Jim J

Second time around Camaro

When I graduated high school and started college I had been looking for an affordable performance car project. Now I didn't want any old muscle car, it had to be reliable and cheap to build and maintain. To me that meant Chevy, but not any Chevy, it had to an early second generation Camaro. The sleek lines and the much improved suspension as well as front disc brakes for the drivability I desired. My only requirements were no 307 and it had to be a 4 speed.

After combing the classifieds for weeks in search of a car at my price that hadn't been totally flogged into scrap I had finally found one. A faded red '70 with a 350, Muncie 4 speed and 3.42:1 posi. Now the engine was weak and the clutch shot but the trans and rear end were solid and the body and interior were rear decent for a ten year old car. I quickly rebuilt the small block and installed a high performance clutch then repainted her. I finished college driving my Camaro and drove her to and from work during the few years following. I began dating my soon to become wife in that car and taught her how to drive a manual trans. But with marriage we soon had a baby on the way and the thought of tamer kid friendly and fuel efficient transportation started making more sense.

I soon realized what a huge mistake I had made. I spent the next 20 years going from '71 Cuda to '64 GTO to '69 Road Runner with many others in the mix, none ever held my attention for long nor did they offer the same driving pleasure as my Camaro. In 2003 I came across an ad for a '70 Camaro that had been stripped for bracket racing many years before but hadn't been tubbed or otherwise cut up or mutilated. The young man selling it had spent a considerable sum purchasing restoration parts but needed to sell the car before he could finish her to fund a business opportunity. I fell in love all over again and spent the next eight years on and off restoring the Camaro just how I wanted it. I went through the 350 making it more street drivable and ditched the TH350 in favor of a built 700R4 and added power steering. I found all the interior pieces I needed online and had her painted a beautiful red with black rally stripes. My wife of thirty years and me enjoy her every chance we get and love cruising her along the west coast. This time I'm keeping it!

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