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Member Car Journals Want to keep a long term Camaro project journal to share with the community? Use this forum to create a single thread which you can update over time to document the progress.

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Old 03-17-2014, 07:29 PM   #1
aquablueL99
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My first born--1968 LeMans Blue Sport Coupe

I now feel the time is right to start a thread on our 1968 Camaro Sport Coupe. This idea all started back in 1971 when my love of the 1st Gen Camaro came to life. My friend, Mark Smith had just purchased a 1968 z28 from a family in Delphi, In. They had experienced the ultimate tragedy in the loss of their son having lost his life in an auto accident. Mark got word the parents were selling his z28. He and I went to check it out. Upon raising the garage door, we both fell in love the white over gold Camaro.
This car was by far the fastest thing I had ever experienced. I know I had told of my father being an Indiana State Trooper. He had some of the fastest cars on 4 wheels, and this z28 ranked right up there with his best.
I had a task of finding a picture of it. I worked with Mark's brother, Kris Smith. He and his Mother finally found me 1 shot of it.
Mark later passed from cancer. He and I spent rare times of talking over our rides on the early 1970s. I will post a letter about my 1968 and him and I checking it out....That never happened, but his wife Michelle did read my letter to Mark right before he died. She told me later it put a wonderful smile on his face.
This is a photo of Marks 1968 Camaro z28...

Thanks Mark for all the wonderful times and memories we shared...

Your friend, Kurt


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Old 03-17-2014, 07:52 PM   #2
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I purchased our Camaro in the summer of 1988 from Jerry Martin. He was enrolled at Vincennes, In for college. He asked if I would like to purchase it. This was his first car. I told him I would be elated to own it. Here are some pictures of it prior to Jerry having it painted with a fresh finish of LeMans Blue.
This car was originally a 327/275hp with a 3 speed and a 273 rear end. It had a standard black interior. When Jerry bought the car it had a DZ block with a 4 speed. It still had the original rear end. He eventually changed it to a 4:10 12 bolt posi-trac.
Note the z28 emblems....and the "snow tires"....
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:12 PM   #3
aquablueL99
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In early 1988 Jerry and his family had the car painted as a class project at Lafayette, Indiana's Ivy Tech Vocational State College. Bob Thompson (the instructor) and the class pretty much did a frame on restoration with new rear quarters, badges. It has 7 coats LeMans Blue with 7 coats clear to top it off.
Again...that was in 1988 and it has yet to have anything done to it's complexion...for years just Pledge furniture polish and for the last 4 years....Wizards Mist & Shine....

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:04 PM   #4
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Once I got my hands on her, I wanted to make it my own.....hence let the mods begin.

I had been working at a customers home and knew his son had a 1968 Corvette. He bought it new and the first thing to go was the Rally wheels. We soon located them and I purchased the wheels, rings and caps. I had the wheels blasted and the stainless was perfect. I also purchased a set of Hooker ceramic headers with a complete Chambered Exhaust for a 1968-1969 z28.
What was needed next was an engine transplant....DZ for 327/300 hp...story forth coming on the engine...

Kurt ABL99...
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:58 PM   #5
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Transplant!!

Next to come was an engine transplant. The car was purchased new only 30 minutes from my home in Winamac, Indiana. Knowing this from the Protecto Plate the car has, I was on a quest to locate the original 327 and 3 speed trans.
I found a gentleman by the name of Chuck Peterson. He owns, along with his wife Debbie, Chuck's Engines in Winamac. I spoke with him and told of my situation. He advised he wanted to see the car and the engine.
After making the trip to his shop, he recognized the car and the engine. He installed the DZ in the car many years ago. He advised my original 327 had "bit the dust". He asked what I would like to have done as the DZ was "tired" after all these years. He also told me he knew what z28 the motor belonged.
I told him the DZ did nothing for me and I wanted a 327/300 hp. He said he thought we could work a deal.
From there, Chuck and his son Charlie, put their feelers out and come up with the exact motor for me. They went completely through and rebuilt it to spec, along with the 441 heads.
It was awesome, along with the 4 speed and 4:10 rear end---and we both got what we wanted.....

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Old 03-19-2014, 06:23 PM   #6
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More Power!

After about a year, I was in need of more "street thumpin' power". Needed a bigger hydraulic cam, new 650 Double Pumper Holley Carb, and some needed head work. She sounded pretty good, but not for the plans I had for her. I needed to take it to the next level. Not knowing what this entailed, I began my research on the internet...


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Old 03-19-2014, 07:19 PM   #7
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Got her sounding better and healthier. I had noticed the front end needed some less action on the road. The springs/shocks left a lot to be desired. I found my answer by talking to the fine folks at Summit Racing in Ohio. I had an idea to change the small block front "boingers" to big block springs....they suggested QA1 Motor Sports solution for the 67-69 Camaro. I guess that is the big reason they are in the business...They know just what to sell you and nothing else. My son-in-law, Clint Minglin helped with the installation of the front end setup. Thanks Son...
At the same time, I wanted to eliminate the points/condenser setup from the "old days". I wanted an electronic ignition conversion kit. When really "getting on it", the points would pretty much float out....not good...
Well, thanks to the good ole internet and Lectric Limited, Inc, they provided me with a sweet conversion kit...Part # 38131. Just think...all those years of fighting with points and condensers every time I turned around. Anyone having these problems, I would highly recommend them. www.lectriclimited.com ...

Oh BTW...back to 'spring thing'-----This kit included new springs, adjustable shocks with dampening adjustments and an spanner wrench for getting the correct bumper height you desire...Sweet setup!!...

Kurt ABL99...
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:06 AM   #8
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Kurt you have one of the most beautiful first gens I've seen! I love the color and how it looks next to your 5th gen. Will be checking this thread frequently
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul44 View Post
Kurt you have one of the most beautiful first gens I've seen! I love the color and how it looks next to your 5th gen. Will be checking this thread frequently
Paul,
Wow! what a nice compliment!! I so appreciate it...Please follow along as I go. I have many photos to scan and post...


That car and it's color was a BIG reason why we ordered ABM. I was bound and determined to have "twins"....

Sincerely,

Kurt ABL99...
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:30 AM   #10
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Looks awesome Kurt , i'm looking for one myself to make it my next project
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pierre777 View Post
Looks awesome Kurt , i'm looking for one myself to make it my next project
Thanks Pierre,
In Lebanon or in the States?

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Old 03-20-2014, 04:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablueL99 View Post
Paul,
Wow! what a nice compliment!! I so appreciate it...Please follow along as I go. I have many photos to scan and post...


That car and it's color was a BIG reason why we ordered ABM. I was bound and determined to have "twins"....

Sincerely,

Kurt ABL99...
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Quote:
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Looks awesome Kurt , i'm looking for one myself to make it my next project
That is going to be one hell of a project
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:05 PM   #13
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Next will be the first of 2 new interiors I installed...

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Old 03-20-2014, 07:26 PM   #14
lbheat
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Yeah def looking into this thread more often. Good job on your progress so far, love that color and engine bay!
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:05 PM   #15
aquablueL99
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Yeah def looking into this thread more often. Good job on your progress so far, love that color and engine bay!
Thanks IB....

I have a lot of interior work to show, along with the new exhaust, wheels and all the fun of the documentation....


BTW....Congrats on COTW!!...Nice Ride...

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Old 03-20-2014, 10:12 PM   #16
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1st Time around!!

Time for some interior work. I replaced the interior twice due to the lack of funds the first time, and just like the 5th Gen.... "we are never done" ....

Notice the shifter on this upgrade was a Hurst Super Shifter. When it was installed, most of the hump had to be "hacked' out...Gross!!...but that is the way it was back then. I must say it was a real nice and close throw from 2nd to 3rd....and hey..Duct tape worked this long, a little longer won't hurt....
I left it in on this upgrade with new floor pan behind the driver...

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Old 03-20-2014, 11:12 PM   #17
Bad@ssCamaro
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This..is so....



Friggin' cool!!
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Former Camaros: (gone but not forgotten)
1976 LT Black/Black 305 V8 (Bone Stock)
1976 LT Black/White 305 V8 (Bone Stock) except for Cragar chrome rims (yep - #2)
1985 Z-28 Black/Black 305 L69 M5(Bone Stock) I know: slow

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CAFE STANDARDS! Get used to them or vote our electeds in Washington out of office...........
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:46 AM   #18
aquablueL99
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This..is so....



Friggin' cool!!
Thanks Bad,
I really appreciate the comment!! This Camaro has been a project and a part of the family since 1988....Wow! 26 years!! I love to do as much of the work as I can. Then to be able to bring it to you and the rest of C5.com is the "icing on the cake"...

More to come....about time to "yank" the engine and do some detail work on it and.....what the heck....get the Discover Card out--which reminds me--it got to the point, when I would call Summit Racing, Sales would answer saying, "Well good day Mr. Keller. Will this order be on your Discover Card"?....Talk about getting to know someone!!!...

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Old 03-21-2014, 08:26 PM   #19
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Before I go there, I purchased a 1968 wood grain Camaro steering wheel from Classic Industries in California. Went very nicely with the other wood grain trim on the car.

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Old 03-21-2014, 09:49 PM   #20
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I guess a year or two had passed and I was having a good time at the car shows and she did win her fair share of trophies, but something was missing. She had the sound and the look that pleased others, but I needed to "Hot Rod" her some...
In 1992, I had an idea that I would like to borrow from the Corvette Guys of the mid 60s. I wanted to have 4 inch side pipes with headers, a new set of wheels and tires. I had to have the wheels and tires, because the Camaro just would not look right with Corvette Ralley Wheels. The Corvettes of the 70's looked okay with them, but I don't own a Vette...
I called Holley Industries. They handle Hooker Headers. I was pleasantly surprised to find they made just what I was looking for...
Now I was on a quest to find just the right wheel/tire combo. I had a set of Indy 10 Spokes at my disposal. This was just what the Vette guys of the 60's used. Well I weighed the pros and cons of a magnesium wheel vs. American Racing Torque Thrust D.
BTW...I had no idea what all this would look like. I could not find anyone with this setup. Like I said on my 2010 build thread, "I like the idea of buying site unseen. It is what keeps the blood flowing."...
Well as it turned out, I chose the Hooker Header/Sidemount Pipes (chrome) with the American Racing Torque Thrust D with BF Goodrich radial TAs.... Hello Summit Racing...are you there!!!

Note!!...From here the plot thickens....some drama I had not planned on...stay tuned....

Kurt ABL99...
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Old 03-23-2014, 05:17 PM   #21
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...I ordered and received headers, pipes, mufflers, wheels, but no tires. I just could hardly contain myself until this ride was street thumpin' good. Clint Minglin and I started removal of the original headers. The instructions told me it would be so much easier to install the new ones if one had access to a lift....Well, I don't and why would I want to make anything --easy?...
Wow....Left one on.....now right one is on......Look, right one is touching the car...not good. Check the gasket, mounting, motor mount....no luck. It MUST be a bad header. Maybe was setup wrong in the jig when welded....yeah that's it...So I call Summit Racing--we talked the install over. They say not likely to the "jig setup" thing, but if it makes you feel better Kurt, we will be glad to send you a complete set to try. Please do another install of the replacement set and let us know your findings....Oh BTW, we also have in stock a replacement body mount kit....This is more than likely your issue!!...Sure it is...
Fast forward....They were right!!...
Did I say that this is why they are in the business?...
From there, what was going to be a simple exhaust, wheel and tire change, turned into a complete--"Kurt, take everything apart and repair/replace as needed thing". Thank Goodness for WD40!! This was my winter project for sure. I am talking, doghouse, engine, chambered exhaust and just about anything else that got in the way. This started right after Christmas and I finished getting my tires mounted and the front end aligned in June! Not to worry Kurt, "You'll make it."
But Hey, time flies when you are havin' fun! And I did have the time of my life doing this job!...
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:19 PM   #22
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Now it is time to begin a plan to assemble things. After having all the needed parts repaired/replaced, I started painting under the car and also under the hood. Detailed the brake system as well.
This hard work will all be worth it in the end...


Kurt ABL99...
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:28 PM   #23
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Next come the rear end. I told you it was a GM 4:10 Posi-trac earlier, but I wanted to document that. We ripped it apart and found all and documented the numbers. While apart, I needed to replace the bearings at the out ends...leaking due to bad seals. I glad I did this, because the axle bearings were shot and also pitted the axle races as well...That ain't good!!....

Called Moser Engineering and they fixed me right up with all the needed goodies.....Great people...they almost know what you need before you tell them.....

Kurt ABL99...
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:57 PM   #24
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:42 PM   #25
aquablueL99
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Time to get things back together. Start with the engine replacement... that small block slid right into place, like it knew just where it belong. Sure is pretty Chevy-orange...

Once the engine was back in and the headers reconnected...they fit like a glove....Can't wait to fire this beast up without the side pipes.....

Note the shifter....it goes in the next post...replaced with a factory shifter....and console...


Kurt ABL99...
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