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1967 Chevy Camaro - Starting From Scratch

After Showing His Camaro And Winning Nothing, Ed Thomas Decided It Was Time To Go Back To The Drawing Board On His '67 F-Body.

Patrick Hill Dec 1, 2009
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Sometimes to get what you want, it's necessary to start all over again. Ed Thomas bought his '67 Camaro in 2005 in Pro Street trim. After several unsuccessful attempts to win anything at various shows, Ed took some time to evaluate the F-body, and decided that if he ever wanted to go home with the gold, the car would need to be totally rebuilt. After a phone call to Wayne Patton at Hot Rods Plus in Rhodesdale, Maryland, Ed sat down with Wayne to map out a plan to rebuild the Camaro into a top-notch show contender.

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A week later at the Goodguys show in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ed and Wayne were talking with a Total Cost Involved rep and learned its new tube-frame kit for the '67 Camaro had just come out. Soon after a deluxe kit including show quality brakes and suspension was ordered from TCI, and the crew at Hot Rods Plus began tearing Ed's ride apart to start the rebuild.

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During the teardown, rust was found in the doors and quarter panels, and with the ultimate goal of competing for a prestigious Riddler Award in mind, it was decided to weld in all new sheetmetal. Just about everything except the roof was replaced with fresh metal.

As the build progressed, everything was pretty much going according to plan to build a unique hot rod. On the outside, the various lines and curves of the Camaro were gently massaged and modified to smooth out the car's profile, and subtle custom accents such as the vent windows being removed, hidden signal lights installed, and tucking the bumpers close to the body were performed. Once everything with the body was set, the exterior was sprayed in PPG Wineberry Red.

On the inside, the interior was discarded in favor of a fully customized and hand-fabricated dash, customized center console, and rear seat. Once the fabrication was finished, everything inside was either sprayed in Wineberry Red to match the exterior or wrapped in white ultra leather for a smooth, but plush feel. Classic Instruments gauges were installed to keep tabs on all operations, including a one-off custom clock so keeping track of seat time in the Camaro wouldn't be a problem.

To give the Camaro horsepower equivalent to its looks, a GM Performance Parts 572 big-block sporting 720 hp with a Holley 1120 Dominator was chosen and matched up with a new Tremec T-5 five-speed manual gearbox. An MSD 7AL ignition lights off the air/fuel mixture, while Sanderson headers and Spintec exhaust take care of the spent hydrocarbons. Putting all the bullish power from the 572 to the pavement is a narrowed 9-inch rear end from Strange built to handle the 572's mountain-moving torque. And if 720 hp isn't enough, there's the backup 300 shot of nitrous installed for some extra power in case Ed needs to break the lightspeed barrier. A BeCool radiator and oil cooler keep the 572 from spilling its guts. Billet Specialties wheels with Dunlop rubber hold the Camaro down at all four corners.

Even though the car was invited for competition in the 2007 Detroit Riddler competition, it couldn't attend due to some last minute unforeseen problems. But once everything was finished, Ed was blown away by what a smooth riding, sharp handling dream his Camaro had become. Anywhere he goes, the '67 draws a frenzy of attention from people pouring over it and looking for every subtle detail of its transformation. And in the end, this '67 Camaro shows why sometimes starting from scratch is the best thing to do.



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