SEMA feature car / Featured in Super Chevy, Camaro Performers and Super Rod
Winner of multiple national awards
427 cubic inch GM Performance Parts ZL1 V8 / Electronic fuel injection
Richmond 5-speed manual transmission
Custom interior / Vintage Air conditioning / Modern audio
Modified body / Torch Red paint / Haartz cloth top
17 and 18-inch Budnik Gasser wheels
Power rack-and-pinion steering / Wilwood 4-wheel disc brakes
Sale includes build photos and copies of the car's magazine features
We sell a lot of custom cars, and they're all well done. Every once in a while, though, we come across one that belongs in the "best of" section of our superlative collection. We've even had a pair of Ridler great 8's - we know fantastic when we see it. This amazing '69 Camaro SS/RS more than qualifies: If it didn't knock down a show trophy either they weren't handing them out or the car stayed home. This is a no excuses, perfectly executed show titan with enough hardware and custom touches to leave you speechless!
Stand outside and look at the mint, and deceptively stock looking body. Chevrolet Torch Red is the color, covering the absolutely top level bodywork. Many show cars have perfect paint, but what separates this car from the rest is in the details. Start with the fog lights in the factory turn signal location. ZL1 cars had a simple cowl induction hood while SS cars came with chrome louvers - Watson's combined the two seamlessly. Convertibles all have tops, but not all convertibles use German Haartz cloth. Out back, other cars may use sequential LED taillights, but this car's are frenched in, as are the exhaust pipe notches in the rear valance. Check out the notched spoiler with its integrated third brake light, too. This car's color grabs you immediately but there's so much going on that your eyes need a fourth and fifth take! Obviously on a car of this caliber every piece of chrome and stainless trim is near perfect - did it even need to be brought up?
Look between the fenders and you'll find an impressive engine that, right after its construction, took home three awards. The HUGE news here is the very rare and desirable GMPP ZL1 aluminum 427 block. The modern day ZL1 is built on the original tooling of the legendary race engine, and installing one here is the perfect way to honor those select few track terrors released in 1969. A GMPP steel crank, H beam rods and forged JE pistons swing around, working with big aluminum Dart Pro 1 heads to offer up 10.5:1 compression. Trick part #2 is on top - that ultra cool Hilborn injection manifold, converted to EFI with custom fuel rails and tuning by American Speed in Moline, IL. No other manifold from the 60's screams power like those stacks, and they're simply unbeatable when highly polished and plated! Comp Cams supplied an appropriately racy roller cam and lifter set while MSD was tapped for ignition duties. A fully polished Vintage Air Front Runner A/C and pulley set up dresses the front of the mill while a Be Cool radiator and twin SPAL fans keep everything cool. Moon polished and painted valve covers work with Jet Hot-coated headers to finish off the look. Dropping that motor within standard wheelhouses wouldn't be right, though, so the car's body shop, Watson's Hot Rod Shop fabbed up the trick inner fenders, fully shaved firewall and core support panels. This list is by no means comprehensive - you'll have to spend an hour or two in here to find most of the details!
Unreal hardware is underneath - world beating show cars don't stop with pretty paint. Wayne Doe supplied one of his trick tubular front subframes, set up for adjustable Ridetech coil-overs, C5 running gear with power rack and pinion steering, Delrin/aluminum bushings and Wilwood polished four piston calipers and 12" rotors. Out back, Watson's fabbed in the rear half of the C5's independent suspension, cut down for this car, and aided by Heim joints, high durometer bushings and two more Ridetech coil-overs. The result is show stopping looks and corner carving ability - that's where top level cars excel. Fully Jet Hot-coated exhaust provides a nasty soundtrack while 17x8 and 18x11 Budnik Gasser wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 tires (215/45/ZR17 front and 275/40/ZR18 rear) put the power sent through the Richmond five speed to the ground. Detroit Speed and Engineering sent up the rear minitubs and sub frame connectors to pull it all together, and Mike Knight laid down the paint and clear under here as well as he did on the top - it's perfect.
The final piece of this Camaro's résumé is its amazing interior. Rickie Rods outdid themselves in fabrication work, leather and black tweed. The seats are '96 Camaro units, which are no big deal - but after being disassembled, cut down, reshaped and reupholstered, they certainly are now. There's a custom full length floor console for the 5-speed stick, an integrated armrest and switches for Nu-Relics power windows. One-off door panels frame the sides while high quality carpet lies below. A Budnik wheel on an Ididit tilt column is expected, but the trimmed, molded and modified '03 Malibu dash certainly isn't. After getting the panel just right Rickie sent it to Just Dashes for a full cover - there are no seams, no lumps and zero signs the dash didn't grow there. They even fabbed up a filler panel between the dash and windshield with an integrated defroster vent. A Pioneer head unit works with tucked away speakers in the interior and a Kenwood Excelon amp and sub in the matching tweed trunk for high powered clarity. The radio and Vintage Air controls fit in the factory Malibu locations while a full set of Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges fit in a custom dash panel. Billet and acrylic courtesy lights flood the foot wells and just draw you in.
Let's go over the major awards. Obviously, nothing beat this car at a local show.
Goodyear booth car at SEMA in Las Vegas
Mothers Shine Award at SEMA in Las Vegas
Coddington Pro's Pick at Goodguys in Kansas City
Best of Show at World of Wheels in Milwaukee
Class Winner at the Car Craft Nationals in St Paul
Best Engine at the Car Craft Nationals in St Paul
National Grand Champion at the Hot Rod Supernationals in Springfield
Super Chevy Top 10 Cars of the Year
Best of Show at Super Chevy in Indianapolis
Best of Show at Super Chevy in Joliet
Awarded 999 out of 1,000 points at Chevy Vettefest in Chicago
Fine 9 at Darryl Starbird's in Tulsa
Best Engine at Darryl Starbird's in Tulsa
Naturally, all those awards get you slots in magazines.
Featured in the February, 2006 edition of Super Chevy Magazine
Featured in the November, 2006 edition of Camaro Performers Magazine
Featured in the August, 2007 edition of Super Rod Magazine
Is this the ultimate '69 Camaro ever built? To quote Chip Foose: "this is the finest custom Camaro I've ever laid eyes on". When a guy like Chip pays you a compliment like that, you know it must be something special. If you're into show winners that list above has to impress you. If you're into engineering details and hidden surprises, you're sure to give it the nod. If you're into power, control and performance, a Hilborn setup on a ZL1 motor coupled with a C5 chassis has to be at the top of your list. Since this car seamlessly and perfectly combines the best of all of these elements, how can it not be the best? If you are the kind of buyer that appreciates, owns and wants the best of the best, this is it!