I had a 72 Camaro when I went into the Police Academy, and now almost 30 years later I wanted another one to celebrate my impending retirement. Did the research, found what I thought was "The One" and made the purchase.
I probably should have understood that this wasn't the right car for me when the delivery guy wrecked it taking it off the trailer. $3000 in damage later, I survived that only to find out 500 miles later that the "new" engine wasn't quite as new as you would imagine. It's amazing what a can of paint can cover up! (Before you ask, yes, I paid for an inspection of the vehicle prior to the purchase, but there was no way he could have caught this disaster.)
Anyhow, the car was basically in good shape body wise. And being one of only 967 RS/SS 402 Big Block combinations built in 72 a true U VIN, I still thought it was worth the effort. The car was numbers matching, so I began the quest to make it right. With the help of John Alberigi at John's Cages in Ft. Lauderdale, the 402 was brought back to life in a manner that even the most exacting of perfectionists would appreciate. John also went through the "new" M20 4 speed making sure that the matched drivetrain would run better than a sewing machine. I didn't want to leave anything to chance.
A Custom Restoration of the original Quadrajet by Sean Murphy Induction in California, spec'd out for the engine combination I was building was the icing on the cake. If you ever have an occasion to need a restoration rebuild, look no further. The engine fired on the dyno without a single adjustment to the carb throughout the whole pull regimen.
This car has truly been a labor of love. I have been an early 2nd Gen Camaro guy my whole life and this one just makes that an even more sound feeling. Nothing can beat the reverberations of a big block pouring through 2 1/2 half in pipes, waking up the neighborhood with a "Daddy's come out to play!" beckoning, daring the new Mustangs and Camaros to even open their garages...
I have had a lot of fun doing the research, scouring the internet for rare hard to find parts, and reassembling this car to a better than factory condition making it a blast to drive. American Autowire in New Jersey provided GM spec'd wiring harnesses for everything on the car. Their attention to detail made the rewire a dream. Since the car has factory air, which makes it an even more rare combination, I have actually gotten my wife to enjoy the rides.
It's not quite done yet...I will be putting it back in the shop for a complete new paint job...another one of those "new" items that winded up being just a little better than a scuff and shoot...then it's off to the shows!
The best part of this work hasn't been the car, but the relationships I have made along the way. John, Jesse and Rocky at John's Cages Machine Shop were a veritable treasure trove of information and taught me more than I could ever imagine. Josh at American Autowire was always there to answer technical questions regarding the wiring and the Whole Crew at Keith's Customs, Keith Pisut Owner, were as meticulous as you an imagine...and the cars they had in their shop were a joy to view.
I look forward to a few balmy nights on the Ft. Lauderdale strip, burning some fossil fuel and turning a few heads. All made possible by new friends and great craftsmen.