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Some say these cars are never finished, and that holds true especially when a modified car changes hands. In this case, our customer purchased this killer 1969 Chevrolet Camaro as a freshly completed Pro-Touring machine complete with a slick silver paint job and a very cool red leather interior, but the 700+ HP 540-cube Shafiroff big block Chevy and 6-speed T-56 Magnum transmission are a bit much for the otherwise stock suspension. The huge torque easily overpowers the rear tires, and the handling isn’t up to the expectations of the owner. So, the car was sent to the V8 Speed & Resto Shop so our crew could take the suspension, rear axle, wheels, tires, brakes, and a few other areas of the car to the next level. The big challenge - installing a complete Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension and front subframe, wheel tubs, Currie Enterprises rear axle, Forgeline wheels, Toyo Tires, Holley EFI, and more without damaging the beautiful silver paint or messing up the body panel fit. After all, something that looks this good should have the moves to match!

 

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Like every car that arrives in the V8 Speed & Resto Shop, and our first task is always to perform a thorough inspection. We prepare a 10 page inspection form which gives us a good reference point on how the vehicle arrived in the shop, and provides the customer for an overview on the car’s shape. We also take a substantial amount of photographs documenting the condition, which provide a reference point not only of how things were put together, but also if there were any nicks or scratches or blemishes on the car when it arrived.



This is a really nice car, but we did find a few things to address here and there, like crushed fuel lines and the occasional chip & scratch.





Some of the wiring and plumbing would benefit from some detailing and cleaner routing.



540 cubes of rich-running big block fury!





Short exhaust misery… this one was loud and the lack of tips made a big mess when the car was idling.






Our customer had a pretty solid plan for what he wanted done to this car, so we put the part list together and began to order parts.
 

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This was kind of fun… an AN fitting installed with electrical tape. On a high pressure fuel line. Not something you want to have, as this thing could have let go and sprayed fuel all over the hot engine causing a big fire.





The plan called for installing a Detroit beat QUADRALink rear suspension which involves cutting the floor, so the interior needed to come out. The rear seat would also need to be narrowed as we are installing larger wheel tubs.

Our team carefully disassembled the rich red leather custom interior and we carefully wrapped, labeled, and stored in these pieces to keep them safe.





 

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This car had a layer of some type of foam insulation that was glued to the back of the carpet, so it made quite a mess coming out.







Removing the custom upholstered trunk mat…



...revealed more of the sticky foam sound deadener.



Fuel tank and exhaust out of the way…



 

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Most of the work was to be done on the bottom side of the car, so we wrapped the entire outside of the car with several layers of protective film and weld and 3M spark paper to keep it from getting damaged during the process. We also wrapped the dashboard and wrapped headliner to protect it from stray sparks. This paper isn’t cheap, but it’s far cheaper than paint repairs on a nice car!







The car was rolled into the fabrication center where Adam began the chassis disassembly process.



He unbolted the stock rear leaf spring suspension, brakes, and drives haft and slid the 12 bolt rear axle out of the way. We had ordered a Currie Enterprises 9+ rear axle assembly and to take it’s place, but the first task was to install the QUADRALink brackets and narrow the rear frame rails.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Soon, the cutting begins on the inner wheel tubs to make room for the Detroit Speed mini-tubs. The rear frame rails will be narrowed as well.





We did not anticipate touching the outer wheel wells, but removing the undercoating revealed some previous repairwork that made us adjust the plan. Typically, we would have removed and replaced the outer tub upon this discovery, but that would require repainting the quarter panel where it meets and welds to the wheel house.



This second outer seam is not normally present on these cars.



 

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The driver side had a similar repair.



Pinching the frame rail for the Detroit Speed tubs to fit.







After cutting out the previous repair, it was determined that a replacement strip should be welded in place of the old repair. This would preserve the outer wheel house, and this time, it would be metal finished to blend in and the repair would be undetectable.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Forming the new strip



The new piece was made on the shrinker / stretcher to bend a 90 degree piece around to match the wheel tub shape.





The new strip was resistance spot-welded to the original welding flange on the new DSE deep tub, and then welded to the original outer tub with a series of tack welds all the way around.






 

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Forming the new strip



The new piece was made on the shrinker / stretcher to bend a 90 degree piece around to match the wheel tub shape.





The new strip was resistance spot-welded to the original welding flange on the new DSE deep tub, and then welded to the original outer tub with a series of tack welds all the way around.






Curious you say the customer bought this as a fresh protouring machine and then you say it had stock suspension. What was it? A protouring car, or a very nice looking Camaro with a big block, stock suspension with a upgraded transmission? If the customer bought this as a protouring machine I think he was a little mistaken... now when you are done,that's a different story.

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Curious you say the customer bought this as a fresh protouring machine and then you say it had stock suspension. What was it? A protouring car, or a very nice looking Camaro with a big block, stock suspension with a upgraded transmission? If the customer bought this as a protouring machine I think he was a little mistaken... now when you are done,that's a different story.

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Technically, I think it was intended to be a Pro-Touring car, but perhaps the builder just didn't take it all the way to truly fit the definition. It had the look of one, but not the bones. We were happy to have the opportunity to fulfill its destiny. Good observation!
 

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Technically, I think it was intended to be a Pro-Touring car, but perhaps the builder just didn't take it all the way to truly fit the definition. It had the look of one, but not the bones. We were happy to have the opportunity to fulfill its destiny. Good observation!
Lol okay, just a little confusing the way you listed the build. If the car was a protouring car, what are you guys building then? The car is clean Camaro that before you got it had nothing protouring except maybe the trans and a bit of a look of a protouring car. Would you call a 80's prostreet fairgrounds cruiser a race car? It looks like one and is probably closer to a race car then what this Camaro is before you got your hand on it. Looks like the car is going to be nice when you are done!! Keeping the big block? Or are you going lighten the nose with something lighter for better handling and braking? Cheers

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Discussion Starter #13
At this point, we turned attention to the front of the car. The stock GM Camaro subframe was going to go in favor of a Detroit Speed Hydroformed subframe. We elected to drop the stock subframe complete with 540 cube V8 with the front sheetmetal in place, with the goal of not having to remove, reinstall, and realign the panels if we didn’t have to.



The body was placed on the lift and protected with spark paper. All the fluids were drained from the engine, the wiring harnesses were disconnected, brake lines separated, coolant hoses pulled, the A/C charge was evacuated and the lines disconnected. The body bolts were loosened from the subframe, and the car was carefully raised up off the subframe.





https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Fbb3xvW3ZUU/VzO28G8yrcI/AAAAAAACEsw/xeHDTQoLa5IU_qcjrZuT_IGD8KHOYaeugCHM/s1600/1969_Camaro_LA_05-09-16_0008.JPG[img]

[img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-51SHutZMJhI/VzO29Bkmw8I/AAAAAAACA_o/52la16bfatIZZIUlxRkdgCdCUUab5bkigCHM/s1600/1969_Camaro_LA_05-09-16_0010.JPG



 

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Discussion Starter #18
The Currie 9+ rear axle assembly was cleaned and prepped for paint. After a good bath with wax & grease remover, the crew taped off the threads and applied several coats of Axalta epoxy primer.







The axles were treated to the same process.



 
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