It's late at night, and the winding canyon roads unfold mile after mile in front of your headlights. The last few hours of the trip have passed by effortlessly and with one hour left you are almost home. That's when it happens: Some yahoo in a two-seater Euro car attaches himself to your bumper for a minute, then zips past you. No doubt he thinks he's king of the road in newly purchased vehicle, and by his actions has just called you a grandpa for driving a '67 Camaro. That's it-game on! The hammer drops as you downshift the Tremec TKO-600 from fifth to fourth and sling past this fool, on the outside of the curve no less. Then the fun starts. You let him catch up and then outmaneuver him, staying at least five car lengths ahead of him. He tries, but just has no skills when it comes to driving his overpriced, over-rated car. He just got spanked at his own game by a '67 Camaro!
Back in 1967, this car would not have been able to perform such feats. That was then, this is now. Rich Barbara, owner of this '67 Camaro, definitely lives life in the now-and now is the time to turn this former straight-line Camaro into a gravity defying ground gripper (or a Pro Touring machine, if you prefer the term).
The owner took a true hot rodder approach when building his F-body; it was all done in the family two-car garage. The first step in its transformation was to ditch the 40-year-old OE suspension and exchange it for modern pieces. A one-stop call to Detroit Speed & Engineering solved all his front-end issues. That includes new tubular upper and lower arms, and spindles that relocate the caster and camber for improved cornering, Koni shocks, Afco 650-pound springs, and Hotchkis sway bars. It's now a true coilover conversion with a 600 series steering box and Baer 13-inch rotors on all four corners.
Out in back a shortened Moser 12-bolt with 3.73 gears and an Eaton Posi handle the rest. The rearend has been mini-tubbed with an upper shock crossmember, offset shackles, and 3-inch drop leaf springs. Rounding out the package (literally) are Budnick Fontana wheels, 17x8 in the front and 17x11 in the rear, wrapped with BF Goodrich G-Force TA rubber.
All the metal work was done at home with his son, John. Rich gave Rick's First Gen a call and was able to locate nearly all NOS sheetmetal to replace the rusted quarters, door, and even floors. After the winter snow had melted and all the metal work was done, the car was brought to Yonkers, New York, where bodyman Adolfo Carril block-sanded and massaged each panel into a perfectly flat surface. The Camaro was completely hosed down in Emerald Turquoise, which was a color found on a '92 Chevy truck.
Once the vehicle was back home, it was onto the heart and soul. A Bill Mitchell 427 Motown crate engine was ready for action ... almost. But first the intake was sent to Wilson Manifolds for injector bungs, porting and fuel rails. A FAST 1300-cfm throttle body, an XFI management system, and an Aeromotive pump keep the fuel flowing during aggressive cornering.
The interior is a no-nonsense, all-business affair. Corbeau TRS seats covered in black bovine hides with Crow lap harnesses keep the screaming occupants in place. The driver can keep his left eye on the Covans dash fit with Auto Meter gauges, while the right eye watches for that Members-Only- jacket-wearing-Euro-swine wanting a rematch. We know of no real definition that pegs a car a Pro Touring car, but we do know this '67 Camaro can grip the ground with the best of them.