Project Camaro – Vintage – Part III

The work continues on what is now the bare bones hulk of a running car that we had just a few short weeks ago. We are making really good progress at this point, having removed the engine and transmission assembly, the steering, brake system, and gutting out the doors. Lexan replacement side windows are on their way and we will begin the installation of the 8-point roll bar this week. We have some bodywork to do that presents some challenges and as with any project like this, you play a certain amount of the Chinese puzzle routine. You might be ready to bolt in certain parts and pieces, but you really need to do about four other things first or you just have to pull it all apart again.


Not showing in this shot are the motor mounts, which ended up having all but one of the 6 bolts that held them in cut apart. With the lower control arms in the way, we simply couldn’t get a wrench on the bottom nuts. Thank goodness for compressors and cut-off tools!


If you go back and look at some of the earlier photos, you will see that there has been some significant work done here. We have completely removed everything that was bolted down (and a lot that wasn’t) along with gutting the doors. Fiberglas doors would probably weigh just a bit less, but even my son was impressed with how light these are now that the guts of them and the stock windows are gone. Remember the old hot rod addage, every 100 pounds of weight is equal to a tenth in elapsed time. And it’s usually easier to cut a 100 pounds than it is to make the horsepower needed to gain that 10th.


We put the rollbar in to see how much we would have to trim it down, looks like about a 1/4″ is going to do the trick. The plates that go under this main hoop are an 1/8″ thick and we need about another 1/8″ to gain the clearance to the roof. We should have the rollbar and frame connectors in place over the next two weeks. The rollbar is a Jegs part number while the frame connectors came from Moroso. Quite a bit of work to do, but on these unibody type cars you really don’t have much choice if you really want to get the power to the ground.


You might notice the amount of fingerprints all over the grey primer, that’s from us just working on the car and moving it around when we put it in the garage. We wear mechanics gloves and certainly recommend them for anyone working on a car. The number of cuts and abrasions that it saves you is well worth the price of the gloves themselves.


We have some additional work to do on the frontend components, for one we need to find the right pitman arm for our setup. We need one that is 7 inches long, but also pre-bent. We will check with Borgeson to see if they have what we need and also for the adapter we need to connect our Chassis Engineering steering column to the steering box. We also need to finish taking apart the front end pieces, clean things up, paint them and re-assemble them.


Just getting started on some of the body work that we need, this area and the right front fender are the worst areas of the car. It doesn’t show up too well in photos, but the lower portion of this fender panel behind the wheelwell is pushed in pretty good and the little shiny ridge that you can see running at an upward angle at the top of the fender is the result of that push. I have to pull out that bottom area and as I get that done, the pressure should be relieved on the top area and that ridge should come down some. There is also quite a bit of stretched metal right where the body line is running. That is going to take some careful shrinking work to get the body line right. And as we are going with a 5 Gallon RCI fuel cell sitting in the back “trunk” area of the car, the fuel filler door area is going to be filled with sheetmetal and smoothed off. We also will be doing the same for the firewall and the front fenders where the stock sidemarker lights would normally be.


Not much sitting behind that front facia now, with most of the metal work removed to save weight. Plus, I like this shot of the car peeking out at you. This is going to be one serious car when we get it done and should be a real player at our local strip. Can’t hardly wait !!


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