What if you could go back in time to a place where you could still buy 102-octane gas right from the pump for 32 cents a gallon, and getting a big-block in a new Camaro was simply a matter of putting a check mark in the correct option box on the order sheet? Well, burst that bubble, because time travel hasn't been invented yet and gas will never again be less than two bucks a gallon. While you can still get a big-inch engine from your local Chevy dealer, there's no telling when a "new" Camaro will come rolling out of Motor City-if ever-and the likelihood of there being any such option for a Rat motor is slim to none.
But there is a company that for more than 20 years has gone about making sure that those of us who insist on keeping alive the vintage iron that so much represents a simpler time can do so with quality sheetmetal replacement parts. Dynacorn International opened its doors in 1984 as a wholesale-only manufacturer of steel body components for a plethora of classic American cars. Today, it has more part numbers in its catalog than ever before, and its intention is to be able to provide, through dealers, virtually any part that you may need to correctly restore your classic American musclecar.
But, as a wholesale company, Dynacorn wasn't exactly a household name. That was until a little more than a year ago when Dynacorn Classic Bodies was formed, and shocked the aftermarket industry with the release of a brand-new, one-piece '69 Camaro convertible replacement shell. Let's just say that was the day many in the car hobby realized that the dream of owning a cool Camaro could some day come true. And, those who feared that the rising costs of clean original examples would prohibit all but the wealthy from owning one took a tremendous sigh of relief.
Not only has the introduction of the Dynacorn Camaro shell breathed new hope into enthusiasts, it has revitalized the whole industry. From chassis manufacturers to drivetrain specialists, and every other facet of car restoration, companies are turning their focus to what replacement bodies can and will mean to their businesses.
Recently, we met up with Dynacorn's Jim Christina at their Oxnard, California, facility where the industry veteran proudly showed us what was on hand, and gave a sneak peek at what was to come (see below!)
Jim was also kind enough to answer a couple of questions concerning the '69 Camaro shell while we were given a shop tour.
SC: What bodies are currently available from Dynacorn Classic Bodies?
Jim: Currently available are the CA69CV '69 Camaro Convertible Replacement Body Shell, and soon, the CA69CP '69 Camaro Coupe Replacement Body Shell. Other shells either being planned or in development are the '70-'72 Chevelle coupe and convertible, the '66-'67 Nova, '53-'54 Chevy pickup five-window cab, and the list is growing.
SC: Where are the bodies created and can anyone do them at home?
Jim: The bodies consist of a series of sub-assemblies that are stamped and welded together in our overseas manufacturing facility. Those sub-assemblies are shipped to one of our two production companies-Jim Barber's C.A.R.S. in North Carolina, and Sal Perez's American Muscle Cars here in Southern California to be assembled on state-of-the-art jigs, and readied for sale. These two companies are currently the only ones authorized to assemble the subassemblies. There are a lot of proprietary parts on these bodies, which we will not sell separately through Dynacorn International in order to prevent unauthorized assembly of the shells, and thus help us control the quality and workmanship, which is important to the success of this project.
SC: How does the material used differ from that of the original cars? And how do the cars get delivered to the end user?
Jim: Bodies are made with increased thickness in sheetmetal and are galvanized, welded, and primered before shipment. After purchasing a body from an authorized dealer, the customer has the choice of having the body on a skid shipped freight collect or it can be picked up on a will-call.
SC: What would you tell those interested in purchasing a replacement shell to consider before making a decision?
Jim: These bodies are great and will save a lot of time and money, but they are not perfect. They will require some working to make them show quality. People need to understand that even GM sheetmetal wasn't perfect and required adjustments and working.
SC: With all of the excitement swirling around the trade shows and industry about companies supporting the construction of collector's editions, high-end replicas, and custom machines, are there any options you can get from the production companies?
Jim: Mini-tub conversions are available through the assembly companies but are not offered by Dynacorn Classic Bodies. Any modifications need to be discussed with the assemblers.
SC: Ok, give us the scoop. What's next on the horizon for us to be expecting from Dynacorn?
Jim: Just wait and see, it only gets better.