Cortez Silver
White Houndstooth
468 V8
4 Speed Automatic

It's no secret that we here at RK Motors Charlotte are fans of sleepers, and this gorgeous Cortez Silver Z/28 tribute is most definitely a sleeper. Now you may be asking yourself, "How can a high-performance Camaro with stripes and that famous Z/28 badge on its flanks possibly be a sleeper?"

Well, I'll tell you how: 468 cubic inches of big block Chevy under the hood. That's 166 more than a Z/28 originally had, and 118 more than this car was originally packing when it rolled off the assembly line. And the old adage is 100% true; there's just no replacement for displacement.

Built to our own exacting standards by one of our own guys in 2008, this brutal '69 Camaro looks deceptively stock, and while stock Z/28s are definitely not lightweights when it comes to performance, you're just not prepared for the face-pummeling torque that this bruiser puts out. Originally a Hugger Orange coupe with a garden-variety 350, it was transformed into this Cortez Silver Z/28 tribute only recently, and it is the result of a frame-off rotisserie restoration that addressed every issue. Stripped to a bare shell and rebuilt from there, we have photos that prove that no corners were cut and that every piece of metal on this car was adjusted and sanded until it was as good as it could be. Panel alignment is very good throughout, from the hood to the deck lid. The paint is base/clear, and the Cortez Silver is a welcome change, sleek and sophisticated, and the black stripes that are buried under the clear coat give it a hardened edge that perfectly matches the rumbling exhaust note.

You'll also notice that this car has the Rally Sport headlight covers, which really dress up the front of the car and work properly. The chrome bumpers were re-plated during the rebuild, and all the badges are exact reproductions. The stainless was polished, including the moldings around the new black vinyl top and the bright wheel well trim. All the glass is new and carries that unique '60s Soft-Ray tint.

But Camaros are all about horsepower, and this car more than most. The engine is a built 468 cubic inch big block, which has been fully rebuilt with all the good stuff. Inside you'll find forged pistons, a fully balanced forged crank, .610 lift hydraulic roller camshaft, and a set of full roller rockers. Externally, the good stuff is easy to see, including the aluminum rectangular port heads, Dart hi-rise intake, a Quick Fuel 850 CFM carburetor to feed it, as well as a set of long-tube ceramic-coated headers. All told, it makes pretty close to 500 horsepower, which translates to astounding performance on the street. The air cleaner looks a lot like an original open-element unit and features a stock type decal, and it matches the polished valve covers. Bright red ignition wires add some flash to the monochromatic engine bay, along with the Chevy Orange paint on the block itself. You'll note that A/C has been added, and a thick radiator keeps it cool on the hottest days. An Optima gel cell battery delivers the cranking power to turn over that big engine, even when it's hot.

A heavy-duty 700R4 4-speed automatic with extra clutch plates was built just for this car, and features a 2800 stall torque converter with anti-ballooning plates for high-RPM use. The power gets delivered to the tires by a 12-bolt filled with 3.73 Yukon gears on a Richmond Positraction unit, and Yukon axles. The suspension features all-new springs, bushings, and fasteners, so it rides and handles like a new car. Power disc brakes keep it under control, while a new steering box aims it properly. A mandrel-bent dual exhaust system features Flowmaster mufflers for top performance, and a new gas tank hangs out back. Wheels are custom-made Rallys that measure 15x7 up front and 15x8 out back for a subtle upgrade that doesn't jump out-you just know the car looks more muscular for some reason. Tires are 235/60/15 BFGoodrich T/A radials that really stuff the wheel wells.

For 1969, there's just no question that the hounds tooth upholstery is as cool as it gets. Quirky and unique, but also stylish and tasteful, it's the perfect complement to the sophisticated Cortez Silver paint and black stripes. Of course, it's all new stuff in there, from the seats to the door panels to the headliner and carpets. The black dash pad has been replaced, and the dash is full of rebuilt original gauges. The steering wheel is a beautiful optional rosewood piece that matches the wood grain on the dash and gives the interior a definite upscale feel. Look closely and you'll note that the horseshoe shifter for the automatic has been subtly modified to accommodate the 4-speed transmission and its accompanying overdrive, which is an extremely cool trick. Extensive use of Dynamat throughout the interior succeeds in making this a cool, comfortable place to drive, and makes the 200-watt speakers and Retro Sound stereo with MP3 capability sound awesome. The auxiliary gauges are fully functional, and the Vintage Air system blows ice cold and features electronic controls. The trunk is nicely finished with a reproduction trunk mat, full-sized spare, and a jack assembly.

Documentation includes an original owner's manual, a manual for the upgraded entertainment system, as well as a stack of restoration and build photos.

For all the performance this car packs, it's a surprisingly docile, neat package. The Z/28 was iconic in a lot of ways, not the least of which was the road race look it put on the street. This car captures all that was great about the Z/28 and improves it in the best way possible: more power! Reliable, powerful, and well built, this Camaro is ready to hit the road this show season and maybe take home a few awards. If you need any more proof that '69 Camaros are red-hot collector items, look at this one very carefully and you'll see why they're such ideal hobby cars. With stunning good looks that match its performance, it's hard to have more fun than this with a car.

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