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COMP Cams 40th Anniversary Camaro at V8 Speed & Resto Shop



We are all very excited here at V8TV and the V8 Speed & Resto Shop, as we've received the high honor of being chosen to restore the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro belonging to COMP Cams! They've had the car for many years, and 2016 marks the 40th Anniversary of COMP Cams, so they wanted the car freshened up for the milestone year. We'll be documenting the restoration of the car along the way, both in photos and video.

Plans for the car include a FAST EFI equipped LS engine mated to a TCI 6X 6-speed automatic transmission, a Heidt's suspension system, updated wheels, tires, and brakes, and a fresh paint job... among many other details.

This is the rendering by Carter Hickman Design showing the slightly updated style and new attitude of the Camaro. Although the car will retain it’s black-and-white theme, it will have a red pinstripe on the SS stripes, updated wheels to go with the new suspension, and a few other subtle tricks here and there.



Our crew is ready to make it happen, and we're proud to work with one of the industry icons to bring this significant car up-to-date. Follow along in the photo gallery, videos, and a build thread on this slick '69!
 

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This 1969 Camaro convertible was built during the fourth week of September of 1969. Typically, a September build date would have been into the next production year, but Chevrolet ran the 1969 Camaro model year longer as they waited to tool up for the 1970 model year, which took longer than expected. But soon, a shiny new V8-powered Daytona Yellow with a white top and a black interior rolled off the assembly line in Norwood, Ohio. The Daytona / white / black / black color combination is a little unusual today, as most seem to be yellow with a black top, but this must have been a good looking car.

It also sports the X11 designation on the trim tag, and the car is currently wearing an RS appearance package with the hidden headlights and the RS seperate tail / reverse light combo. Although all RS package cars (CODE Z22) were X11s, not all X11s were RS cars. The car does not have the Z22 RS stamping on the trim tag. It appears to have the Z21 Style Trim package, with bright wheel lip trim and quarter panel “gills”, but it is reported to be an original RS car. The crew at COMP Cams added the wheel lip trim during the first restoration.

The 1969 Camaro is a significant car for the COMP team, and has been closely knit into the fabric of the company.

COMP Camaro History

1975- Scooter Brothers raced a white convertible ‘69 Camaro with a black top in the M/Automatic Super Stock classes, and won his class at the 1975 US Nationals. It was prepped by Herb McCandless with an engine by John Lingenfelter, a very close friend.



1977ish- Car was sold to a customer who lived in Canada. It was eventually tracked down to a guy’s garage in Texas. The car was entangled in a divorce case, and after inquiry, “Not nice enough” to pursue as a project.

1998- Current car was located through the internet. It was is Afton, WY and was a yellow 307/2bbl RS car with black stripes a black interior, a white top and factory air conditioning. It was in solid shape and a running and driving car with around 120,000 miles. According to the body tag it was built in the fourth week of September at the Norwood, Ohio assembly plant. It was driven to Georgia by COMP employee Chris Brown three days after it was delivered to COMP in Memphis.


The car was taken to Carlos Sanders of Atlanta Street Rods in Commerce, Georgia in April of 1998 to be built into a Power Tour car and to be presented to Scooter in 1998. The goal was a solid driver with an LT1 and an overdrive to pay homage to his old drag car. Things got out of hand and it ended up with a radical new-for-the-time 1st gen SB2 NASCAR engine featuring 674hp and 554lb.ft. of torque. A Richmond six-speed was added. The front suspension was converted to coilovers, and a Currie 9-inch rear with 4.10 gears was built and hung on a fabricated tri-link by Atlanta Street Rods. Baer disc brakes were added. Butch Bass supplied the 17” RK-series BBS wheels, Richard Childress Racing rebuilt the steering box. The Camaro was painted white with a solid black vinyl top and matching interior from Year One.

Car delivered from Atlanta Street rods to John Lingenfelter on July 20th, 1998. Lingenfelter built an 11.0:1 compression 410ci small block with a Bowtie block, 3.750” Lunati crank, 6” Eagle rods, a COMP Cam, Comp’s Winston Cup valve springs, an SB2 intake and matching cylinder heads, and a 750cfm Gary Williams carb. A billet serpentine belt drive system from KRC was used.

Car was scheduled to be picked up for the Summer run of the 1999 Power Tour. Chris Brown came down with adult chicken pox just prior to leaving, and Scooter Brothers and James Fry drove to GA in the red Astro van to collect the car the night before the Power Tour. The car was in 500 pieces, but Carlos said it would be ready in the morning. Scooter looked around and said “No it’s not,” and did the Power Tour in the Astro Van.

It was completed in time for the 2nd Power Tour in the fall of 1999 and driven from Fitchburg, Massachusetts to Tampa Florida.
 

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1999- Second Refurbish at Davis Body Shop in May of 1999.




Car fell out of trailer on way to a Power Tour. Straps came loose, car bounced back and forth inside trailer, beat the rear door open and rolled out. Caught on header flanges and was stopped on door at speed. Cars pulled alongside to alert driver to pull over.

Camaro taken to Davis Body Shop and repainted, this time with Violet Pearl added to the white, and black stripes added. Interior upgraded to hound’s tooth inserts and top upgraded to Haartz cloth. Carb switched to a one-off EFI system. Detroit Speed tubular A-arms added to front suspension.


1999- 2010- Camaro driven on eight or ten Power Tours over the years until 2010. It came back with body damage on the front valence panel, driver’s front fender, and rear quarter and a dead cylinder in the engine. Additionally the coilovers in the front had pushed through the shock towers and separated from the subframe.

2011-ish? Car partially disassembled to install Heidt’s front subframe. Mocked into place, dash removed, engine and transmission also removed. Stored in R&D area for several years on car skates and under a car cover.

2016- Car to be refurbished at V8 Speed & Resto and presented to Scooter Brothers at 40th Anniversary event.
 

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Here are some pics of the first restoration of the Camaro back in ‘98. It was a complete tear-down and repaint, with the Lingenfelter SB2 small-block and FAST XFI Fuel Injection installed in the restored subframe.











 

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Nice story. You mention red pinstripe on the SS stripes but the car in the rendering does NOT ave SS stripes?
 

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Honestly after seeing the work you guys do on youtube I'm glad you'll be making a build thread! Can't wait to see some progress!
Thank you for the kind words!

Nice story. You mention red pinstripe on the SS stripes but the car in the rendering does NOT ave SS stripes?
True enough, these are Z/28 stripes.
 

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Overall, the car is in really good shape. It is not rusty, the floors are solid, and the body is pretty straight.



The COMP team does not want a show car that requires special care and attention, rather, they want a nice and clean Camaro that looks and performs well to showcase their latest products as they cruise on road-going events all over the US. This car might also be used for some R&D for new COMP product offerings.



The fit is basically original, and the car has a few dings and dents. They wish to keep the overall scheme of the car, with the white exterior, black stripes, black top, and RS package.

 

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Or strategy to restore this Camaro is a little different considering our timeframe is short. The body appears to be in very good condition, so we began by disassembling the interior and some of the exterior items on the car. Kelle removed the lights, wiring, bumpers, trim, etc.





Typically, we would disassemble the car all the way to a bare shell on a complete restoration. In this case, however, we intend to leave the body shell assembled so that it can go into the bodywork process faster. The other consideration is that COMP isn’t looking for an over-the-top show car with this one. They want a very clean, detailed, COMPetent car that will make for a great platform to showcase their family of products. This means we can approach the car differently than a show car.

Original A/C car



RS vacuum cannister and the “cocktail shakers”, convertible only dampers designed to minimize vibration and chassis oscillation.

 

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We want to keep this thing as a roller so that our body shop can mechanically strip the paint with D. A. sanders, perform any metalwork needed, adjust panels for fit, and begin the bodywork process.

The glass was removed, but we noted the rich history of events in which this car has participated!





 

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The car came in riding on a brand-new Heidt’s front subframe. The hard brake lines have been run, the suspension is in-place save for the coil-over shock and spring assemblies, and the brakes are assembled.





However, the rear suspension left something to be desired. It was a scratch built 4-link design installed long before any “kit” type 4-link suspension systems were available for these cars. In addition, the MIG welder must have been out of shielding gas, as we discovered that the welds were very porous on the brackets.







 

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The existing rear suspension is not something you’d want behind 600+ horsepower!

The control arm mounting tabs were also scratch-built, and were made from thin steel that did not inspire confidence to drive this car hard. The car does have a Currie 9-inch rear axle assembly, which we will re-use with the new rear suspension.




With the Camaro on the lift, our team disassembled the rear 4-link removed the welded on mounts from the frame.




We will be replacing the rear suspension with a new 4-link kit from Heidt’s.. The kit is very complete and claims to be a mostly bolt-in installation. It uses brackets that attach to the frame rails to mount the 4-links, a bolt-in crossmember for the shock mounts, and weld-on control arm brackets on the rear axle housing. It also uses a panhard bar to locate the rear axle laterally. Rear suspension control is handled by a set of adjustable coil over shocks absorbers and a splined stabilizer bar.

 

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The Heidt’s rear suspension bolts to the stock Camaro frame rails. In this pc, the upper control arm and upper shock mount brackets are set in place, loosely held by the rear axle bump-stop bracket. Holes will be drilled in the rail and the floor to secure these in place.



Here, the driver side bracketry is bolted in place. Note how the upper control arm bracket bolts through the floor.



http://v8tvshow.com/V8TV_2/images/CPG_Camaro_5/1969_Camaro_CPG_09-17-15_012.jpg/img]

The bolts protruding through the floor appear a little long, we’ll install shorter bolts when we complete the final assembly of the car.

The upper control arm bracket features a little “kick-out” bend to allow for the nut to be installed on the upper arm bolt.

[img]http://v8tvshow.com/V8TV_2/images/CPG_Camaro_5/1969_Camaro_CPG_09-17-15_006.jpg

The rear sway bar crossmember is bolted to the upper rear brackets.



 

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Over in the metal shop, we attacked the old 4-link mounts on the Currie 9-inch rear end. One of the first things we noticed is the seal on the center section… if you’ve used this much silicone sealer, you’ve used too much.



The existing mounts needed to come off so we could install the new brackets from Heidt’s, A stock 1969 Camaro uses leaf springs, so these brackets would not be present.



Note that the brake line is held in place with hose clamps, which is a common way to run them with add-on disc brakes. However, we’ll weld the tabs on with the new brake lines.



The lower brackets need to go also.



A quick start with the HTP Microcut plasma cutter knocks off the big parts…



And the rest is ground smooth with an air grinder and 3M Rolloc discs.

 

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Heidt’s rear sway bar tabs welded in place with the HTP MIG 200 welder. We chose to MIG these in place to match the MIG welding on the rest of the housing, as well as to expedite the process.



New lower bracket installed on axle housing, which will allow the upper and lower control arms to attach to the rear axle housing:



Panhard bar bracket welded in place:



 

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The rear was then raised up under the car and the control arms attached. There are bushings that center the arms in the pockets, and the arms have adjustable ends to achieve the proper pinion angle.



The front lower control arm mount uses the original leaf spring pocket to keep it secure. We’ll be running shorter bolts on these parts for final assembly as well.





Next, we applied some ARP Ultra-Torque lube on the threads of the aluminum coil-over shock absorbers to install the spring retaining collar without galling the threads.



Heidt’s chose a 300-pound spring rate for this Camaro application.



The shocks are adjustable units.



The shocks and panhard bar installed. The angle looks a little funky because the rear suspension is at full-droop, even though the coil-overs limit total travel.





The car will now be back on it’s wheels and will be moved into the body shop for bodywork. It’s a little out-of-order for us, but we’re on deadline and have a plan.
 

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Here in the V8 body shop, the Camaro will be further stripped of bolt-ons, and we’ll test out the paint to see what’s beneath.







This was a neat little detail behind the license plate bracket…





We started in the back buzzing down the paint and filler from the previous paint job with a DA sander. The good thing is that the car isn’t very rusty.



 

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However, we found some dents in the lower part of the quarters, and on the body line. We weren’t very concerned about them, but we did note that the steel is a little thin from being ground by previous bodywork.



Exposing a little more of the quarter revealed a previous patch panel just in front of the wheel.





The outline is the shape of a panel Adam planned to repair the rust and existing patch.



Adam used some body hammers, the English wheel, and other techniques to fabricate a repair panel.





 

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The new panel is held in place with Cleco clamps, and then a series of tack welds was used to weld it into place. The tack welds prevent heat buildup and warpage.



After the welding, some careful grinding blends the new panel into the old making a seamless repair.



Meanwhile, the body shop crew began sanding the paint with a dual action sander. We know this car is pretty solid, so it does not require stripping to bare steel.





The lower valance panel was removed, stripped, and body worked as needed.



Any problem areas are repaired (like the quarter panels), but the front sheet metal seems very clean. The plan is to leave the sheet-metal installed, get the panels aligned and straight, and prime the outside of the car. Then the car will be block sanded.





The body panels will then be removed, and the jambs and backsides of panels addressed This way, we will only be removing the panels and reassembling the car once because this job is very time sensitive.
 
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