You wouldn't drive your old Chevy if the engine was knocking, and you wouldn't drive it if the floor pans were rusted out, so why would you drive it with a completely worn-out front suspension and steering system?
That's what we found ourselves wondering every time we slid behind the wheel of this '67 Camaro. It has a new flat-black paintjob and a fresh small-block in it, but the car was on the border of being dangerous when it came time to hit the street. Lots of body roll, steering slop, and unpredictable darting gave us good reason to revamp the front end, so we called up the folks at Classic Performance Products (CPP). Quick to answer our questions and provide a few solutions for the handling problems, the CPP staff pointed us in the right direction with one of its Performance Plus front-end kits, a sway-bar kit, and a 500-series power steering box.
With a budget of $1,500, we had a couple hundred dollars to spare after making the order at CPP, but we did spend a few bucks to have the new bushings pressed in and the front end aligned. Before deciding on the complete front-end rebuild, we replaced the shocks, brake calipers, and brake hoses to at least get the car on the road, but these few parts did very little to help its driving characteristics. Our idea behind the CPP kit installation is to showcase a project that can be accomplished in a home garage with no lift, no special tools, and no high-end components--this is a real-world suspension rebuild for the average Camaro.
The CPP Performance Plus front-end kit came with control-arm bushings, ball joints, tie-rod ends (inner and outer), coil springs, shocks, and an idler arm. We also sprang for a CPP 500-series steering box and a new pitman arm to make sure every possible problem area had been covered. It was hard to resist putting a bigger sway bar on the car, so a CPP 1-1/8-inch sway-bar kit also found its way into our order.
In a matter of two hours after pulling the car into the garage, we had stripped all of the front suspension components from the car. While it was torn apart, we scrubbed the subframe with a wire brush and put a fresh coat of paint on it. The control arms received the same treatment after installing the bushings and ball joints. Suspension reassembly was a straightforward process, and we saved all of the steering components for last.
Our total time investment, and the complete rebuild took us approximately 12 hours. Except for having the new control arm bushings installed, we did the whole upgrade in a small shop with ordinary handtools, and the result is a well-mannered car that drives better than ever. Thanks to CPP and our buddy Terrance Willis, we made a night-and-day difference in this '67 Camaro and stayed well under our target budget. Having a car you feel safe driving is great, especially when it's a marked improvement over stock.
|67SDFK-PC CPP Performance Plus Front End Kit:||$519|
|CP50004 CPP 500 Series Steering Box:||$379|
|6769PA-P CPP Pitman Arm:||$49|
|RJC-730R CPP 3/4-30 Rag Joint:||$45|
|CP503-P CPP Steering Box Cover:||$29|
|CP599-U CPP 1-1/8-Inch Sway Bar Kit:||$149|
|Total Labor Invested:||Two guys, 12 hours|