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1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Hard Top Rebuild and More! - Tony's Garage

Tony Huntimer Mar 31, 2013

Hi Tony,
I have a dream of buying a salvaged ’69 Z/28 Camaro hard top, stripping it down to just the body, and installing everything new from the ground up. I have been buying issues of Camaro Performers here and there for about two years and am just dreaming of the car I want to build. I’m no expert mechanic – I’m more or less a parts changer. I’m about to start a nine-month school course, and once I finish, I’ll be making the money needed to pursue the expensive hobby I love.

Camp 1302 01 O Tonys Garage 572 Big 2/6

I remember reading one of the first issues of Camaro Performers that I purchased about a fifth-gen pushing 1000-plus hp. I would love to give a first-gen this level of power. I would want to install a big-block without using electronics and computers if I can help it. What parts would be the best of the best? Being street legal is not an issue.

I would also like to install ABS and some kind of rotor that lets the outside tires spin faster than the inside in a turn for traction. I also want to make it front-wheel drive – possibly four-wheel drive (I am from the country after all. Ha ha ha). Any advice you could give would be welcomed.
Mitchell Infuris
Via email

A. Mitchell,
Instead of missing important issues of Camaro Performers, go to and subscribe. Who knows what other ideas may spark up from reading every issue?

You definitely have a lot of ideas about what you want. I’m not sure about the front-wheel drive part or producing 1000 hp without using electronics for fuel injection. Both will make it very hard to reach your goal. If you want a 1000hp AWD ’69 Camaro with ABS, you may want to graft a Camaro body onto a GMC Cyclone chassis and install a twin-turbo 572 big-block under the hood.

You aren't the first person to dream big in this realm. Go search the forum for AWD topics. Also, check out the Project AWD Camaro website ( Check out the amount of fabrication it will take to build a custom frame to hold the front and rear differentials and drive system. Make sure you find an AWD system that will handle the power you plan on running. Check into AWD systems from the GMC Cyclone, Porsche GTS, Audi R8, Nissan GT-R, and Holden Monaro.

Purchasing a crate engine for this project is a great option. You can get high-horsepower LS engine options from Mast Motorsports ( and big-block Chevy options from builders like Bischoff Racing Engines (

For the ABS and speed control electronics, you’re asking a lot to adapt them to an older vehicle. Those items on top of AWD and high horsepower puts you into the realm of being more cost effective just to purchase and drive an AWD supercar or settle for a nice GMC Cyclone or Typhoon for a decent price.

Good luck and let us know if you decide to build a cool project like this.

Q. Tony
I have a ’94 Camaro Z28 with an LT1. I want to get 450 hp from the current engine. Do you think you can help?
Aaron J. Dietrich
Via Facebook

Camp 1302 02 O Tonys Garage Camaro 3/6

A. Aaron,
I’m not sure where you’re located or what the smog laws are in your area, but here goes. Assuming you are not worried about smog laws, there are a few options available to you to attain around 450 hp from your LT1.

There's always the option of bolting a supercharger kit from ProCharger ( A turbo kit from Hawks Third Gen ( or Forced Inductions ( will also get you in the neighborhood of 450 or more at the crankshaft.

When I worked at Goodies Speed Shop in San Jose, California, we built a naturally aspirated LT1 pushing close to 450 hp. The engine was bored and stroked to 383 cubic inches. The heads were CNC ported at AFR ( and we also ran their Hydra Rev Kit to keep the hydraulic roller lifter from experiencing valve float at high rpm. We also installed an LT4 intake manifold, bigger injectors, bigger camshaft, Competition Cams Pro Magnum 1.6 ratio roller rockers, and Arizona Speed & Marine long-tube headers. With the exception of the headers, the engine looked completely stock after installing the EGR and other smog equipment. The car was a real beast while remaining streetable.

I have an ’83 Camaro with a 2.8 V-6 equipped with the factory computer-controlled carburetor. I want to switch to an Edelbrock Performer four-barrel manifold (PN 3789) and a Holley 390-cfm carb (PN 0-8007). I also would like to remove all the pollution control devices. Will I have to do anything with the computer, or will it run OK?
Thanks Rob
Via email

Camp 1302 03 O Tonys Garage Edelbrock Performer 4/6

A. Rob,
Before removing your smog equipment, check with your local emission laws to make sure you don’t need them to pass inspection.

For the best performance out of the Edelbrock intake manifold, it’s a good move to install their matched Performer-Plus camshaft and lifter kit (PN 3790). Otherwise you’ll be adding more air and fuel without having the proper cam to move it in and out of the cylinder efficiently.

Camp 1302 04 O Tonys Garage Edelbrock Performer 5/6

Since you don’t have a throttle body, the fuel pressure to your carburetor should be compatible with the Holley. You’ll have to adapt or fabricate your own throttle linkage and get a new air cleaner. The car will not run well if you start disconnecting all the pollution control equipment. Your best bet is to leave everything connected and get the car running with the new intake and carburetor, and a distributor that can run without input from the ECM.

Q. Tony
I have a ’92 Camaro with a small original equipment tag on the body near the top of the radiator. The numbers are 092782. I have seen tags like this on several third-gen Camaros but nobody seems to know what the tag is for. Some Camaros have a larger VIN tag in this place. Do you know what the tag is for?
Rich Reints
Via email

A. Rich,
As you have found, there's not much information available on the small tag you are referring to on the body support in front of the radiator. The third-gen Camaros were built at the Van Nuys, California, plant from 1982 through 1992 and in the Norwood, Ohio, plant from 1982 through 1987. Historically, these plants had different processes to track their cars on the assembly line. This could be the reason you have seen different styles of tags on other third-gens. I've seen the larger tag on an '83 Camaro (not sure of the plant designation though), so the year may have something to do with the size and information on the tag.

Camp 1302 05 O Tonys Garage Vin 6/6

In general, I really don’t know the real story about the tag, but maybe one of our readers will email me and give a little more insight.

Here’s the information I can share in regards to tags on older F-bodies.

For the ’67- 69 Camaros, the Van Nuys, California, (LOS & VN) plant used a “Scheduling Sequence Number” on the upper right hand corner of the trim/cowl tag. This was to help the plant keep track of the cars on the assembly line because there were multiple platforms being built on the same assembly line. The Van Nuys plant also used internal plant codes that were designated on the trim/cowl tag during the production of the second-gen Camaro.

The Norwood, Ohio (NOR) and Van Nuys plants both used “Body Numbers” on the trim/cowl tag to keep the order of assembly of cars on the line. These numbers were used for the order of production (the VIN number is not used for this purpose) and were assigned to the body before assembly.

It’s possible these old tagging conventions were carried over to the third-gen Camaro. If more information becomes available about the tags on the third-gens, you’ll see it here in Tony’s Garage in the future.



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