This Pro-Touring car started with a 1969 L89 Camaro replica that was transformed into the ultimate retro street machine. The car started as a concourse-level restoration with just 50 test miles on it prior to the Pro-Touring conversion. Starting with a deserving platform, the enthusiast knew what he wanted: lots of old school character with a nice helping of high-end modern performance options and amenities. The car currently has just over 8,000 miles since completion, and is sorted out and ready to rock.
All the suspension components are courtesy of the folks at Detroit Speed and Engineering. The hydroformed front sub-frame is complete with double adjustable coil over shocks and a buttery power rack and pinion set up. The front end has expertly crafted tubular upper control arms, a splined sway bar, and C6 steering knuckles. The rear suspension consists of an easily adjustable 4 link system and Ford 9″ rear end housing with 31 spline axles, and a True Trac differential with 3.73 gear ratio. The brakes are 6-piston mono-block calipers with 14″ rotors from Baer Brakes. The stopping force of the binders is absolutely remarkable and we could not have asked for a better product – they bring this Camaro to a halt in a heartbeat. We fit 18×10″ wheels in the front with Michelin Pilot Sport 275 tires and 18×12″ wheels in the rear with 335 tires. To accommodate the monster rear tires, mini tubs were fitted in the rear of the L89. In order to strengthen the uni-body, sub-frame connectors were used to tie in the front sub-frame with the unibody of the car. These are the high-end weld in type and you barely notice that they are there. The car handles like it is on rails but does not have the harsh ride of many aftermarket coilover systems. It’s a pretty incredible combination and really the best of both worlds.
In sticking with the “best of the new, best of the old” theme, the 396 motor complete with Winters aluminum heads and intake was left relatively stock, however, the motor has been fitted with an MSD distributor and Petronix coil. For the exhaust, Hooker Super Comp. headers were connected to FlowMaster 40 series mufflers. Finally, electronic exhaust dumps were added just after the collectors. With the flick of a switch, this beast really roars! Cooling the engine is a Be Cool radiator with two Spal fans which move an incredible amount of air dropping coolant temps in a matter of seconds. The car started with a freshly rebuilt M22 rockcrusher that we fully intended to incorporate into the build, and we did, but the M22 is a road race transmission and lacks an overdrive gear. This means that we were seeing 3500 while cruising at 70MPH with no place to go. A Tremec TKO 600 transmission and the car has a nice overdrive gear. The gorgeous black anodized front runner kit/air condition system is from Vintage Air and blows icy cold air while keeping the pulleys lined up perfectly.
The interior was kept relatively true to form, but after driving the Camaro, we realized that the original seats were not going to cut it. We ordered a set of Recaro seats and recovered them to match the rear – white bolsters with Houndstooth inserts. Not only are these seats half the weight, but they are incredibly comfortable, easily adjustable and very supportive. The center console was also modified to include a set of modern RS gauges that are angled towards the driver for easy viewing.
Many a car enthusiast has performed performance upgrades on their car – sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse. We’ve all found out the expensive way that it’s hard to beat the original designs of engineers working for a huge auto manufacturer. In the case of this L89 tribute, we were able to achieve amazing results. The fact of the matter is simple; although 1969 Camaro body and interior designs are gorgeous and timeless, the suspension, chassis, and brake designs have become dated. By incorporating systems that were tested and designed by serious aftermarket manufactures, the end results cannot be denied. Classic lines and modern technology have been combined to build a car that flat out performs many new cars and has tuning characteristics that can be tweaked for both the street and the track.