Ideas for Bastard Camaro - Kawasaki ZX-10R.net
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post #1 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Ideas for Bastard Camaro

Alright, so here's the story:

In my possession is a 1974 Chevy Camaro, basically as a rolling chassis right now. The body is in decent condition, it will probably need new floorboards welded in but the rest of the body is mostly surface rust in all of the usual spots. It belonged to my dad, who passed away January 28, 1999. He was a month away from retiring from the Army with 20 years, was working 24-hour duty at Fort Hood, and had 10 work days left. He fell asleep on his way home one morning and drove off the road, flew threw the air, and hit a concrete embankment. He was in a little Volkswagen Rabbit, so he really had no chance. The Camaro was promised to me by him, even before he passed away, and every time I try and work on it, something comes up.

He died at the ripe ol' age of 37, so I've already lived longer without him than I had with him. In the years before he died, he taught one guy EVERYTHING he knew about cars, which was quite a bit. In fact, most of my mechanical knowledge comes directly from him, there's just no way I was going to learn to rebuild a car at 8 or 9 years old. In return, the family friend taught my dad everything he knew about computers.

Once my dad passed away, the guy talked my mom and I, into sending it off for paint and bodywork, so I gutted the car completely, and sent it off. While it was being worked on, we rebuilt the 350 that was in it, got it to where it needed to be and then...he started fixing up Mustangs for his 3 kids. Each one of them recieved a "classic" Mustang from him upon graduation. So my Camaro, freshly back from paint and body, was put in his backyard to sit. It all started my freshman year in high school. Since then, I sold the motor, for a few hundred $'s profit, then bought another when I thought I'd get started again, but didn't, and sold that for a few hundred $'s more.

I'm now about to graduate with my undergraduate degree, but am coming back for my Masters. I like to think I'll have the time, but at this rate I never will! So I'm going to try and make a dope daily, on a college students budget. Don't worry, this will not affect the 10, but I'll probably post my stuntbike for sale or part it out to try and fund part of the project.

It's sitting in my backyard now, covered with a pretty heavy-duty tarp, storing all of my bike parts inside. In retrospect, I much rather would have rebuilt the motor that was in it, and left it alone. It reminds me of Bumble Bee off Transformers, it was an old red rust bucket but was still safe to drive, if it would have been running. Now it's completely gutted.

Anyways, what I'm asking from you guys/gals is:

Where do I start?!

I want to upgrade the suspension, give it a much lower stance, but aftermarket suspension for cars like this one are limited. What can I do as far as upgrading to a newer Camaro's suspension or any other late-model car?

What kind of motor/transmission should I be looking for? I want it to be my dad's old Camaro, with his son's attitude. Fuel injected or carb'd? I don't know much, but know it would be dope to pop the hood on this old heavy car and see an ls-series motor. I wouldn't mind making this a 2000 Camaro SS in a 74 body, but what kind of work would that be? Also, it used to be an auto but I kind of want a standard, hard to change?

Other things I'm sure I could take care of myself, but I am looking for any input, where to begin, what kind of money I should be expecting to spend, etc. I know paint and body shouldn't have been the starting point last time, wish I could go back but it's too late now. I'll get pics during Thanksgiving of this beast, just want to start making progress.

Also, if you know of any reputable shops, I don't really have the resources to do a motor swap on my own, so that may be something I'd have to let a shop do.

I couldn't sleep last night and my Pandora was playing all kinds of music I used to jam to with my dad in the Camaro in Kentucky. Ace of Base, Collective Soul, and old school Green Day. It put me in the mood to really try and figure all of this out.

.Net, what do I do?!

Wendy Peffercorn...
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post #2 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 11:33 AM
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I had a 74 Z-28 all through high school and reluctantly sold it a few years ago when times were tough, but I miss that car every day. If it were me I'd talk to 9R to 10R about the suspension, stuff a new 500 horse big block crate motor with a 700R4 into it, and have a blast. But that's me. Good luck, and lets see some pics.
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post #3 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 11:45 AM
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74's were the first years I believe when they went to the mandatory bumper laws, they pretty much killed the looks of the Camaros and Trans Am's so they are much less desirable than the 70-73's, so probly not a whole lot of value putting it back to stock, especially if its not a z-28. That said you could make a pretty sweet Pro-touring car out of it, something like this, granted that this is a 72, its Dale Jr.s car btw.

Here is the predominate second gen camaro forum, lots of info there.
http://nastyz28.com/

Think LS1 Swap, maybe some steamrollers 18"s, full suspension, there are many companies that can actually make those cars handle pretty good.


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post #4 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 11:46 AM
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I think you should consider a newer setup like a 5.3, 5.7, 6.0 with a texas speed cam and built tranny with a convertor to match cam. old school car with a new twist and as far as suspension your not as limited as you think. There are kits out there for that car and just a spring change away if you do a coilover setup to any height you want. but get it back on the road first with a nice heart transplant and go from there. New carpet kit and reapolstered interior should get the inside decent. Good luck with the build it sounds fun!

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post #5 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Is there any year LS1 that is a better suit than another? I've found some engine/tranny combos, but not sure if it will work in my car. I'm a little more familiar with bikes than I am cars, and know basics about cars but would definitely need help with most of this.

Also, how hard would it be to put a standard transmission in place of the automatic? What all would need to be changed?

Wendy Peffercorn...
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post #6 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 02:08 PM
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Honestly it all comes down to money. You could very easily drop in a 350/350 combo for the least amount of money to get it back on the road, and deal with the suspension as money comes. Going the lsx route is going to be pretty expensive, and far more labor intensive adding the wiring and computer setup. Mating a manual trans will not be much of a big deal, just more labor to the bill and maybe finding a center console if you so choose. I am sure i could go on the rest of the day about this, but really it comes down to $$ and how much work you can do.

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post #7 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Teeks View Post
Honestly it all comes down to money. You could very easily drop in a 350/350 combo for the least amount of money to get it back on the road, and deal with the suspension as money comes. Going the lsx route is going to be pretty expensive, and far more labor intensive adding the wiring and computer setup. Mating a manual trans will not be much of a big deal, just more labor to the bill and maybe finding a center console if you so choose. I am sure i could go on the rest of the day about this, but really it comes down to $$ and how much work you can do.
That's what I figured. The suspension will work, for now. What I kind of want to avoid is installing one thing, then replacing it down the road. At least the big things, like the motor I want to install and maybe just add parts onto it later on, but not have to replace it.

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post #8 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino Canuck View Post
stuff a new 500 horse big block crate motor with a 700R4 into it
Thats the same thing i was thinking as well. Last time i was looking at Chevy crate motors you could get into some high HP motors for much cheaper that it would cost you to build one from a stock motor.
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post #9 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 02:57 PM
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Crate motor is the way to go. I think there is a setup going where you can run an LS engine with a carb; that's probably the easiest although you could use a standalone EFI system, too. Mate it up to a good modern 5 or 6 speed manual transmission (the one the Corvette uses would be a prime choice!) and away you go. You'll have to get a custom driveshaft made up, but that's not a big problem, likewise for custom engine and transmission mounts. I don't know whether that transmission would fit under the floorpan without modifying something, but that's what plasma cutters and welders are for.

Those cars have a leaf-spring rear end that's surely a candidate for some sort of upgrade. Try www.corner-carvers.com


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post #10 of 32 Old 11-23-2010, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
Crate motor is the way to go. I think there is a setup going where you can run an LS engine with a carb; that's probably the easiest although you could use a standalone EFI system, too. Mate it up to a good modern 5 or 6 speed manual transmission (the one the Corvette uses would be a prime choice!) and away you go. You'll have to get a custom driveshaft made up, but that's not a big problem, likewise for custom engine and transmission mounts. I don't know whether that transmission would fit under the floorpan without modifying something, but that's what plasma cutters and welders are for.

Those cars have a leaf-spring rear end that's surely a candidate for some sort of upgrade. Try www.corner-carvers.com
I found an 03 LS1 with a t56 transmission for a decent price, for whenever I sale my stunt bike hopefully. But a shop told me that the transmission from the Vette wouldn't work, and that I'd need a t56 from a Camaro. What's the difference?

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