67 Camaro ‘Sweet ‘n’ Low’ and Covered in Candy

Steve McDonough’s  ”67 Camaro

Pics by Chuck Vranas
Words by Keith Harman

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Steve McDonough, an electrician from Pembroke, Massachusetts, had the right idea when he contacted his local hot rod shop, Competition Specialties (www.competition-specialties.com) in Walpole, near Boston, about carrying out some work on his Chevy Camaro. Originally, Steve approached C.S. owner Peter Newell, about simply laying some flames on the car once a friend had painted it, but that plan was soon to change however, once he saw just what Competition Specialties were all about.

Peter formed the company over ten years ago and since then through quality construction, fabrication and paintwork, it is now regarded as one of the top specialist car builders in the North Eastern USA, with many show winning cars to its name. After a few ideas were discussed between Steve and Peter, it was decided to turn the old Camaro into a total show stopper, nothing was to be too good for this car, and all the stops were definitely going to be pulled out!

It’s difficult to know where to start when describing this car as so much has gone into it, but let’s start with the body as that is the most visual part. The brawny pony car lines of the Camaro’s bodywork have been cleaned up considerably by completely de-seaming the car and smoothing the bodywork, losing any unsightly lines that would distract the eye also including the removal of the standard drip rails on the roof.

1967 camaro, first generation camaros, custom camaroAlong the flanks, the stock door handles have been replaced with flush fitting C5 Corvette items, but more significantly, the wheel arch apertures have been cut out and relocated to make sure that the wheel sits dead center in the arch, something you might not realize but a subtle and cool aesthetic all the same.

Obviously the front grille has been swapped for a custom-made aluminum item that the headlamps, that have been moved forward, now shine through without problem, and beneath this, the bumper has been discarded and air vents in the smooth front valance duct cool air up thru custom fabricated pipes to the induction set-up.  Speaking of which, the chrome induction plenum and flamed air feed pipes surface through the opened-up custom hood, sinisterly hinting at what lies beneath.

At the back, the rear panel has been completely re-worked and is now a smooth flat panel with only the four Corvette C5 oval tail lights in evidence above a plain chrome bumper blade.

The incredible amount of workmanship that went into prepping the  body for paint extends to the underside and floor pan too where the whole lot was smoothed and filled to the same standard as the body while the body was suspended upside down on a rotisserie stand. This also made it possible for the floor pan to be channeled one inch for an even sneakier look, plus a custom cross member was fabricated to support the transmission.

1967 camaro, custom camaro, pics of 1967 camaroOnce all this hard graft was completed, Peter himself donned the suit and mask and proceeded to lay paint on the Camaro’s shell. A silver base coat went down first, followed by multiple coats of House of Kolor Kandy tangerine, a colour that really ‘pops’ in the sunlight, and along the way, Peter also laid down the flames in blue and purple ‘Chameleon’ paint, the licks changing hue depending on which angle the car is viewed from. But it wasn’t only the sides of the Camaro that got the flames that Steve had originally gone to Peter to ask for, you’ll notice from the pic’s that the induction air pipes to the engine also got the treatment, as did the steel ‘waterfall’ console between the rear seats. Oh, and the floor pan, yep, the complete floor pan is flamed from front to back underneath the car as well as under the rear wheel arches, you can see the pic’s on Peter’s website if you don’t believe us! Click on ‘Gallery’, and then ”67 Camaro’ and all will be revealed.

When it finally became time for the final re-assembly, once again, no stone was left unturned in sourcing the very best that the American aftermarket could offer. The front of the car received a Fatman Fabrications front sub-frame, complete with a Chris Alston manual steering rack and polished A-arms, Air Ride Shockwave air suspension system (also on the rear) plus Wilwood six-piston callipers on 13-inch front discs. DMC Racing supplied the custom built ladder bar rear suspension, Wilwood brakes also feature on the Strange 3.55 to 1 rear axle and all fuel and brake lines have been hidden within the frame.

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Completing the frame and suspension details we come to the choice of wheels and tires, a critical detail that can make or break the look of a car. No worries of that nature here as the combination of 18 and 20-inch Billet Specialties ‘Rats Tail’ billet alloys fill the arches to capacity in fine style with Toyo Proxes 295/30 profile rubber bands on the rear and the same make in 225/40’s on the front.

Nothing less than a big-block Chevy motor was deemed good enough for this car, and it came in the shape of a 502ci Crate Motor, the block of which has been sanded smoothed and painted in matching tangerine candy, not that you can see much of it beneath the humongous Street and Performance chrome tunnel ram fuel injection system that dominates the fully detailed engine compartment. Hot Rod Camaro, 1967 camaro, 1st gen camaro, first generation camarosStreet and Performance also supplied the stainless steel headers and full exhaust system under the car. The radiator is by Ron Francis and the transmission is a TCI Turbo 400 with a manual valve body and 3000 stall speed torque converter.

To produce an interior for this car that would be every bit as off the wall as the rest of the car was a challenge for sure, a few yards of crushed velvet and a chain link steering wheel just wouldn’t cut it here. Fortunately the plan for the interior had started at an early stage, while the shell was still on the jig, with a custom console being fabricated in steel that wrapped around the two separate bucket seats in the rear and extended down through the center of the car to meet the dash. Suffice to say, the console was also finished in Tangerine Candy, as is the way-cool ’59 Impala dashboard, now filled with Dakota Digital electronic instruments to blend old design and new technology together in one fell swoop. Incidentally, the screen in the centre of the upper console is an Icon TV Monitor system with full multimedia facility including Sat Nav and full internet access. Also housed here is the Alpine head unit,   that together with the Critical Mass amplifiers and woofers hidden beneath the molded panel in the boot kick out approximately 3700 watts of audio power.

1967 camaro interior, 1st gen camaro, pics of 1967 camaroThe actual upholstery on the seats and doors etc was farmed out to Competition Specialties regular trim shop, Custom Creations who wrapped the custom bucket seats in a combination of leather and suede with stingray inserts to complete the outstanding interior finish.

It’s no surprise to learn that the Camaro has won almost too many awards to mention, and it places way up there everywhere it’s been shown, including the World of Wheels CASI cup, Goodguys Fab 5, as well as being twice featured at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas. But don’t think this car is only ever trailered to events, Steve does drive it regularly and has covered over 15,000 miles in it since completion.

We bet that Mr McDonough has had a mile-wide smile on his face for just about every one of those miles too, the car is an incredible tribute to the talents of Peter and his team at Competition Specialties, and with the success of this car on the stateside show circuit, it probably won’t be the last we hear of these back East guys either!

Click on these pics to see full size.

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