Given the structural importance of the floorpan in a Camaro unibody setup, choosing the proper replacement part is critical. Hopkins' new panel of choice is Goodmark Industries' one-piece replacement floorpan. This relatively new stamping includes both the center and rear seat braces, and comes electrodeposit-primer coated for rust protection. Welding in a single-piece pan also maintains a factory appearance, but remember, we're going for more than looks here. "The greatest benefit to installing a one-piece floor," Hopkins tells us, "is that it duplicates the factory build." This means it also duplicates the factory structure, thereby maintaining-or restoring-chassis strength and integrity.
As you might suspect, this is not a job for the inexperienced-or the ill-equipped. On the first count, Hopkins brings 35-plus-year experience to the table, and he and his crew do nothing but install new body panels. Hopkins actually designed and built the Camaro jigs used during panel replacement, allowing every car to be registered to factory specs each time. In fact, Hopkins has upgraded his jigs since our visit, developing a more precise version that also allows vertical measurements, useful for tasks such as firewall replacement.
If you think the whole deal sounds very involved and complicated, well, you're right. But given that the job involves actually taking structure out of a Camaro unibody and then replacing that structure without sacrificing chassis strength or alignment, this is one you don't want to get wrong. Follow along as we show you the highlights of this first-gen floorpan R&R.