Mike Xuereb, out of the San Francisco Bay Area, doesn't cycle through cars like many of us do. He's had the same project for the last 14 years. This 1967 RS Camaro came to his family when Mike was 15 years old; being 30 now, the Camaro was a huge part of his life. His dad, Bob, bought the car for commuting back in 1998 for $1,500, a great price for a factory original RS model. After driving it for a year, Bob traded it to a co-worker for some stupid truck, as Mike remembered it. Mike was absolutely heartbroken. He hoped it was going to be his car when he could drive, and couldn't believe his dad would let it go so easily. Lucky for the both of them, the Camaro broke down on the co-worker and he wanted his truck back. Bob gladly accepted the now broken down Camaro for the truck he traded because he knew how much the car meant to Mike. As predicted, his dad gave him the Camaro to work on as a father-son project. Nervous that a trade or sale was in the Camaro's future, again, Mike insisted on paying for the car, that way it couldn't be taken out from under him. Dad, being the good guy he is, refused his son's money and told him to save it for parts.
Mike's summer job as a curb painter earned him some extra money, so he and his dad could pick things up at car shows and swap meets for the build. He would also gather ideas on how to put it together and the team would make it happen. They tackled all of the rust and body damage first. Based on what the pair knew about the car, it had the typical wear for a car that's survived the decades.
Only a couple years would go by before Mike was old enough to take the project on himself. He was going to school while working part time at a mechanic shop to squirrel away money earmarked for the Camaro. The job sparked an interest in Mike and inspired him to take a machining class in high school, where he was able to put his first engine together. He built, with adult supervision, a 383ci stroker small-block Chevy. The engine held up great to the young enthusiast's abuse over the next couple years, but Mike tired of the sluggish performance.
He turned to Dave's Engine Machine Shop of Newark, California, to build him something built for boost that would entertain him for more than a couple years. While that was being assembled, Mike turned his attention to the rest of the car. Since just being able to accelerate in a straight line hasn't been super impressive for quite a while, Mike needed to make sure it could do it all. It had to go, stop, turn, and work flawlessly. That's when he filled the undercarriage with a completely adjustable suspension, upgraded to a four-wheel disc brake system, and an interior that had all the necessary instrumentation to keep track of things. He did all of the installation work himself from the tubular control arms to the headliner, but he knew when to hand the car over to the experts. He had Bill at Gallis Truck and Performance bend and weld up an 8-point roll cage then shipped it out to Grand Collision Center in Hayward, California. There, they painted the Camaro to Mike's specifications with wider-than-stock Z/28 stripes and custom Porshe RS fender decals sunk into the clear from the dealership Mike works at.
Post-paint assembly went quickly and smoothly since Mike did all the preparation ahead of time. The two-car garage was all the space he needed to get the car back together for his first car show in 2011. He parked at the same spot at the Pleasanton, California, Goodguys show every time. He hasn't gotten an award for his efforts, but the satisfaction of recognition from car show patrons and friends was more than enough reward for him. A little feature in Chevy High Performance magazine doesn't hurt either. Mike also went on to say that he couldn't have gotten through the final push without the help of Dave's Engine Machining, Grand Collision Center, Gallis truck and Performance, and CVR Customs Motorsports.