals in the Solid Lifter Showroom ("Sunshine Really Helps," Oct. 2016). The SLS, as it has come to be known, is a creation of Henderson and the SCW and is now a staple at Carlisle's June Chevy event.
For now, Chris is enjoying this stunning Camaro, a car that is a snapshot in time of an era when cars were built to rule the streets and made to look killer doing it. This car is one New York bred bad-boy Chevy!
Editor's note: Watch for a story on the Solid Lifter Showroom at the 2017 Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals soon. Next year's SLS will be the 10th, and we are sure Brian Henderson will put some amazing cars on display there. Keep up with all the goings-on at the Super Car Workshop via its Facebook page: facebook.com/Super Car Workshop.
At a Glance
1967 Camaro RS/SS
Owned by: Chris Short, Colt's Neck, NJ
Restored by: Super Car Workshop, Latrobe, PA
Engine: 396ci/375hp L78 V-8
Transmission: Muncie M21 4-speed manual
Interior: Black vinyl bucket seat
Rearend: 12-bolt with 4.56 gears and Positraction
Wheels: 15x5 front, 15x7 rear Cragar S/S
Special parts: M/T valve covers, headers, Stinger hood, hoodpins, Sun tach