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1969 Camaro Front Clip Install - The Bionic Camaro, Part I

We can rebuild it. We have the technology. This Camaro will be better than it was before; stronger, faster...

Mike Harrington Mar 11, 2007
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In the 1970s there was a show on TV called the "Six Million Dollar Man." As the story goes, some poor astronaut crashed his ship upon reentry to earth and was "barely alive." The doctors took the near corpse of a man, used the latest technology, and rebuilt him into a superior human being. Millions of kids across America sat glued to the tube as they watched the bionic man fight the good fight with his superhuman powers. And the next day on the playground they would all pretend to have bionic strength.

Today it seems not much has changed. Sure we are all grown up (supposedly) and no longer play fight or make goofy bionic sound effects, but that imaginative seven-year-old is still alive in all of us.

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There are a number of steps prior to the removal of the OEM clip. Remove the transmission, steering linkage, radiator and engine. The front factory brake lines will have to be reworked to fit this new clip. The rear hard lines doesn't need any alterations. You won't be able to use the OEM steering column with the new TCI front clip. TCI recommends an ididit column with two new steering U-joints, and a new shaft. Once these are removed support the vehicle on a set of sturdy jackstands. These jackstands must be positioned just below the firewall on the flat side. Remove the four anchor points on the OEM clip and roll it out of the way. There's no turning back now-we're committed.

Take musclecars for example. If you don't own one, you probably want to, or you wouldn't read this magazine. And those who do own a killer machine, such as a first generation Camaro, dreamt of turning it into a high-performance streetcar, better than the average Camaro. A bionic Camaro, if you will. Who doesn't want to drive their car like Steve McQueen, grabbing gear after gear while banging hard to the left, and to the right, all the while pegging the tachometer?

Gentleman, we have the Camaro, the technology, and TCI (Total Cost Involved); we can re-build it better than it was before, stronger and faster. Stop daydreaming about it and build a bionic Camaro, one that can carve up a road.

But why build a bionic Camaro? What are the advantages? Performance, performance, performance-that's the reason! Simply put, the Camaro is a performance vehicle. It was born that way. The all-tubular front clip from TCI seen here has an outstanding advantage over the weighty OEM steel clip. That advantage is a scale tipping 120-lbs in weight savings. For any performance enthusiast or racer, front end weight loss is always an issue and less is definitely more. Achieving that perfect 50/50 balance is never easy. Another advantage is a double rail mandrel bent design that provides added strength over stock, and is fitted with coilover shocks.

The engine mounts that come installed are designed to fit the standard Chevrolet engines, such as the small-block, big-block and the increasingly popular LS-series of engines. Urethane bushed tubular A-arms, 2-inch drop spindles, new manual rack-and-pinion gear, 11-inch GM disc brake kit, billet aluminum adjustable shocks with black powdercoated springs, sway bar, and bolt-in multi-position transmission mount comes standard with this front end kit.

Since this is a two-part story we will start out with the front end, then in the next issue we'll install the rear clip, take the Camaro to the track, and flog it like a miner's pack mule.



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