Going to Restore a Camaro - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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I have decided that I am going to Restore a 68-69 Camaro. Before I start I was wondering if I could get some tips/opinions.

I haven't purchased a car yet but I am thinking about my engine options. Should I build or buy a crate one? Which type of engine would you recommend?

Also, what are some things that you would look for when buying a Camaro to restore?

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 10:44 AM
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The only tip I have is.... are you sure you want to restore one? Financially there is no comparison, you can buy a completed car for far less than you can build the same car. Now, I don't mean to discourage your plan, because there's no better feeling than having a cool classic car and being able tell people that you did it all!!! Just make sure you are prepared for the time (working on the car and not driving it ), money and effort. Good Luck [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 11:00 AM
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Look for a car with the least amount of rust. The biggest problems are the subframe mounts (which may be almost impossible to check out). The radiator support, and rear subframe rails. If the car has a vinyl top, it might be harder to see the signs of rust, so be careful there. Unfortunately, there are many areas where rust can hide in these cars.

At least repro quarter panels, trunk and floor pans are readily available, but some parts that are common rust areas aren't quite as easy to get ahold of, such as the roof or inside the dash.

Some of the common rust areas can be easily fixed, so I guess the best thing to do is to find the most solid car you can find. Also, look for one that appears to be the least "hot rodded", as I would think these cars are the least whooped on throughout their life.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 03:06 PM
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Rust and such is number 1 in my book too. Don't be blinded by thoughts of putting a cool motor in until you've taken the time to understand what body work and other efforts are going to be put into it. I started with a pretty clean car and have already dropped nearly $3000 in it. I've been priming, fixing rust, replacing rubber and suspension parts. And then there is paint. So it goes...that giant sucking sound. But I'm enjoying the work and the bragging rights.


68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 03:54 PM
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I agree with Dnult. Body, body, body. Forget the engine for now. Get a good, no, get an excellant body unless you want to spend a lot of time and money. I have been working on my 68 Camaro for 3 1/2 years now, and am almost finished, but if I had to do it over again, I would have been very particular about the body. I have had to replace dash panels, front quarters, both rear quarters, and two floor pans. I am not a body man and really should have inspected my car better before I bought it. I now know what to look for if I were to purchase one again. Look around the front and rear windshield carefully for rust. To many signs of rust, walk away unless your ready for the long haul. Quarter replacements are to bad, but the inner wheel wells are a pain!! Out of 3 1/2 years of restoration, I would say 2 1/2 years has been body work and frame restoration. I have enjoyed it though, and am proud of how it is turning out. So what are you up for?? How much involvment do you want?? The choice is yours, but I would get an excellant body to start with and it will save time and lots of money!!! Have fun shopping! [img]graemlins/waving.gif[/img]
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 04:53 PM
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Do your homework on this one first. Doing a true frame-off is alot of work and the costs add up quick. Then the "upgrades" start to be a factor (disc breaks, performance supension, and 1997 Camaro power front seats anyone?). And make sure your heart is sound when you go to talk to the local paint man and see what that is going to set you back. Don't get me wrong, nothing makes you prouder than seeing the labor of love roll out of the garage and all the buds saying "cooool". [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] However, there is alot to be said for finding that "frame-off car" with all the goodies for a price that represents 50 cents on the dollar it would have cost you to build same thing and your driving it today!
Good luck - either way you win.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 08:34 PM
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You would probably be best off buying someones almost done project. Something thats like 70% done or so.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 03, 09:19 PM
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As far as the resto goes. $15-$25K is about average total cost. It can go way up from there depending on what you are building. Many spend 10K on body work alone. Make sure you set aside some money to start otherwise you'll take the car apart and it will sit that way for years. If they salt the roads where you are in NY you may want to consider picking up the car from a dry (desert) state like CA, TX, AZ, NV, etc. The costs associated with moving the car may be far less than repairing rust. Remember... You can spend 1/2 your budget fixing rust alone.

As far as the engine goes. If you are building a driver I tend to favor the crate motors with overdrive transmissions. If you are doing a correct restoration stick with the original motor and have it rebuilt, or if you're comfortable with rebuilding go for it.
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