It won't strike readers as strange that we see a lot of cars throughout a typical year at Super Chevy. Now don't worry, we're not looking for sympathy here, as many of you out there would love to have our jobs. But after looking at so many cars, sometimes they start to blur together, and it takes something unusual or a particular wavelength tuned to our warped minds that gets us to notice something.
While walking the aisles at the 2010 Vegas Super Chevy Show, spying a flock of early second-generation Camaros parked together, each built in a different style, just sort of spoke to us. Basically the same car, done three different ways, in three of the most popular colors for a Camaro to be sprayed. Following our gut instincts, the cameras came out and our pens started scribbling. Here's what we found...
Fix It or sell it!
John Tsutsui - '70 RS/SS 396 Camaro
Sometimes when a project stalls, it takes a massive thunderclap to break it out of the quagmire of inactivity. Mechanic John Tsutsui found this Camaro in California, and brought it home for $3,600, despite not being totally in love with the car's looks. This was in 1989.
After a few years of tinkering on the F-body, John and his family moved to Utah, where the vehicle would sit untouched for about six years. Around the new millennium, John's wife delivered the ultimatum, "either fix it or sell it." Not wanting to part with the car, work started to get the '70 back into fighting trim.
Before taking residence in John's garage, the Camaro had seen a lengthy second life of drag racing. This meant non-racing items like the heater box, center console, and even the emergency brake parts were long gone. The engine and trans were out of the car when he bought it, but both had seen fresh rebuilds. Scouring the Southern California junkyards and Pomona swap meet, all the parts necessary for getting the car back on the street were found.
The original 350hp 396 car (only 1,864 built in the strike shortened 1970 model year) was resprayed in its factory Daytona Yellow hue, and rolls on original second-gen Rally wheels. In 2001 the Camaro emerged from its rebuild for the start of its third life, and lots of driving enjoyment.
It's a Rescue
Roger Bozarth - '71 Camaro
Are project cars like homeless animals? After seeing rough lives, we take them in, feed them parts, and give them cozy places to sleep in our garages, carports, and backyards. We make sure they get the attention they deserve, and enjoy their companionship. We just don't have to worry about them tearing up the couch or getting into the garbage.
Roger Bozarth rescued his F-body from project car hell after seeing an ad in a Lake Havasu City newspaper. The owner had started to build it, lost interest, and wanted it out of his garage. The asking price was $4,000, but Roger worked some haggling magic and got the '71 for $1,200.
The poor thing was in very rough condition and needed a lot of work. Undeterred, Roger and his son loaded the Camaro on a trailer and hauled it back home to Las Vegas where the two novices tore the car apart with no prior experience. Learning along the way, father and son put the '71 back together and took it to a painter who mucked up the car's finish. This sent Roger to Mike Martin at Super Stripes in Las Vegas to get the car resprayed properly in PPG Blue.
Under the hood, the car's original 350 sits between the subframe rails with an 0.030-inch overbore, 9:1 compression, Vortec cylinder heads, and Edelbrock 750-cfm carb. It breathes through Flowmaster mufflers and transfers power through a 2,500-stall torque converter and TH350 to the rear.
Weston Bayles - '70 Z28
Instead of a guitar, drum set, or similar youthful endeavor with a short lifespan, Weston Bayles' son wanted a project car to work on in his high school auto shop class. After looking around, the Bayles found a '70 RS Z28 needing a lot of work that would be perfect.
Weston ended up at his son's school to lend a hand quite a bit, tearing apart of the front and rear of the car. They installed new fenders fore and aft, and a new trunk inner pan. According to Weston, about the only things not replaced were the roof and doors.
His son grew tired of the project, though, and after school ended and the car was hauled back to the Bayles' home, Weston bought the car form his offspring and went to work finishing the rebuild in their garage. Wanting a serious look, a '72 hood was bought so it could be cut for the fitment of a Weiand 6-71 Roots-style blower with dual Holley carbs mounted on top. The ground floor of the engine is a 383 small-block running vintage GM iron heads, 10:1 compression, with a Pertronix Flamethrower ignition lighting everything off.
Proud of the car he (and his son) built, Weston kept all the car's original parts, just in case he wants to restore the car back to original someday. For now though he enjoys the whine of the supercharger and the sight of those dual carbs sticking through the hood.