Re: Another blue Camaro followed me home, Grotto blue '68 coupe
Well, It's been two years since I posted an update on this one, so I figure it's about time. The car has been sitting for a while at my friend's shop, but last summer I thought I'd start getting everything in order to get the rebuild started. As I've been prone to changing my plans, last summer I decided that instead of a 396, I'd just have an engine builder friend, Dave, go through the 350 that had been "freshly rebuilt" but still sell the TH400 and a couple TH350's that I have to purchase a new TH700-R4. In any case, I took the 350 over to Dave's house and had him do a simple upper end tear down to make sure that the engine was rebuilt competently. Good thing I did. The bottom end had been done pretty well, with the only major shortcoming being that some of the connecting rod bolts had not been torqued down to the correct specifications. The cylinder heads, on the other hand, were probably a few hundred miles from failure, not due to crap parts, but the tolerances and assembly had been done really sloppy. The heads were some cast iron '76-'78 lightweight heads as well that were ok, but I've heard that they were prone to cracking due to the removal of material for weight and material savings. The cam was also a pretty weak RV flat tappet cam, so that wasn't going to fly.
So, a year ago, I was tearing down the old '67 283 that came in my '55 Bel Air, and discovered that it had a set of 462 heads that came really close to the date of the 327 block that I used to have Hutchison Racing Engines build the 327 short block for my younger son's '67 L30. For that engine, I had originally bought a set of RHS 64cc aluminum heads with 180cc runners, but just hadn't had time to get it finished. So, after I decided to have my son's 327 finished with the 462 heads instead (that car is going to really look period correct), I had the RHS heads and Comp Cams cam and valvetrain in boxes and unused. Woohoo!
I gave Dave what I had, and after determining that the XR282 cam was going to be a bit too aggressive for the 350, he strongly suggested that I get the XR270 hydraulic roller cam that would work well with the Comp hydraulic roller system I had for the 327, and would work with the RHS heads. He got everything measured and fixed to acceptable (for Dave, better than stock) tolerances, torqued and reassembled. We did use the Edelbrock Performer RPM intake that came on the engine instead of the Air Gap I had on hand, as Dave advised it would give me better low end performance from idle rather than north of 1,500 rpm. I have a Holley Street Avenger 670 with electric choke for it, and I think that'll give it good performance and street manners.
The other decision I made for this build, definitely for the better, is to use a bunch of other parts from other cars that are either perfectly good or haven't been used. Case in point, my big box of Baer 4-disc brakes that I've had since January of 2003! I bought them for my first '67, and when I did the 427/4 speed/15" Cragars, the Baer brakes stayed in the box. I just found the paperwork for them last month where I paid $2,600 for brakes that have been sitting in boxes for 14 years! I must be dumb. Anyways, I have a full Flowmaster 2 1/2 inch exhaust system, headers, and other stuff I bought and hardly ever used.
Going with the big Baer brakes also meant I decided to go with more of a mild Pro-Touring set-up, but something I could drive every day and on longer trips. One thing I added to my '67 427 car was the Hotchkis front and rear sway bar set and rear springs, and I have to say, I love how the Hotchkis components make that car handle. For my '68, I decided to order not just the full front and rear sway bar set, but also a set of their lowering coil and leaf springs (2 inches in front, 1.5 in the rear), the rear shock tower brace and the upper and lower A-arms. I got most of the parts earlier this week, but I'm still waiting for the lower A-arms and shocks.
I've settled on wheels, and it was a design that I saw about a year ago at the Sacramento Autorama on a Chevelle, but had forgotten about until I saw them on a Facebook posting on the Crusher Camaro two weeks ago, wherein Dave Freiburger mentioned that they are ditching the US Mags Rambler wheels for something more '70's retro (which I like), but those are the wheels I saw last year and love them. In 18" diameter they only come in 8" and 9 1/2" widths, so if I can fit those in the front and rear on the '68, that's what I'll do, otherwise it'll be 17x7 front and 17x8 rear.
Paint: This will probably change, but right now I'm thinking Ermine White with the flat hood, no rear spoiler. Between my first '67 and the paint prison nightmare that was my '55 Bel Air, this time around I just want simple. I love white race cars (especially those with a big red "M" on the hood) and I'm thinking a simple black houndstooth interior should look nice. I may update the center console and the seats, but that's the way I'm leaning.
I'll try to post some pics in the next few days. I'm hoping my friend's shop can start working on the body soon. It really doesn't need much in terms of body work to get it ready for primer, so I'm hoping 3-4 months she should have some color on her.
Relax, all right? My dad's a TV repairman, got an ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.
1967 Camaro RS ZL1 427/4 speed
1967 Camaro RS 327 L30 4 speed
1955 Bel Air 4-door, 350/TH700R4
1969 Camaro convertible X11 Indy 500 Pace Car, matching numbers 396/4 speed
1968 Camaro, Grotto Blue project car
1970 Camaro RS
My Mom's 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V Diamond Jubilee Edition
2000 Rolls Royce Silver Seraph