SEMA 2013: Tim Allen’s 1968 COPO Camaro

The word “restomod” gets thrown around a lot these days. Most of the resto-modded cars I have seen are closer to the “modified” side than to the “restoration” side. It was refreshing to come across this 1968 Chevrolet COPO Camaro at SEMA, which is more towards the restoration side of things.

The car was on display at the Classic Industries booth and was built by veteran hot rodder Bodie Stroud. The car belongs to actor, comedian, author, and car guy Tim Allen.

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1969 Camaro Convertible by Goolsby Customs

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your textbook example of a pro-touring build done right. Start with a classic body style, add modern power and handling, and you’ve got yourself a rockin’ muscle car that turns heads as well as corners.

This 1969 Chevrolet Camaro convertible was built for the Lokar Performance Products booth at SEMA 2013 by Goolsby Customs of Bessemer, Alabama.

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1966 Chrysler Imperial “The Tyrant”

Automobile manufacturers typically build two types of cars: regular passenger vehicles and wild, tire-squealing, high-revving performance vehicles. The latter is usually done by a company’s in-house performance division.

Mercedes’ in-house performance division is AMG. BMW has their M division. Over at Chrysler, they have the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team, which grew out of the original “Team Viper” group that was formed in 1989.

Since its inception 25 years ago, SRT has created high performance versions of many Chrysler vehicles including the Neon SRT-4, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 sedan, and the Ram SRT-10 Pickup. But what if SRT had existed back in the 1960s? What kind of cars would they have built? The guys at HPI Customs in Manitoba, Canada decided to try and answer that question.

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Flowmaster 1965 Ford Galaxie by Kindig-It Customs

While wandering around the 2013 SEMA Show, I spotted this ’65 Galaxie convertible with its famous stacked headlights hiding out in the Flowmaster booth. The car was built by Kindig-It Customs from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The first thing about this car that caught my eye was simply the fact that it wasn’t another 1st or 2nd-gen Camaro. Don’t get me wrong, I like Camaros as much as the next guy, but you can’t swing a set of spark plug wires at SEMA without hitting dozens of F-bodies. They’re everywhere! This car is something different.

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Mr. Gasket 1966 Chevrolet Suburban ‘Lime Crush’

One of the more eye-catching vehicles I saw at SEMA 2013 was this 1966 Chevrolet Suburban at the Mr. Gasket booth. Nicknamed “Lime Crush,” this vehicle is the perfect southern California hot rod/surf wagon.

This classic Suburban was built by The Roadster Shop in Mundelein, IL. You may remember them as the same guys who built the C1RS Corvette and other fine custom cars. I love their work, and this vehicle is no exception.

Under the hood is a GM ZZ454 crate motor that very likely cost more than my first year of college. Dyno information wasn’t available, but a ZZ454 in stock trim makes 440 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque – which is plenty enough to get things movin’. The whole engine is decked out with Mr. Gasket accessories including carb, intake, valve cover, and exhaust gaskets, Mr. Gasket thermostat, PCV valve, and more.

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1967 Chevrolet Camaro Restomod by Ultimate Auto

If the above photo doesn’t stop you in your tracks, you had better check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive!

This sizzling hot 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was on display at the BASF booth at SEMA 2013. The car was built by Ultimate Auto in Orlando, Florida. Nicknamed “Ultimate Sixty Seven,” this car looks absolutely stunning in BASF R-M Carizzma “Ruthless Red” paint.

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Ringbrothers 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 “Afterburner”

There are a lot of hot rod shops all around the country that build show cars for SEMA, but none of them grab attention quite like the Ringbrothers. Based in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Ringbrothers was founded by brothers Mike and Jim Ring.

They’ve made a name for themselves as world-class car builders, and I had the priviledge of checking out one of their creations at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. This is their take on a 1964 Ford Fairlane 500, which they have nicknamed “Afterburner.”

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The Roadster Shop’s 1966 Chevelle

When it comes to muscle cars, I have a soft spot for well-done pro-touring builds. This 1966 Chevelle from The Roadster Shop has not only been restored, it’s been improved to perform better than it did when new!

We’ve featured The Roadster Shop’s work in the past when we covered their gorgeous 1962 Corvette C1RS from Barrett-Jackson 2013. This car was featured in Super Chevy magazine in December 2007. I saw it at the Fountain Hills Concours in February 2014, wearing a set of Canadian plates.

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