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Discussion Starter #1
When I moved my family to Ohio for work, I wound up with some extra garage space and got the idea that I could fill it up with a project car that I could work on with my son Jake. Jake was 14 at the time we started and it was a good opportunity for him to learn some man-skills. I had worked on cars here and there for small stuff like brakes and general maintenance, but how hard could a total restoration really be, right? I mentioned the idea to my wife and she was on board, though neither of us had a clue of the time commitment. Before I could tell her what car I had in mind, she said “a 60’s Camaro?”, so I was off on a search for one. I looked locally for a few weeks and finally came across this one in Green Springs, OH about an hour and half from my house. The owner is a great guy and said he bought it as a project for him and his son to work on, but it ended up being just him doing all the work and he was ready to let it go. He wanted to sell it as just a roller, but once I heard it fire up with the 396 big block, there wasn’t going to be deal without the engine. He was setting it up to be a pro-street type of car with big power and high gear ratio. Either he or the owner before him had done a bunch of body work to it – new quarters, floor pans, door skins, and he had a front end and trunk lid from a donor car (none of which had ever been fit up – rookie mistake #1 for me). The front clip was separate from the car and stored in a barn, so I guess you could call this a partial “barn-find’. Like I said, the previous owner was fantastic to deal with, provided all the receipts so I could identify the parts really well, and has provided lots of important info long after the sale. He wants to come by and see the car when it’s done and I plan to hold him to it.
Note: I have learned a lot from this forum and it helped me out of a lot of jams, so I feel obligated to post some of my experience in hopes that it helps the next guy along.
 

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Welcome aboard.

Looks like a great FS project so long as the S does his part. Lol
 

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Hi Les. If you were looking for a shade of yellow that reaches out and grabs your eyeballs you got it. Welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So we got it home and started mocking it up. The previous owner provided two hoods – one flat one from the donor car and a fiberglass 2” cowl hood that was chopped up for a blower. Once we decided to go with a new 2” cowl hood, these two became garage art. Some tape and a few cans of Rustoleum and…
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The big block wasn’t anywhere close to fitting under a 2” cowl hood with the existing intake. It came with a Holley 750 Double Pumper carburetor (square flange) and an Edelbrock Victor Jr 454 intake which has a dominator carburetor flange and those two don’t directly mate up, so it also had an adaptor spacer. It would have needed a 6” cowl to fit all that, so we decided the best option was to replace the intake with an Edelbrock RPM Performer, so the carburetor mates right up and we don’t need the spacer and it all tucks in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don’t really like puzzles, but this was a huge one at times. Another rookie mistake for us was the fact that we bought a mostly disassembled car and wound up with boxes of parts that we hadn’t taken off and never saw installed. Combine that with never having disassembled a car from this era (or any for that matter) and it was a big challenge just understanding what the parts were. Best tip I got was to get a Classic Industries Camaro parts catalog and just try to match the pictures to the part and I spent many hours doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jake and I struggled to decide how far down to take the car before building it back up. Originally we planned to leave the engine in place and work the body around it, but finally decided that the subframe needed too much work to let it go forward as it was. Also, the firewall was painted yellow and it was going to be tough covering all that with the engine in place, so we started the disassembly:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The underside of the body was freshly sprayed with undercoating when we got the car and it looked good. The previous owner said he used Flexseal for it. Confused as to why that would be used I repeated “Flexseal?”, and he said “yeah, you know with the commercials with that fat guy”. We still laugh about the “fat guy” commercial every time we see one on TV. Anyway, I was a skeptic and was intent on stripping it off and respraying it, but I was quickly won over by how hard it was to get it off. I could barely get it to come off after hitting it hard with a flapper disc on the grinder. I decided it was good and just touched up some of the missed spots after we removed all hard lines and mounting tabs. I assume Flexseal is a similar product as any of the other rubberized underbody sprays you can buy, but it’s twice the price. I ended up lightly spraying over it with Rustoleum undercoating, just to knock the gleam off because Flexseal is shiney like a gloss black.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We changed out the front springs and shocks with QA1 coil overs. It is still difficult to get the spring compressed without the engine in place, so we had to get creative with the weight set. That’s the most use those weights have ever seen!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Jeep Grand Cherokee quick ratio steering gearbox swap (same turning radius as stock with higher effort/road feel and 12.7:1 ratio) has been well-documented across many forums and we did that here. Some people swear you have to get one from a junkyard, but I took my chances on one from Advance Auto. Stripped the paint, polished the aluminum cover, and added some chrome bolts to make it look a little nicer. You see a rag joint in the photo, but I changed the steering column and added a u-joint coupler later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There is very little of anything left original on the car and it didn’t start life as any special model, so we didn’t pay much attention to making things look or feel original. We are just going for a clean-looking, custom hot rod.
 

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We searched around and visited 8 or 10 shops before deciding on one in Akron. The owner seemed honest and quoted me a price that was similar to what I had been hearing everywhere else, but their finished products looked a lot better. It turned out to be a wild ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The previous owner overhauled the engine and said it had come from a 69 Chevelle and the code stamps proved that out when cross-referenced. It is an L78 code with original rating of 375hp. It doesn’t match the car, but it’s good to know it came out of something respectable. It has a brand new Trick Flow Power Oval 280 top end kit.At this point, I thought the engine was in its final resting place until the car came back
 

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Discussion Starter #17
It sat there until a friend convinced me that we shouldn’t leave any stones unturned on a project like this and that we should overhaul it. We seemed to have plenty of time and since I overhauled a 3.5hp Briggs lawnmower engine in high school freshman shop class then obviously I am supremely qualified! “Fortune favors the bold”, so we tore into it and it turned out to be a good decision. The piston domes were too large for the chamber and the exhaust valves were hitting them. All of the pistons looked like this photo. The pistons also appeared to have cracks, so they had to get scrapped along with the exhaust valves.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The bearing journals on the crank were all scored and the cylinders all had scoring as well that had to be machined out. The engine had already been bored .030” over, but it took another .060” over to clean them up. Now the engine is basically a 414 cu-in. I took it to Gable’s Engine and Machine in Akron to get the machining done. Rick Gable has been doing this for many years and he was very straight with me and honest.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
When reassembling the rockers, Jake found one of the rocker pivots to be broken. It was a good find because that would have failed very shortly. Ignore the engine overhaul book in the photo that we were following step-by-step religiously – we were only using it to protect the engine from dust.
 

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