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!
Let's go over the major awards. Obviously, nothing beat this car at a local show.
Super Chevy top 10 cars of the year
World of Wheels Milwaukee Best of Show
Super Chevy Show Indianapolis Best of Show
Super Chevy Show Joliet Best of Show
Goodguys Kansas City Coddington Pro Pick
Chevy Vette Fest Chicago, scored 999/1000 points in judging
Darryl Starbird's Tulsa, Fine 9 and Best Engine
SEMA Las Vegas, Mothers Shine award and Goodyear booth feature car
Car Craft Nationals St Paul, Best Engine and Class Winner
Hot Rod Supernationals SpringfieldIL, National Grand Champion
All those awards get you slots in magazines. Super Chevy featured the car in February '06, Camaro Performers laid it out in November '06 and Super Rod did a big spread in August '07. Suffice to say this car didn't fly under the radar!
We'll start with the engine as that alone 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 Hooker 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!
Stand outside and look at the dead 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 are 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 perfect - did it even need to be brought up?
Unreal hardware is underneath - world beating show cars don't stop with pretty paint. Wayne Doe supplied one of his trick tubular front sub frames set up for the Air Ride Technologies Shockwave system, 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 and high durometer bushings. The result is show stopping looks and corner carving ability - that's where top level cars excel. The fully Jet Hot coated exhaust with Flowmasters provides the 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 five speed stick, an integrated armrest with power window and the air ride switches inside. 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.
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!