1973 Chevy Camaro Project Car - Performer!
This '73 Will Cruise, Race, And Take Trips To The Market
From the September, 2008 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Henry De Los Santos
Photography by Henry De Los Santos, Jason Rushforth
We feel your pain when it comes to getting into a musclecar these days. The older they get, the less affordable they seem. But that's not to say that a few deals can't still be had if you're in the right place at the right time.
When we were looking for something to get into, our criteria were pretty simple: Parts availability was a major concern, as was staying out of trouble with the Smog Patrol. More importantly, it needed to be sexy, and this'73 Camaro out of Boise, Idaho, is just that. Truth be told, the previous owner is someone we've interacted with through the Internet for several years. Long story short, the opportunity presented itself and the deal was done.
If you haven't already figured it out, the popularity of second-gens has started to explode, and if you're remotely interested in getting one, then you better do it soon because they're not getting any cheaper. As for pricing, we've seen a roller go for as little as $1,500, while an example like ours can be had for around $6,500 in complete, running order. The body features minimal problems (at least for now): mostly the faded paint and a hint of rust underneath the fender on the passenger side. The trim is in fantastic condition, the interior is complete, and it came with a V-8! Granted, it's not perfect, but it had everything we were looking for and it's a solid foundation.
For now, we only made minor changes; some were out of necessity while others were aesthetic. The steering wheel looked decent enough, and we were pretty excited to see its condition after removing the fuzzy cover, only we quickly learned that it had a not-so-fresh feel with its tree-sap-like texture. Yep, the first grip was fun, especially peeling our fingers from it. Suffice to say, that was the first thing to go. We swapped it out for a Grant steering wheel with the optional billet installation kit. From there we added a set of Corbeau CR1s for comfort and for the sheer ability to keep us in place for the corner-carving antics we're anticipating. And lastly, while the old-school rollers were decent enough, we wanted to do away with the big and skinny look, so we opted for a set of 15x7 and 15x8 silver Rally wheels with the chrome ring and a set of '67 disc brake caps from Classic Industries. We then shrouded them in BFGoodrich rubber.
As I alluded to in the July '08 editorial, this Camaro is going to be built as a driver, but we're still deciding on the look we're after. This is where your input comes into play. To give you an idea of what we're thinking, we enlisted Jason Rushforth, who did the killer renderings seen here. Keep in mind, nothing is set in stone just yet; however, we want to know if you would go with any of the following color schemes-or maybe you have something else in mind. Either way, we're all ears, so be sure to log on to our message board at chevyhiperformance.com, or you can always e-mail us directly at email@example.com to share your thoughts. By the way, we're still looking to lock down a project name, so if you want a chance to win a Chevy High jacket, send in your suggestions today.
What It IsA cherry '73 Camaro
To build one kick-ass street machine
$6,500 for the car and $1,900 for the new accessories
The Look Admittedly, there's...
Admittedly, there's one thing we do know: You can expect to see a complete five-speed conversion from Classic Motorsports Group (formerly known as Classic Chevy 5-Speed), a set of Rushforth Wheels, and a rather robust set of binders behind them...
...Without a doubt, we'll...
...Without a doubt, we'll hit the dragstrip once in a while, but we're really looking forward to hitting up open-track events and ripping through cones...
...And more importantly, you...
...And more importantly, you can expect to see our ride at several events all over the country.
Major props go out to Intercity...
Major props go out to Intercity Lines for transporting our Camaro from Boise, Idaho, to Southern California. Seriously, these guys don't mess around and delivered our ride in a matter of days. The cost was a little over a grand, and we couldn't be happier with the service.
Motivating the beast is a...
Motivating the beast is a rather potent small-block 350. From what we've been told, the short-block has less than 500 miles on it, and quite frankly, it has enough oats to spin the tires at will. Ultimately, we'll end up pulling this mill out and turning it into a dyno mule, but we're still debating between a stroker 383 and an LS powerplant.
The previous owners stored...
The previous owners stored the car during the winters, which really helped keep rust to a minimum. The only rot we could find was on the passenger-side fender. We considered repairing it, but it's just as easy to replace the metal. (You can expect to see that in an upcoming issue.)
The interior is impeccable....
The interior is impeccable. This is exactly as it looked the day we took delivery. Looking at the trim plate: It originally featured a Chamois hue, but we definitely prefer the black.
While the factory buckets...
While the factory buckets were in great condition, the sliders were frozen in place and better suited for someone short...
...Since we're planning for...
...Since we're planning for track duty, we went ahead and swapped them out for a set of Corbeau CR1s with the microsuede option and a set of mounting brackets. Prices start at $399 for the cloth and go up to $625 if you prefer leather. We should also mention that the basic CR1s will fit up to a 36-inch waist and the wide version will fit up to a 40-inch waist; expect to pay a few bucks more for the wider seat. And for those of you who want to know more about them, we'll have a complete Step-by-Step piece in the coming months.
Rally wheels from Classic...
Rally wheels from Classic Industries are a tough bargain to beat. Up front we used a set of 15x7s, while out back we went with 15x8s; both sets feature 41/2-inch backspacing. The good news is they can be had for just $69.95 each, or you can opt for the various Rally wheel packages, which include the ring trim, caps, and lug nuts for as little as $419.95. The options are endless, so your best bet is to check out the CI Web site and download a PDF of the catalog.
For tires, we went with a...
For tires, we went with a traditional set of BFGoodrich Radial T/As, P245/60R15 for the front and P255/60R15 for the rear. We'll perform the baseline performance numbers on these, but we've already made plans to test out BFG's line of performance tires once we get the new suspension installed.
The original wheel was a sticky...
The original wheel was a sticky mess; taking its place is this three-spoke Collector's Edition wheel by Grant Products (PN 1130). We especially like the real, hand-stitched leather and dig the finger grips for more of a controlled feel. It prices in at $240 and you'll also need to order the installation kit; in our case we went with PN 5196-1, which is the optional billet style with a polished finish at $74.34.