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September 2012 Readers' Rides


Camp 1209 01 Z September 2012 Readers Rides 2/5

Eric Pardo tells his story best: “I’ve loved Camaros all my life, and my first was a ’77 Type LT. I got it used in 1992 and spent a lot of time and money on it over the years. In 2007, I finally sold the car due to not being able to keep up on the maintenance. It was a pretty sad day to see my car being taken away since I had a lot of great memories of it with my family. I remember working on it with my son and daughter, especially the time my daughter got so excited to hear the roar of the engine at a car show.”

The car may have been gone, but Eric’s love of Camaros was still burning. In 2009, he got a call from a local Chevy dealer. As Eric told us, “he knew my story and called to ask if I was still interested in the Camaro. I had looked at a 35th Anniversary edition model a while ago, but things just didn’t work out. I wasn’t really thinking about it, but I had heard about the comeback of the Camaro so I decided to go into the dealership to talk. After my visit and doing some checking online, I was hooked. This time, things were all in alignment. I had just come into some extra cash and was in the process of selling a vehicle that was nothing but trouble.”

Eric liked all of the colors offered, so picking one was a challenge, but the powertrain options really left his head spinning. “I wasn’t sure about the V-6 until I saw the performance numbers of 304 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque,” said Eric. “Wow! My ’77 had 170 hp and 270 lb-ft, so this was a huge jump. Yeah, the new V-8 has over 400 hp, but I wasn’t planning on racing.”

Since then Eric has been enjoying the new RS and has even hit a few car shows. The biggest mods so far have been the Sinister Ram-Air hood and matching spoiler, but he’s also done a Roto-Fab cold-air kit and worked over the exterior lighting. But most importantly, he’s back in a Camaro.

Hard Fought

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For most of us our first car was something way less than cool, but not so for New Jersey’s Matt Plotkin. You see, at the tender age of 18, Matt managed to work his butt off to afford a ’94 Z28. Mark stated, “It’s my first car and I worked a long time to be able to buy it!” The Patriot Red Metallic ride was bone stock when Matt picked it up and he’s been steadily building it up. The LT1 got a set of Pacesetter long-tubes, a better exhaust, and a tune. On motor he’s ran 12.92 at 106.5 mph. There’s a Nitrous Outlet LT1 plate kit sitting on the bench that will surely drop those e.t.’s even further.

Backing up the LT1 is a Stage II Tremec T56 with an MGW shifter along with a beefier clutch, and the diff was upgraded to 3.73 gears for snappier launches. To help drop the 60-foot times, he bolted on some Eibach Drag Launch springs, Competition Engineering three-way adjustable drag shocks, UMI adjustable torque arm, UMI LCAs with relocation brackets, and UMI’s Panhard rod. After all, a good launch is one key element to a low e.t. For looks, he tossed on some black ZR1 wheels and a late fourth-gen SS spoiler. It all gels for one cool “first car” any of us would be happy to own.

Unintended Consequences

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In 2008, Matt Wasserman was minding his own business and checking out cars in the latest Autotrader magazine when it happened. He spied an ’02 Sunset Orange SS Camaro. Now, Matt had zero intentions of buying a new car, but the stunning color, along with some unusually low odometer numbers, were enough to entice him into visiting the dealer where the car was listed. “It was at a Dodge dealership, so I checked out the lot and couldn’t find the Camaro,” remembers Matt. “I just figured they sold it, but I was wrong. I walked inside and smack in the middle of the showroom was this beautiful Camaro with only 15k miles on it! It was so clean you could eat off the motor. I instantly fell in love with it, and to make a long story short, I left a deposit the same day and picked it up the next.” The SS had all the SLP options (car number 8,670) and Matt has installed quite a few “must haves,” including American Racing long-tubes, a GMMG catback exhaust, lowering springs, B&M tranny cooler, drilled/slotted rotors with Hawk pads, and some stunning split-five-spoke wheels. The car is a weekend warrior, and as such, the mileage is still a very low 24,000 miles.

It’s great to know Matt still loves the car that he never even intended to buy.

Speed Trap

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As a retired LAPD officer, Tony Foti loves all things black and white, especially his race cars. His previous ride was a ’92 Pro Mod that ran over 170 mph, but this time he decided to kick it old school by working over a first-gen. As Tony described the car, “It’s a ’68 SS Camaro I got from a fellow racer in Maryland named Charlie Harrison. The Camaro has a year-correct 30-over 427 on alcohol with Brodix heads and Arias 15:1 pistons. The Rat motor was built by Jim Shewbert Racing Engines and has an 1,150 Dominator, T&D shaft rocker setup with an all-Isky valvetrain. The rear is a Dana 60 series with 4.88s, Alston ladder bar setup, Strange axles, Cragar wheels, and a complete Wilwood brake system. As always, the drivetrain is an A-1 Automatic two-speed with one of Marv Ripes’ trick converters. The car is all glass except the quarters and roof, which have been lightened and reinforced. The entire safety system is by Deist Safety, right down to the parachute.”

With the support of Tony’s wife, Bernadette, LAPD’s Racing Team, Classic Industries, and Mark Vogt, Tony has been able to get the dragstrip brawler ready for the track in record time. On one of the early shakedown passes, the Camaro clocked an 8.89 at 154 mph, which was better than Tony expected. Still not quick enough though, so he plans on tweaking and tuning the Camaro to be even quicker.

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