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1969 Chevrolet Camaro - Hugger Hellion

Deran Bosshardt and his father have a classic Camaro with modern finesse

Patrick Hill Jul 15, 2011
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Sometimes we wonder if the Super Chevy faithful ever get tired of '69 Camaros. Seems like every show we go to, that particular year of Camaro is by far the most popular out of all the Bow Ties we see. Like the '57 Bel Air/Two-Ten/One-Fifty, Chevrolet pulled off automotive perfection when it came to the last of the first-generation F-bodies. Today's modern builders seem to love the '69 and the almost limitless possibilities they have for customization.

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Being first-gen Camaro addicts, Deran Bosshardt and his father, Ron, were looking for a stablemate to keep their '67 SS company in the garage and at shows. Since (shockingly!) the '69 was their favorite, the search started to find one worthy of building into a winner. After perusing the internet, a suitable car was found in New York. Money exchanged hands, and the Camaro was trailered back to Bosshardt's home in Utah.

It seems like these stories all go the same way from this point. After getting the car, Deran noticed that the pictures on the internet didn't accurately represent the car's actual condition. The Camaro had a 350 in it, with a recently overhauled 427 thrown in as part of the deal. Before dropping the classic Rat in between, a quick inspection found some metal shavings in the oil pan. The nightmare hit its zenith when during the rebuild it was discovered the 427 block had a crack in it, sentencing the Mark IV piece to the scrap pile.

At this point, father and son decided to step back and reevaluate where the project was going. After some quiet contemplation and exchanging ideas, the decision was made to start from scratch and build a full-out restomod "super Camaro." All the unnecessary stock parts were sold to a friend doing a restoration, and the slate was wiped clean.

Knowing such a build was above their skill level, the call was made to Ryan Lee at Darkside Rides in Richfield, Utah. Ryan's task was to get the '69's body back into as-new condition. After several trials and tribulations, the body was ready for dry building and prep.

To give the Camaro the handling prowess of a modern sports car, Lee and Darkside Rides modified a full-length Schwartz tube chassis to go underneath the Camaro, with a triangulated four-link rear suspension, Sweet power rack-and-pinion steering system with KRC pump, QA1 coilover shocks all the way around, custom NASCAR-style front and rear sway bars, Wilwood binders all the way around for stopping power, and a pair of drop spindles to give the front a 3.5-inch lowered height to go with the 3 inches of lowering in the rear. The whole package rolls on Billet Specialties S/C 77 wheels, 17x8 front and 17x11 rear, wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber.

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Inside, upholstery wizard Darrel Burton worked magic on the Camaro's cabin. Using leather and carbon-fiber material, along with some Marquez Design door panels, this is one F-body cockpit that won't jar your kidneys, and it's slicker than a modern Vette. To keep tabs on the engine, Stewart Warner Maximum Performance gauges give the driver all the info he needs.

Speaking of engine, builder Steve Flatt took the parts and pieces the Bosshardts gave him, added some more, and came up with an axle-twisting 496 big-block. The '74 vintage block was stuffed with a Callies crank, Olliver rods, J&E 10.25:1 pistons, and ARP fasteners to keep the monster together. On the top, Edelbrock Performer RPM heads deliver fuel and air to the cylinders with help from a Comp Cams roller, T&D shaft mount rockers, and a Barry Grant Triple D 3x2 intake and six-shooter carb setup. A BeCool aluminum radiator keeps the Rat from blowing its top on hot days.

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The whole package pumps out 626 hp at 6,200 rpm and 595 lb-ft at 3,400. A Richmond six-speed spins a PST aluminum driveshaft connected to a Winters 9-inch rear with 3.70 gears and a limited-slip locker.

After four years, the Camaro was finally done, and despite being nicknamed "The Money Pit" by Deran's wife, father and son have a great time showing the car. We caught up with them at the 2010 Las Vegas Super Chevy Show, and Deran gladly joked about how his marriage survived the building of the Camaro.



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