1967 Chevrolet Camaro Interior Restoration - Inside Moves
Restoring a 1967 Camaro Interior
From the February, 2009 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Jeff Smith
Photography by Jeff Smith
This is the junkyard dog we...
This is the junkyard dog we started with. While thrashed, the interior was complete except for the radio. Even the stock RS horn button was still in place on the stock wheel. The wiring harness was also in amazingly good shape. Still, there was plenty of work to do.
After a massive two-day cleaning...
After a massive two-day cleaning and stripping effort, we started by removing both the windshield and the rear window to repair pinholes and make repainting the top of the dash easier. We spent a lot of time wet-sanding the dash and door panel tops with 1,600-grit paper. Our pal Jim Peterson primered all the paint surfaces with Classic Industries' spray-can primer and then carefully sanded the primer to ensure a solid bond for the new paint. We also used Classic Industries flexible spray-can primer on the inside A-pillars, the inside headliner trim, and the new kick panels, which came black, requiring paint.
Classic supplied two one-pint...
Classic supplied two one-pint cans of acrylic lacquer factory red paint that we used to paint the dash, kick panels, and all the rest of the interior pieces. We decided not to remove the steering column but did remove the wheel.
This photo doesn't reveal...
This photo doesn't reveal how nasty the old kick panels were (right) compared to the new Classic panel. We disassembled and removed the flapper valve from the new panels and then primered, painted, and reassembled them. Of course, if your panels are in good shape, you could also spray-dye them the desired color.
The stock Camaro console was...
The stock Camaro console was pathetic, but after much cleaning, some Mothers metal polish on the chrome pieces, and a coat of Krylon primer and satin black, it looked like new.
We used a Shiftworks conversion...
We used a Shiftworks conversion kit to convert the Powerglide shifter to a four-speed automatic overdrive shifter for the TH200-4R that will eventually find its way into this Camaro. The hardest part of this conversion was properly positioning the new detent (arrow) to replace the stock one. We bolted ours in place but it could also be easily MIG-welded.
We treated the windshield...
We treated the windshield and back glass channels to a POR 15 treatment and then painted the channels flat black. With new window clips from Classic in place, we were ready to install the new windshield, but first we bolted in the new Classic red dashpad. The pad fit like a glove; we bolted it in before the dash was reassembled. We also installed the Custom Autosound front speakers at this time before the underdash got crowded.
Ambrose also installed the...
Ambrose also installed the headliner. Here's where a pro really earns his money--there's an art to installing headliners that don't wrinkle or sag.
To install the new vent wing...
To install the new vent wing rubber seal, the door glass must be completely removed before the vent wing assembly can come out. We'll save the step-by-step for a later issue since it's an entire story in itself. The Metro Molded rubber vent wing seal, however, fit perfectly, making the job easier than we anticipated. We also replaced both vent wing handles.
The factory sound deadener...
The factory sound deadener wasn't worth keeping, so we ripped it up and laid down all new Dynamat Super to insulate the interior from road noise. This adds roughly 20 pounds to the car, but is well worth it. We even built an aluminum panel behind the rear seat and covered it with the Dynamat Ultra material.
The Classic carpet fit really...
The Classic carpet fit really well; the dimmer switch cutout was already in place, which helped position the carpet. The interior was becoming very red at this point.
The next step was the instrument...
The next step was the instrument panel. It appeared to be in excellent shape, so we just polished the plastic lenses with Meguire's Mirror Glaze and set them aside.
Recovering the front buckets...
Recovering the front buckets isn't easy on early Camaros, so we decided to let Mike Ambrose redo the seats and headliner. The Classic upholstery is a factory match but required new seat foam because the old stuff was completely rotted.
This is the complete Custom...
This is the complete Custom Autosound system for the Camaro. The latest addition to Custom Autosound's lineup is a great six-disc CD changer that can be mounted anywhere in the car and controlled by an AM/FM cassette unit in the dash or a wireless remote. The remainder of the system is a USA-6 100-watt head unit, a pair of Custom Autosound 6x9-inch tri-axial rear speakers, and a dual-speaker mount to replace the factory center-dash speaker up front. Custom Autosound has systems for all popular Chevys.
Weatherstripping came next,...
Weatherstripping came next, with all-new seals around the doors and windows. We also added new window felts and made sure the windows moved up and down effortlessly. With everything properly lubed and adjusted, the windows are almost a one-finger operation.
The next move was to install...
The next move was to install the Custom Autosound AM/FM cassette USA-1 head unit in the dash, followed by the remainder of the center dash pieces and the instrument cluster. The previous owner had lost the keys, so we replaced the entire ignition switch and lock cylinder with new parts from Classic.
The door panels were one of...
The door panels were one of the final steps. Since we had to disassemble each door to replace the vent wing seals, we took the time to ensure that the window crank mechanism and the door handles worked smoothly. Then, we cut the chrome trim off the original door panels and glued them in place on the new ones with yellow weatherstrip adhesive. After they cured overnight, we bolted the panels in place along with the new window cranks, door handles, and arm rests. The panels look outstanding.
The Grant mahogany steering...
The Grant mahogany steering wheel and billet adapter were the last items to go in place after the seats and console.
With everything in place,...
With everything in place, our rat-trap interior had been successfully transformed into a stylin&8217 cockpit ready to hit the boulevard. Any Chevy fan would be proud to be seen in this interior, and the tunes are outstanding!
Hot rods, musclecars, or any street car must be driven to be truly enjoyed. However, a dilapidated interior with thrashed threads, holes in the carpet, and a duct-taped glovebox door isn't the path to maximum cruise-in prestige. While the go-fast crowd may think a sardine can-tinned interior is race-car cool, a well-appointed cockpit that's quiet, tasteful, and comfortable will be an all-around pleasure to drive.
That was the goal for the inside moves on this '67 RS Camaro. The interior was complete but beyond saving. Not only that, but since the Camaro had been sitting outside for 10 years, it had become a very fancy mouse motel. Needless to say, it was time for a complete interior restoration.
Once the interior was stripped and sanitized, the real restoration work began. But before we turned the wrenches, we decided to spend some time studying the Classic Industries catalog. We carefully investigated all the weak points of our red standard Camaro interior and then made a list of the parts we needed. Sure, it would have been great to just order everything new, but we planned carefully and restored any major parts that could be saved. After the resto process started, we discovered even more parts that needed replacing. Classic Industries responded to our many calls for help with not only the parts to start reviving this neglected cockpit but also the technical advice to keep us on the right track.
We elected to stick with a standard stock interior and retain the factory red hue, though at this point it would have been easy to change the color to any one we wanted. Classic Industries makes the parts selection easy by offering a basic interior kit including front and rear seat upholstery, headliner, carpet, a rear seat shelf liner, and door panels under just one part number.
We plugged several additional parts into the kit, including sun visors, a complete weatherstripping kit, new door sills, and a host of small parts like window cranks and other little rubber parts to help revitalize this Camaro.
Follow along with the photos and captions to see how we made our inside moves. The finished interior is nothing less than spectacular. It not only looks outstanding, but when this Camaro hits the road, it will be quiet and fun with the infusion of the Classic Autosound stereo/cassette head unit and an optional six-disc CD changer. The entire effort required roughly six weekends plus more than a few week nights to complete, but the results are clearly worth the effort. Much of this work was aimed at doing the weatherstripping and replacing the vent wing seals properly, which required complete disassembly of the doors. However, we now have a beautiful, weathertight, and very quiet interior. With a little bit of effort and the right parts from Classic Industries, you can turn any mouse motel into a boulevard star.
Grant Steering Wheels
1030 W. Williamson Ave.
Mike Ambrose Custom Interiors