Every print-worthy project has a number of people behind its conception. This LS1-powered Camaro has that, as well as the aid of another crewmember, Esa Parkinson, the owner’s daughter.
Unfortunately this Camaro also has the stigma of being pulled over by the Colorado Highway Patrol during its preservation for posterity. We at Super Chevy photograph a lot of Bow Ties throughout the year, but once in a while things get a little … shall we say, “interesting” … during the shoot. But this was the first time in memory we ever got issued a summons, issued not to the car owner, but to our former publisher. And no, these things cannot be expensed!
But first things first. You want to know what makes this rig go, and if it goes like it looks. If you’re a young fan of old metal and you’re reading this, then you probably want the baseline. How does 582 rwhp and a 12.10/114 quarter-mile satiate your desires? You want more? How about the C-4 Corvette front suspension and Hotchkiss rear leaf springs with a 1.5-inch drop and CalTrac bars. Well, of course this Camaro has a beast belying its beauty. If it didn’t, this reporter wouldn’t have risked shooting it adjacent to a Super Chevy show on a double-lane frontage road, subsequently having an accompanying ticket issued. But that’s another story, Jack.
This story is about how Phil Parkinson found the shell of a ’67 Camaro and rebuilt it into the sleek, ticket-inspiring F-body that it is today. Yeah, the ticket. While Sir Campy lazed languidly in the sticky breeze of the posh West Coast of Florida, I put to rest the aforementioned publisher’s fears as we approached the frontage road of Bandimere.
“Don’t worry I know the cops around here,” I said as I leaned out a rental Camaro.
As it turns out, I do know the cops in Morrison, but the CHP is a different story. They saw us shooting and immediately took the time out of their day not chasing drug runners to interrupt the abhorrent crime of photographing a car from the wrong lane of an empty road. (The trooper threatened to write up Phil with an illegal tread charge at the same time.)
The Camaro body that the trooper was so jealous of has been cut back 3 inches to accommodate C4 A-arms, while the rear has been mini-tubbed 2.5 inches. The car had been sprayed PPG Silver by Dave Fowles at BZ Auto before owner Phil removed the fender slots for the front bumper, enough to make any CHP jealous.
The Vette theme circulates toward the rolling stock with Z06 18x9.5 rims fore and 19x12 aft. These thematic hoops are wrapped with Hoosier 275/35/ZR18s at the bow and 345.30/ZR10 at the stern. But this Camaro is no boat—the Hoosiers at the rear prove that it’s a land shark ready to devour show-worthy challengers.
“I’ve had about six or seven sets of wheels on the car,” says owner Phil Parkinson. “In fact, there’s a new set on now.”
While Phil appears to be the Imelda Marcos of rims, he is no softy when it comes to the nitty-gritty details of his Camaro. See, Phil is a machinist. He can make anything.
“There weren’t a lot of LS parts around when I started, so I made quite a few, making the car truly mine, not store-bought,” Phil explains.
The inspiration for the silver bullet came from a store-bought product, a Honda CBR. “I had a Chevelle, but that was kind of overweight and I had a crotch rocket,” says Phil. “My wife wouldn’t ride on the bike, so I decided to make a car that could do what the bike would do, but scare more than just myself.”
Phil consolidated some of his other projects and set his sights on building a four-seat superbike. He picked up the aforementioned shell for $1,500. Then, he found a wrecked ’98 Camaro with 14,000 miles for $4,500. The route to resto-mod was underway. To fit the LS1, he picked up a Wayne Due subframe with C4 front suspension and shocks.
With space cleared in the bay, Phil color-matched the subframe and dropped the motor in, but not before adding Trick Flow Specialties aluminum cylinder heads and a camshaft from the same company. Other motor mods include the Spintech exhaust and a Dynotune dry nitrous system; with the laughing gas flowing is how the Camaro achieves its previously mentioned rwhp figure of 582.
To the LS1 was attached a Tremec T56 tranny. Phil and his dad, also named Phil, wedged the glass in, then finished up the interior in original vinyl. They also installed custom padding in the seats. Like Sir-Mix-a-Lot, they wanted extra support for the booty.
All cars must come to a halt, so do the stories about them. This one uses GM 12.4 brakes front and 12-inch rear to stop. With the help of his friends and another key element, his offspring, Phil Parkinson has taken a rust shell of a Chevy and turned it into a silver bullet, one that his daughter loves as much as him. Looks like we have another devoted Bow Tie diehard. In fact, if Phil holds onto his project for life, she’ll probably inherit it.
Let’s just hope she has better luck with the CHP than we did during the photo shoot.