December 2011 Readers' Rides

Double Take

Camp 1112 01 Z 1980 Chevy Camaro December 2012 Readers Rides 1/6

Sometimes we find our Camaro projects when we least expect it. This is what happened to Rob Barretto back in 2007. “I wasn’t really in the market for a 'toy,' but I was on eBay looking at pictures of second-gen Firebirds and Trans Ams when I came across an interesting ’80 Camaro," mentions Rob. "It was faded and shabby, but looked solid in the pictures. I didn't win the auction, so it was no big deal since I wasn’t looking to buy anything anyway. I continued to search around, and for some reason I kept on ending up at this posting. It was like falling in love with a girl you barely knew. Just for grins, I called the guy and told him if the buyer changes their mind to give me a call.”

Rob didn’t hear back so he just assumed the car was gone. "About a month later the seller called to inform me that the auction winner didn’t want to pay to have the car shipped,” recalls Rob. “The seller told me that his reserve was $3,000, but that he really needed to get rid of the car and would negotiate. It needed work, but it was solid, so I bought it for $2,500. All I had to do next was explain to my wife why a rusty old car on four spare donut tires was sitting in the driveway. The wife was a little mad, but I convinced her to give me one year to get the car presentable, and done so with very little money. She agreed and my adventure began!”

Needing a little rust repair, Rob worked the body for a solid six months. Every day after work he would sand, align, and assemble. Jeff isn’t a painter, so while he was able to lay down some primer and do some block sanding, he left the final prep and paintwork to his friends Chris and Tom over at Thayers Auto Service in Commerce Township, Michigan. The bright Millennium Yellow paint helped the project get its nickname of “Double Take.”

Camp 1112 02 Z 1980 Chevy Camaro December 2012 Readers Rides 2/6

The Camaro was dropped with a set of springs from Hotchkis while the handling was further tightened with some KYB shocks and poly bushings. Rolling stock consists of 18-inch Mondello wheels wrapped in Nitto 555 tires.

In 2009, he blew the original 350 at the Woodward Dream Cruise, so he called up GM Performance Parts and ordered up one of their hopped-up 350 small-blocks.

“Some people ask me why I didn’t just upgrade to a big-block." Informs Rob. "My answer is simple: I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a conversion, and I value the love of my wife!”

Hooker headers, a Flowmaster exhaust, along with a few other speed parts got his Camaro back on the road and running faster than ever. He also installed a rocking high-end audio system and worked over the interior. Both of these items were crucial since he drives the Camaro just about every day. Best of all, he pulled it off under budget and is still happily married.

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