So little back ground on the Green Machine
It was purchased in March of 1990 by my wife who was 19 at the time. She needed a car and she had been wanting a 67 or 68 Camaro for a while. It was primer gray with a big dent in the driver's side quarter panel. It had a 327 (or so she was told) with a powerglide automatic. She knew her mom wouldn't understand so she asked her dad to come take a look. He instantly decided it was the car for her (him really) and wrote a check. Later mom freaked out because they didn't have the cash but my wife had a job and got a loan to pay back her father so in the end mom was fine. From there the car followed my wife to Colorado when she went into the Air Force, then back to Olympia when she was sent to Japan. In 1994 the car had some inxsepensive body and paint work done that was one of the cause for the restoration. After 4years of sitting it then had to move across the country to North Carolina where she lived for the next few years. In 1997 she finally came back to Olympia and drove the car from North Carolina taking advantage at the time of the Montana no speed limit law. I met my wife in 1999 and met her car the next day. I approved of both. Later after we were married I decided to do a complete restoration due to the fact that there had been rust that was not addressed and the body work was poor. Having done some work on my 67 Nova the idea was to take advantage of modern technology, but give the car a classic look. The pro touring concepts fit the idea with a budget in mind (budget being a relative word).
The break down:
-Motor 4 bolt 355 6" H beam rods that spent some time at the machine shop to be warmed over
AFR heads 195cc also warmed over
-Trans M21 Muncie
-Front suspension Speed Tech Chicane kit double adj shocks on a custom stk sub frame
AFX Tall drop spinals
-Rear suspension Speed Tech Torque Arm kit and double adj shocks
-Brakes Bear extreme 14" w/ 6 piston
-Steering Unisteer rack
-DSE Mini tub, with custom sub frame connectors
The main idea, a budget minded pro touring build
1) The tear down was the easy part. I bought lots of zip lock style bag and box's to store many of the smaller to medium parts. Labeling the bag of hardware and box by group. This will help keep things in order years down the road when your memory fades
2) Getting the body rust free and metal fixed/ replaced. This was one of the areas that I had a set back. I knew of some of the trouble spots, but that was only about 60% of the problem. The hidden rust or what looked like surface rust was much deeper and the filler was just as bad if not worse. As I replaced metal the poor body work was uncovered and would have never been found with out stripping the car down. The worst was the B pillar, it's welded to the top of the outer rear wheel tub so it's part of the uni body structure and last guy forgot to weld it
. These reasons are why, when buying a classic be very mindful of what you are buying the full story of what you see might not be the whole story.
3) The powertrain. I had most of the motor and trans to complete this and did want to spent the extra $ to go with an LS/ TKO. The LS motors and TKO are not super pricy, but the cost adds up with all the supporting equipment. I spent under what a LS crate motor would cost for my complete powertrain. Budget savings
4) Thinking ahead will help in the future $. I have add some mods to parts of the car that could support an LS swap. I will be adding a new wire harness that supports FI and modules. The added features to things like the fuel tank for this reason. I might never go that route, but really does not add any extra cost to my build at this time.
5) The suspension
Speed Tech because of price and design plus it worked with the 12 bolt I had planned on running. I reused my sub frame saving some $ to spend on brakes later. I took a hard look at were the car was going to spend most of it's time and this became the main reason for customizing the stk frame. AME (Art Morrison) was my first choice, but more then I wanted to spend and was a lot more work.
6) Overall made some mistakes nothing really costly and learned lots to say the least. Everything has it's own difficulties and the hardest part might be the paint because I have only a few hours and small jobs under my belt. The panel alignment is a pain, because most of the early cars are close and that's were it stopped. The new metal can be a pain, because little variances add up. Trying to start with good doors, hinges and a square car makes it less painful.
The Beginning and all the rust