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Thread: 1970 Camaro Build Thread – From GT Racer To Historic Racer

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    1970 Camaro Build Thread – From GT Racer To Historic Racer

    I wanted to create this thread partially because I think people will enjoy seeing the rebuild of this car evolve, and the work that is going into it, but also to encourage others who have built or are building cars for historic racing to create their own build threads, as we all find them fascinating, and this is what The Roaring Season is about, sharing the ride with other enthusiasts. And we all appreciate the work that goes into building a historic racer.

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    Kiwi racer Murray Brown had this 1970 Camaro built into a race car in 2000. At the time it was built, there weren’t a lot of places to race it, but several muscle cars were competing in a New Zealand class called Super GT, which was a sort of anything goes style category that allowed for plenty of creative thinking without the hindrance of too many rules. Murrays Camaro was built with a 383ci small block, the body was acid-dipped, and full rollcage was fabricated from mild steel tubing. The trunk lid, hood, front clip, front spoiler, front guards, and doors were all made from fiberglass, from a set of molds created for a similar car built up for Wayne Anderson a few years earlier. A large rear spoiler was fitted, along with Perspex side windows, and 17” x 11” Simmons wheels, and slick tyres. The standard Camaro rear end with leaf springs was removed, and replaced by a 9” with coil-overs and Watts-linkage, although all the original mounting points were retained. 6-pot Willwood brakes with 330mm rotors and 4-pot with 305mm rotors did the stopping.

    The Camaro was finished in custom a yellow-mustard colour black stripes over the hood and trunk lid. As you’d expect, it was a bit of a tarmac shredder. Murray raced the car in Super GT for a few seasons, then when a new muscle car class called Central Muscle Cars was formed in 2004, Murray began racing the Camaro there. CMC was a competitive series, but Murray was never too interested in chasing points, he just picked the events he wanted to compete at; sometimes 2 or 3 races a season, sometimes none.

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    A few years ago, Murray purchased a BMW 3-series to compete in the BMW race series, and found budget racing, often at historic events, to be to his liking. Then, having spoken earlier this year to Dale Mathers who was starting a new historic series for muscle cars which would only compete at historic racing events, and in which emphasis was placed on enjoyment rather than points chasing, Murray decided to give the Camaro a huge make-over, and have it rebuilt for the new Historic Muscle Cars series.

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    In order for the Camaro to be eligible for HMC, it would need to undergo a large number of changes, as the HMC regs were created both to maintain originality of the vehicle, and a strong link to New Zealand saloon car racing of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. And so Murrays good mate, Steve Malam, who had been running a similar 1970 Camaro (a big block version) for the past few seasons, set about the big rebuild of the Camaro.

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    Here is an itemized list of the changes that need to take place, starting with the engine, in which the alloy heads must be replaced by cast iron items.

    1. Engine components,
    A: new cast iron heads & valves rockers springs
    B: remove 2" carb spacer , for hood clearance
    C: new roller camshaft to match new head flow.
    D: new exhaust with single side exit (instead of dumping under diff)
    2. Front suspension
    A: 5.5" stock style coil springs( original spring pockets reformed in A
    arms & chassis)
    B: Standard sway bar mounted in nolathane bushings, with standard links to
    A arms
    C: standard A Arms repaired and installed in factory mounting positions.
    D: restoring of chassis material that was removed when coil over
    suspension was fitted.
    E: spindle stubs , ball joint taper restored.(these were modified by
    F: existing shocks reused.
    3. Rear suspension
    A: Leaf springs
    B: watts link removed & panhard bar installed
    C: new shocks required
    D: cut brackets off diff (3 link )
    Fortunately we keep all of these components from rebuild when dodsons
    modified car
    4. Bodywork All new steel repro OEM Parts
    A: front guards inner and outer
    B: grille nose cone top and bottom
    C: complete doors & glass
    D: boot lid
    E: 3pce rear spoiler (fibre glass)
    F: front spoiler OEM (plastic)
    H: headlights
    J: bonnet -hood (flat, no hump,)
    5 Wheels
    A: 15X8 front 15x10 possibly arrow 3pce or similar with goodyear blue
    B: 16X10 simmons with toyos
    C: possible reworking of front brake callipers for rim clearance

    The wheels will more than likely be Minilite style with Goodyear Bluestreak cross-ply tyres, as many owners are choosing for the new class. Here is the Camaro as it currently looks.

    Steve is a member here, so hopefully will jump in and help with some of the details of the build. We will post progress photos as the build continues.

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  3. #3
    Semi-Pro Racer kiwi285's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Papamoa Beach
    Hi Murray and Steve, I believe that this will be a great class and will appeal more to the historic racing fans. That is a big and I guess relatively expensive step to have the car put back to the state it would have raced in in the 70's etc.

    All the best and keep us up to date with progress.

  4. #4
    Thanks for starting the thread Steve, and thanks to Murray for having the faith in the new Muscle car class. It is a huge step to take and I am sure there will be a lot of new enthusiasts taking part and spectating due the the committments like the rebuilding of previous versions of these tough American cars.

    Great work, Thanks Murray.


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    Thanks Bruce, yeah it'll be interesting to see this one play out. Will be quite a transformation, both above and beneath the skin.

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    Brave call, shows the optimism for this class. As a fan I say a big thanks for your faith in HMC, I can't wait to see them grid up at Hampton Downs in 2012.

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    Steve Malam has sent me these update pics of Murrays Camaro. Steve has been grinding away on the car and is making good progress. The new suspension is in, the motor has been rebuilt with iron heads. Work has just started on the new sheet metal. They've decided to go with 16" wheels and 50 profile tyres, rather than 15" wheels and Goodyear Bluestreaks, which many other teams have opted for. This is understandable in their case, as this car has required a huge amount of time and money being spent to make all the changes. Murray, the owner, already had a set of 16" wheels, so has decided to use them.

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    New sheet metal has been fitted

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    Exhaust system complete.

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    Heading off for paint.....

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    Attachment 4938 body prep
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    [ATTACH=CONFIG]4949[/ATTACH A big effort is now required to get ready for the 20th jan.
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    It looks great - a real credit for taking on the transformation.

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