We've actually seen claims by Camaro owners of doing a complete frame-off restoration. Owing only to restraint, we have seldom corrected these owners, but for purposes of our own car, let us merely refer to our disassembly of the front subframe as just that, a disassembly. It's about as far as you can take a stock Camaro, but it still represents a lot of work.
Once we started assessing all the signs of wear and age accumulated over the last 30 years or so, the only way to be sure of a starting point was to thoroughly media-blast the frame and any components we were going to re-use (which weren't too many), smooth and grind where necessary, and re-coat these parts until we were ready to do our final work.
It's a ton of work, but it's a phase of any car project that can be done by the average car owner/builder (with a little help from powdercoaters and local technicians), and it forms the basis for making an average car into a great one.
In this stage of the construction of the Goodmark Camaro (our 2005 Road Tour car), we had the pleasure of bolting on the cool control arms from Heidt's Hot Rods and the big binders from Stainless Steel Brakes. Now despite the high-tech construction of the Heidt's components, there were no modifications required to assemble; they just simply bolted on in place. Of course, with the subframe sitting on jack stands, the job was a little easier. And with the frame clean and painted, it was more like putting a watch together than the rusty underpinnings of a 30-plus year-old street machine.
An added bonus was using all-new hardware such as fasteners, ball joints, bushings, and brackets. Doing a frontend rebuild under these conditions is certainly the ideal way to do it. But we realize that not everyone has the means to go to this extent. But take our word for it, even if your Camaro's subframe is still intact under the sheetmetal, upgrading to better handling components and more precise stopping brakes is well worth the effort.
In a nutshell, once all of the old parts were discarded and the frame was powdercoated, hanging the Heidt's A-arms was simply a matter of putting them in place and tightening down the bolts. The same holds true for the steering box, shocks, and sway bar.
Once all the parts were in place, the subframe was repositioned under the car and new body-to-frame mounts were installed. Of course, until the Goodmark Camaro is completed, we won't be able to give you any driving impressions. But suffice it to say, if the parts work as good as they look (or as easy as they were to install), we're in for a rockin' ride. Take a look at the details, then stay tuned for a on-track test in the near future.