This is what it looked like when I first bought it, the previous owner had it for 22 years and did not want to sell it, but he needed the money. It’s a non-numbers matching car and is not a true SS, but I don’t care about that stuff. I was looking for a solid car with a cowl induction hood and a 4 speed.
It had 16″ wheels and drum brakes and sat way too high, but it was what I was looking for, so I bought it in 2010.
Really nice paint work, the gaps were good and it was a quality build, I haven’t looked back.
This is how the engine looked when I bought it. It was a professionally built large journal 327 with the famous 461 double-hump heads, basically an 350HP L79 motor that was used in the Corvette, Chevelle and Novas. This has a comp-280 cam and it was way over-carburetored with a double-pumper Holley 850.
The first thing I did was upgrade to 17″ Torque-Thrust wheels and start on the disc brakes. Up front I tried Wildwood’s D32 double-piston calipers and single in the rear. These are great brakes for the price, but I elected to eventually upgrade to the 6 piston caliper and 11.8″ dia. rotors. I would go up one rotor size larger to 12.8″ since I have upgraded the wheels to 18″ now.
This is one of my favorite pictures of the car, when I was up in Port Townsend eating at the Ishikawa Japanese restaurant.
This is how it looks now with 18″ Coys wheels. 255/45/18 rears and 235/40/18 fronts, I had to reduce the tire width up front from 245/45/17 because they were rubbing. It’s kind of a combination of art and science to get your wheels the way you want them. I wanted a slight stagger, so the rears had to be a substantially larger OD, that’s why I went with the 45 series instead of 40. After 3 sets of tires you’d think I’d be close to what I want. It needs to drop down another inch all the way around, but as it is now, I have a hard time on speed bumps.
This is how the engine looked with a Speed Demon 650 double-pumper, but even after going to a dyno, it still wasn’t a very good carb for me.
I eventually left the carburetor world and tried the MSD EFI and it’s pretty dang good. It took what was a nasty starting, lumpy cam motor and made it a sensible driving and easy starting car.
Since the MSD came out, everyone has jumped on the EFI throttle body wagon. You can get systems from Holley, FAST and Edlebrock that are great. I started with a non-return fuel line system, then changed out to a inside tank fuel delivery system and added a return line, or rather just plumbed my original hard line as the return. MSD was kind of iffy on their response to whether or not it was OK, but since it’s the return side and low pressure, it works fine. One big advantage of these systems is that they continually learn, so the more you drive the better they become. My mileage improved from about 12mpg to about 17mpg on the highway.
Sparkling sunshine and the whole town of Lake Chelan turns out to see everyone’s car. I’ve been coming here for 40 years and I can’t get enough of it.
Blewett Pass on the way back from Cruisin’ Chelan – 18″ Coys wheels, this gives you a better idea of what the rears look like. Many Camaro enthusiasts tub the rear and put massive 335/30 -20″ tires back there. I like to see some rubber, besides the rubber band tires give you a very rough ride.