It's September 21, 1966, and the first in the new bloodline of Camaros show up in Chevrolet dealerships across North America. A total production number of 220,906 Camaros roll off the line from Norwood, Ohio, and Van Nuys, California, but this story is not about production numbers or manufacturing dates. It's about one particular Sierra Fawn RS Camaro that was sold from a Chevy dealership in San Bernardino, California, in 1967.
John Munoz, the vehicle's current owner, tells us he was there at the dealership when his father purchased the new family car and even remembers the ride home. Yeah, his dad bought a Camaro for the family car rather than a wagon or full sized 4-door sedan. No doubt that a 15-year-old boy being dropped off at school in the latest Chevrolet sports coupe had bragging rights over his peers. And when it came time for John to earn his drivers license, it was all done behind the wheel of that golden RS Camaro.
Unlike Ponyboy in the novel/movie "The Outsiders," by S.E. Hinton, the Camaro couldn't "stay gold" forever. Going through two sets of teenage male drivers the Camaro had its share of dents, dings and collisions.
After the passing of John's father, the once-shiny Camaro sat under a tarp in his mother's garage for a decade or more. Several attempts over the years were made by John and his brother to bring the family car back to its glory days. The mundane tasks of everyday life seemed to step in the way. John and his brother were now adults and had families of their own. We all know how that goes; time always seems to be in short supply. A decision had to be made. If this Camaro was to be resurrected, it was going to need some experienced professional help. Word of mouth about an automotive shop in San Bernardino that specialized in the restoration of classic cars reached John's ears. Finally in 2004 it was time to get serious about this Camaro and "git' er done".
WAU Motorsports which stands for Wanda's Upholstery took delivery of the Camaro and began its restoration. In fact it was Wanda Wells, proprietor of Wanda's Upholstery, who gave us the heads up on this Camaro. When we arrived at Wanda's shop, the eye candy Camaro he spoke of over the phone did not disappoint us. Wanda and John gave us the run down on the restoration process that took place on the golden RS. The front quarter panels, hood, deck lid and grill were all replaced. It just so happens that Wanda races his own quarter-mile '67 Camaro and had long ago removed the steel hood and deck lid from his race car. It was Wanda's old steel hood and deck lid that found their way onto John's restored '67 RS.
The rest of the steel on the Camaro came from Classic Industries. The tweaked front clip, which had been damaged years ago, was removed and replaced with a clip from a Nova, which is identical to that of the Camaro. The suspension components on the front clip were either replaced or rebuilt depending on their condition. The original 14-inch spindles were replaced with a set of OEM 15-inch spindles that could accommodate a set of OEM disc brakes. When switching from drum to disc brakes, the wheel size has to be changed. Other than the 16x7 front and 16x8 Torque Thrust II wheels, the rest of the vehicle is true to its factory options. All the chrome and stainless trim was in superb shape and reused with out having to be reconditioned. The vinyl top was replaced as well as the interior and put back to its factory looks. When it came time for the paint, the 1967 GM Sierra Fawn was altered slightly by adding a bit more pearl into the paint.
Roger Smalls of WAU Motorsports rebuilt the original 327 back to its stock specifications, along with the original transmission. The stock air conditioner is also back in operation and was rebuilt by Arrow Auto Service, minus the Freon of course.
After the restoration was complete, John unveiled the Camaro for his mother at WAU Motorsports and she could not believe what she was seeing. There was her old family car not looking so old anymore. Today, you will find John with his wife and kids cruising around town in the Camaro like it did so many years ago.