Next on Mike's list of chores was the bodywork. The car was in need of some new metal, so Mike cut out the original quarter panels to make way for new ones, and also replaced the front fenders, hood, and deck lid. From there, it was a few cycles of block-sanding and priming to get the panels straight before he could apply the PPG Hugger Orange base coat. He then masked out the traditional stripes, and laid down a few coats of white paint for a classic color combination that would later be coated with clear. More block sanding took place with ultra-fine sandpaper to remove any flaws in the fresh finish, and Mike followed that with a buffer to bring back the shine. Final assembly included lots of standard emblems and new restoration parts, with the only major alteration being the billet RS grille.
Inside, the Camaro has a Pearl interior, thanks to a new kit from PUI, which was installed by Lee Burdge. Mike painted the dash to match the exterior before installing the black dash pad, and installing the Dakota Digital gauges. He also ditched the original steering column for a polished aluminum tilt unit and a Corvette wheel. Ashley can plug an MP3 player into the Custom Auto Sound head unit, which looks like a stock Camaro radio, and she can stay comfortable by adjusting the Vintage Air heat and A/C. The car looks surprisingly simple inside to have all of these creature comforts, but it didn't happen by accident. Mike wanted to keep the original looks of the interior, yet update it with details that make it more comfortable to drive.
Between building a car to race in a local heads-up drag racing series and helping fellow racers get their setups dialed in, Mike managed to finish this car in a little over a year. It's a great first car for his daughter, and it would be a great first car for anyone looking to get into the classic car hobby. It's not cluttered with high-dollar parts and it isn't finished in such a manner that it can't be driven on a regular basis. And while a big-block may not be the right choice for every 16-year-old girl out there, Ashley is mindful of its power and enjoys sliding behind the wheel every chance she gets.