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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve decided to start this thread to document the rehab/refresh of my car. As my car is an unmolested survivor, there really isn’t a need to do full restoration and personally I want to keep as much of its originality as possible. My intent is to just restore/replace and/or upgrade various components over the next few years to keep it on the road.

Here is a brief history of my 1968 RS Camaro. My grandfather purchased the car new in Long Beach, CA in April 1968. I first became aware of it around 1983 at the age of 10 during a family vacation to CA. I was instantly captivated by it and from that point forward dreamed of someday owning it. Every communication with my grandparents after that included some reference to my desire to eventually own the car. Grandpa continued to use it as his daily driver up until his passing in 1998. At that time, I inherited it and in late 1999 had it shipped to my home in Louisville, KY. At that point in its life it was fitted with white wall tires and a trailer hitch (G-ma & G-pa used it to pull a small pop-up trailer for camping trips) and had just over 100k on the odometer. Grandpa kept meticulous records, so inside the glove box were receipts for all repairs, oil changes, etc over the 30yrs he owned it. I originally thought the mileage was more in likely in the 200k range but all the dated receipts with mileage recorded confirmed the mileage at just over 100k.

The first order of business after I took ownership was to remove the trailer hitch and associated wiring along with replacing the whitewalls with BFG T/A radials. Not long after I got it, one of the hydraulic lifters blew apart and bent a pushrod. At that point I decided to go ahead and do a full rebuild of original 327. Also rebuilt the front suspension with all new poly bushings and did some minor interior work, mainly just repainted the center console and glove box door. In addition, added a secret audio system and new speakers. That was in 1999/2000.

Due to various circumstances (divorce, multiple jobs and relocations) the car ended up in storage for several years before I finally brought it back home for good a couple years ago. I don’t have a garage to keep it in at home so I had been keeping it in storage during the winter months. This past fall I decided to build a roof over the patio/driveway where I park it in order to keep it at home and be able to work on it during the winter months. It’s not the most ideal workspace but it fills the bill while I save up money to build a proper garage.

My funds a fairly limited so I will only be able to complete one or two projects a year. So here is my plan for future projects:


1. Restore/Upgrade rear suspension. This will include replacing rear mono-leafs with DSE lowering springs. (Note the front already has poly bushing and last year I installed DSE lowering springs and Koni reds.)

2. Upgrade front drum brakes to disc. Still deciding on what kit and wheels to go with. Would like to keep my original steel wheels and dog dish hubcaps but pretty limited on kits that work with 14” drum brake wheels.

3. Repaint entire car. Currently there are about 5 different shades of Ash Gold from various repairs and touch-ups. Some that my grandfather did (he was a ship painter by trade) and some that I have done. Even have some areas of original paint, mainly on the doors. All the jambs and underside of trunk lid have original paint in good condition. Plan to use a SS system to blend with some of the panels that don’t need to be repainted.

4. Install factory style dual exhaust and have exhaust manifolds ceramic coated.

5. Replace all body mount bushings.

6. Upgrade engine from factory 210hp 2 barrel to 275hp 4 barrel setup. Bought the correct Quadrajet, intake and cylinder heads back in ’00 but haven’t gotten around to refurbishing them yet. Main problem is that several of the valve guide bosses on one head are broken off and not sure if they can be repaired or not.

7. Replace the PG with a TH200R4.

Here a few pics from a couple years ago when I brought it back out of storage. The Z is an old work buddies car that had just undergone a complete restoration. Him and his brother had bought the car new. Really nice car with non original DZ engine (brother blew up the original in the 80s).







Still have a couple of grandpa's old cigar butts in the ashtray

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Started on the rehab of the rearend a few weeks ago. All the suspension hardware came out without any trouble including the J-clips. One of the many perks of having a California car that has never seen road salt.

All sorted and ready to be bagged up. Will soak everything in Evaporust and repaint brackets, shackles, etc with SEM Trim Black.



All the hardware still has original black oxide coating where they weren't exposed to elements.



Gas tank still has zinc coating on top side but no build sheet. Will just clean up the surface rust and repaint with zinc rich paint.

 

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Wow! Great story and car Joe!
I love a good Grandpa car too! :cool:

It's hard making decisions that take away from the originality of the car or the way you remembered it but over the years I've decided as long as the changes make the car better/safer/more enjoyable to drive, I go for it. Disc brakes for sure!

I may be able to help a little on the brake question because I still have my 14" drum brake wheels in the garage and now have discs. So I could see if they'll fit and report back to you.(Unless somebody else beats me to it).

Will be following your progress.
 

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What a cook story. I see in some pics you have the black/yello plates which are orignal to the car being from Cali. However, in another pic they are white colored plates. SAVE THOSE BLACK AND YELLO PLATES.

I am not familiar with the 68 but is that guage (cant tell what it is in pic) on the center console original to the car. :thumbsup:
 

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Awesome story, and awesome car.

One suggestion- before you put the SEM Trim Black on all those parts, throw some epoxy primer on them, or just use black epoxy primer in lieu of the Trim Black. Might as well keep them looking good for another 45 years!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the compliments fellas!

I may be able to help a little on the brake question because I still have my 14" drum brake wheels in the garage and now have discs. So I could see if they'll fit and report back to you.(Unless somebody else beats me to it).
Thanks for the offer, but probably wont get around to the disc brake conversion until next year.
You've got a nice little grandpa car, too. :beers:
Nice little car Joe, what part of "Derby Town" are you in I'm in Crecent Hill? Good luck with your project.
Thanks, John. I'm in the Highlands near the Douglass Loop.

What a cook story. I see in some pics you have the black/yello plates which are orignal to the car being from Cali. However, in another pic they are white colored plates. SAVE THOSE BLACK AND YELLO PLATES.

I am not familiar with the 68 but is that guage (cant tell what it is in pic) on the center console original to the car. :thumbsup:
The original black and yellow CA plate is on front and historic KY plate is on rear. KY doesnt require a front plate.

The "guage" is a factory clock. Rarest option on the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Awesome story, and awesome car.

One suggestion- before you put the SEM Trim Black on all those parts, throw some epoxy primer on them, or just use black epoxy primer in lieu of the Trim Black. Might as well keep them looking good for another 45 years!
Thanks for the suggestion, Bob. I was thinking about priming, but like the idea an "original style" single stage finish that the Trim Black provides. I'll have to think on it some more.
 

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Very cool story. Wish I could/would have been able to get my hands on some of my grandpas old car. My grandpa found my Monte for me and hauled it up from KY for me but thats as far as that goes.

My grandpas and dad always told me they kicked themselfs for selling their first cars. From then on I have not been able to sell a car. Still have the 84 Monte from high school(Not the original owner tho....Im the same age as the Monte). I get to attached to them...they are my drug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A week or so ago I pulled the whole rearend out to work on cleaning it up. After giving it a good scrubbing with some degreaser I put put together a Evaporust recirculation setup using some thick black plastic sheeting, a concrete mixing pan and an using an old submersible pump I had. Started out with just doing the center section and half the axles.



Then wrapped the whole thing with shop towels and sealed up the ends around the axles.


Let it run for a couple days and flipped the axle over once as well. Tried to do the same thing with the rest of it but by that time the Evaporust was no longer affective.

Still had some some deeper rust on cover but the main cast iron center section turned out pretty good. Can actually see the original blue paint inspection mark.


Most of the rust in this photo is just flash rust from being exposed to elements for a couple days.


Yesterday was my day off so spent about 12hours working on various things including cleaning up the remainder of the rearend.



The weather man was calling for rain today and tomorrow so decided to work as late as possible to get it painted before the rain. Had debated getting some DP90 to paint it but decided to just use the SEM Trim Black that I already.

Here's what it looks like this morning.


Also painted all the misc suspension brackets and fuel tank straps.



PVC pipe in the background is my driveshaft soaking in Evaporust. Saw the idea in another build thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Awesome story!
See my 327 engine build for some ideas for your 327.
http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=217077
Thanks, George. I'll definitely follow your engine build thread. Have already been lurking in your build thread for awhile.

I have some '68 291 heads as well. They have already been ported, polished and have screw in rocker studs. Been sitting in the basement collecting dust, though since I got them 10 years ago. Bought them off ebay and the guy who shipped them packaged them both in one box with the valve guides facing each other. One head ended up with most of the valve guide bosses broken. Was so mad I just left them in a corner and haven't done anything with them since. I think I did end up getting a little bit of a reimbursement from UPS. Afraid to even look into how much it would cost to repair.



 

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Cool story Joe and a nice foundation to start with. As was mentioned, epoxy primer is the way to go. You can cover it with any SS paint you want to use. I am partial to the SEM Trim Black also. On the valve guides it looks to me like someone tried to remove them with a vise grip or similar after drilling them out. The wall just looks damn thin and the top chamfer is missing. Here's a video showing the proper method for replacing them. Good luck with the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the video, Al. Good to see the actual process for valve guide replacement. I was concerned since half of the actual cast iron part that the guide is pressed into is gone but from watching that video it looks like maybe I can just have a thicker walled guide installed. I'll take the head to my local machine shop this week and see what they think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Got a little more work done yesterday mostly just a lot of cleaning and degreasing of parts. Also worked on restoration of misc hardware. After cleaning and soaking in Evaporust overnight I rinse them off, let them dry then spray them down with a heavy coat of Boeshield T-9.



After leaving the driveshaft to soak for a day and half in Evaporust, I rinsed it off and coated it with RPM (Rust Prevention Magic) to preserve the "natural" finish.


Gave the whole underside of the rearend a good scrubbing to clean up 45yrs of dirt and grim. After a thorough drying I sprayed a layer of T-9 over everything to keep moisture out. The rear frame rails turned out great and still have the original Ash Gold overspray on them.



Last weekend I took out the original single exhaust in prepartion for a new original style dual exhaust. After I got the new kit, I coated, the muffler, hangers, and clamps with RPM. After I get the exhaust mounted, I'll coat all the pipes when I can use the exhaust heat to my advantage. That way I dont have to heat up small sections at a time with my heat gun. Going to work on the install after work tonight.
 

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Good story, nice story, and correct year. She looks good as is.
Congrats on unbroken J-nuts.

You might consider solid front spring bushings, lube them very well, or, if you chose polyurethane, lube the bolts, and antiseize the threads of all rear suspension hardware as it will make it easier later in life.

On the rear axle tubes, check for cracks, and have them welded up, where the perch is welded to the tube.

On front disc brakes, you can buy just the caliper bracket, '69 single piston loaded calipers, hoses, hardware kit, and one piece rotor. Use the caliper bracket to mark the upper anchor bolt on the spindle, scribe a line, and have a machine shop machine down the boss. You might get lucky with a sawzall or hacksaw. Typical dimension for removal is 0.610 inches, I believe. You may have to exchange the master cylinder for a disc type from a drum type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good story, nice story, and correct year. She looks good as is.
Congrats on unbroken J-nuts.

You might consider solid front spring bushings, lube them very well, or, if you chose polyurethane, lube the bolts, and antiseize the threads of all rear suspension hardware as it will make it easier later in life.

On the rear axle tubes, check for cracks, and have them welded up, where the perch is welded to the tube.

On front disc brakes, you can buy just the caliper bracket, '69 single piston loaded calipers, hoses, hardware kit, and one piece rotor. Use the caliper bracket to mark the upper anchor bolt on the spindle, scribe a line, and have a machine shop machine down the boss. You might get lucky with a sawzall or hacksaw. Typical dimension for removal is 0.610 inches, I believe. You may have to exchange the master cylinder for a disc type from a drum type.

Thanks for the tips. I have learned the importance of anti-sieze over the years. Wish I would have used it when I rebuilt the front suspension 13 years ago. Oh well. I have a jar of it now and every bolt thread gets coated before it goes back in.

I did check the welds on the perches and all looked good. I don't plan to do any wheel standing launches like you though so not too worried about it. ;) I am using the Detroit speed over axle U-bolts for the new springs so that should give me a little added security as well.

I'll have to look more into piecing together brakes like you suggested, whenever the time comes. I have researched David Pozzi's site too so may just go that route.
 
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