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Good morning gearheads. I’m new to the forum so bear with me. At 61 the rush of driving this car makes me feel like a teenager again! I’ve owned it for 2 1/2 years now and am thinking of some upgrades such as engine and suspension. It’s a well mannered 454 with a Tremec 5 speed and 3.08 gears behind it. I’m always looking at ideas from others so have at it! Don’t worry about the cost just yet. I’ll elaborate later!
 

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Welcome to TC and that is a sweet lookin’ 69.

So what kind of outcome do you want after the changes. You wanna go supper fast in a straight line? Wants to burn up some twisty roads? Autocross? Knowing what you want to do will get you some better ideas for the group here. Alos, what if anything, has been done already? And some specs on the engine? Cam, heads, carb or EFI? Where are you starting from?

With 308s and a 5 speed do you have to go 80+ mph to even use 5th? ;)
 

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Based on your engine/trans/rear gear...My $.02 if you just want faster acceleration is get 3:55 or 3:73 gears vs the 3:08s you have now

There are RPM calculators online you can enter your tire size, final gear ration of trans (5th) and X rear end gear ratio so you can see what RPM at what MPH you get with a particular rear gear ratio
 

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Welcome WilJoe, to the club.
Nice ride and a rear gear change maybe in order. My suggestion is 3.73:1.
 

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Nice looking car. While I agree your 3.08 gears need to be upgraded, don’t make a change till you are clear on your goals. Ideally pick a 1/4 mile trap speed target post engine updates , rpm and size in 4th gear.

With your larger wheel sizes I’m assuming suspension upgrades will be next. Be awarel that ideal handling and drag suspension are quite different. Set your goals before making changes.

If you are upgrading suspension don’t overlook brakes. Can’t tell from pictures what you currently have.
 

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Thanks to all for your replies. Yes, it’s a cruiser. I’m thinking that the builder wanted it to be a little more economical on a road trip. 13-15 mpg is it but I don’t care about that! Don’t know a thing about the motor except to say that it idles nicely when it’s warm and has good power through the gears. It has the FAST 2.0 setup and other than the handheld display being inoperative now, it’s been trouble free. Yea I can run it up to 80 then dump it into 5th. That’s when things get a little uneasy. On the interstate it’s fine but if I’m on a not so nice 2 lane road it’s a little scary. I’m thinking the brake setup is original to the car with disc on the front and drums behind.
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Well functioning factory discs should be pretty good. Note: well functioning.

What do you want to achieve with the car? If you enjoy it now, just leave it be. But, if there is something else you want out of it, what is that?
 

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More power but I sure don’t want to give up the reliability. I realize that power comes with a cost other than money. The ultimate car would be about double the power (LT5 engine) and a superior handling package (new subframes, brakes and rear goodies) but that’s way out of my price range. I’m sure if I started to tweak the old big block very much I would probably give up that reliability.
IMO the brakes that are on it are only ok.
You’re so right Bruce. I enjoy it so much just as it is but just know that it can be more.
 

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More power but I sure don’t want to give up the reliability. I realize that power comes with a cost other than money. The ultimate car would be about double the power (LT5 engine) and a superior handling package (new subframes, brakes and rear goodies) but that’s way out of my price range. I’m sure if I started to tweak the old big block very much I would probably give up that reliability.
IMO the brakes that are on it are only ok.
You’re so right Bruce. I enjoy it so much just as it is but just know that it can be more.
Cool. Nice thing about a big block is you can get some really fun HP out of it with out it being to nasty for the street. Not the 755hp of the LT5 but realistically, on the street all that power just gets converted to tire smoke. You could probably really wake it up with a new cam, intake and maybe aluminum heads and still have a very streetable car. Is all that stuff basically stock now?

If you want it to handle better, I upgraded mine with the full QA1 Stage 2 kit in the front along with taller upper ball joints. I went with 500lb springs which is significantly stiffer than stock, even for a big block. But the car turns great. I haven't touched the rear yet so its only going to get better. I'm going to drop it about 1.5" with a stiffer rear leaf. I'd love to go 4-link but I think I'll keep it in the stock configuration for now to save a little coin.

You can upgrade to bigger discs in the front, something like a Wilwood 12.18" or 12.88" and similar in the rear but you'd have to also step up to a larger wheel, 17" at least I think. You can also go with wider tires front and rear.

So pic an area of highest priority and start there. JMO, but since you already have a BBC, I'd probably work on suspension and brakes first. When you do get around to making more power, you are going to want to be able to control it.

As far as rear end gears go, again JMO, but you don't need to go all the way down to 3.73s. I have 3.42s in my with a Muncie 4-speed and I like it a lot. With your lower first gear in the TKO 5-speed and the torque of the 454 it should be even better. And you'll still get a decent cruise RPM on the highway. That change alone will give it more span of the line and at low speeds. Note that if you seriously upgrade the power, you might need to upgrade the rear end. If it was a factory bog block car, I think those already had a 12 bolt but if its 50 years old, it might be time for freshening up.
 

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you will "feel" more power, and see the results with time slips or stop watch or the infamous "Butt O Meter", with the rear gear change which will allow your current motor to accelerate the car faster and smoke the tires into next week if you desire. With the 5th gear you can afford the RPM's

Gears are around $200ish and install is generally around $350-$450 from a qualified shop. Also about $100 for a master install (bearing) kit, fluids
 

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All great stuff guys. Again thanks! Concerning the engine, it’s pretty much stock as far as I know. Would a cam, intake and heads change as mentioned maintain its reliability? It’s still a manifold exhaust system. Been thinking headers also.
It’s a 12 bolt rear. I’ve pounded it frequently with no trouble other than a clutch that I changed last winter. I like the idea of changing the gears.
On the front it’s had some work done with tubular upper A arms. I’ll get some pics of that out. I don’t know much about suspensions.
Brake upgrades would be nice also.
 

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Welcome to the club. Very nice Camaro and I must say, you are enjoying it as anybody should.
Keep it up.
 

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You are 61 years old. Not sure how you cannot know about these cars. I never worried about reliability with a stock car. I've been in this game for decades and built my first car on gravel at the age of 14. Instead of dumping more money into your 69, just drive it, have fun and buy a brand new second car if you want modern tech. My buddy and his wife own a large collection and she just bought a 2020 500HP shaker hood Challenger. She also loves her other old cars. Yes guys, there are women out there who like cars too. I get a kick out of guys who don't want wives to know about their hobby.
 

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All great stuff guys. Again thanks! Concerning the engine, it’s pretty much stock as far as I know. Would a cam, intake and heads change as mentioned maintain its reliability? It’s still a manifold exhaust system. Been thinking headers also.
It’s a 12 bolt rear. I’ve pounded it frequently with no trouble other than a clutch that I changed last winter. I like the idea of changing the gears.
On the front it’s had some work done with tubular upper A arms. I’ll get some pics of that out. I don’t know much about suspensions.
Brake upgrades would be nice also.
Tubular uppers work best with lowers so you can get the most caster.
 

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You are 61 years old. Not sure how you cannot know about these cars. I never worried about reliability with a stock car. I've been in this game for decades and built my first car on gravel at the age of 14. Instead of dumping more money into your 69, just drive it, have fun and buy a brand new second car if you want modern tech. My buddy and his wife own a large collection and she just bought a 2020 500HP shaker hood Challenger. She also loves her other old cars. Yes guys, there are women out there who like cars too. I get a kick out of guys who don't want wives to know about their hobby.
Just a little background here. I came from a rather “under funded” family. As a teenager I was asked to provide labor on the family farm so we could survive which we did. There was no time or money for tinkering with cars. I scooped tons of pigshit and stacked millions of hay bales while skipping most high school sports. I’m just now getting to the place where I can put a little money and time into a hobby. I agree with you somewhat regarding just leaving my Camaro just as it is but there’s a part of me that wants to make it better so that’s why I’m asking the community about it. There won’t be a new super car in my garage. Just too many other financial commitments to address.
 

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Nice car Wiljoe765. This post might reach into some areas the crowd may cringe at. ;)

I too threw and stacked more bales of hay than I care to think back on. :)

I've been working a job since I was 15 years old and that job allowed me to purchase a 1967 Camaro SS350 from the driveway of a local LE officer's driveway back in 1973 for $950.00. These first Gen Camaros have been in my blood and mind ever since. I sold that Camaro in 1978 (to get a 4X4 truck, I lived in Utah) ... the buyer totaled the Camaro out two weeks later. :(

Your big block and five speed should be good. Those 3.08 rear gears are something to think about though. What you change them out to would depend on what the O.D. ratio in that tranny are ... if you asked me.

I sold my Mach1 about a year ago. I started it out with a well built 351C and it was a ton of fun, though loud and obnoxious on the highway, 411:1 gears in the back saw to that. I finally decided I wanted something a bit more well mannered. I built a nice moderate 460 for the car and put the factory 3.25:1 gears back in the rear. The car was a dream to drive after that. It had all the power I could ever need and it was all now useable low end torque, not screaming high RPM H.P. Keep in mind I had just the factory toploader 4 speed in it, so no O. D.

Anyway, my point is, don't underestimate what you have. A simple change of rear gears might make all the difference in the world.
 

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I agree with the others suggestions. First, make a gear change between 342's and 373's and then go from there. I run 410's with my big block with overdrive trans and it make my butt want to grab the seat when I open her up.
 

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Welcome to the funhouse. I like your choice of color and engine! Wonder why?
Focus on the front suspension if it’s a cruiser and you want better road manners. Add a decent sway bar, talk upper BJs would help but I think you need tubular lower arms to compliment the uppers and BJs. Adding a quicker steering box helps too. -Mike

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