SEMA 2015: 1969 Camaro ‘Jackass v2.0’ by Mark Stielow

1969-camaro-detroit-speed-frontYou can’t walk around SEMA for more than a few minutes without passing by several different first-gen Camaros. Many people try to put a “modern twist” on this muscle car classic by adding LED headlamps or other accents that look out of place. It was nice to see a ’69 Camaro that looks like a Camaro.

This car belongs to Mark Stielow, who has nicknamed it “Jackass v2.0.” Right off the bat, there is a supercharged LS9 engine from the Corvette ZR1 under the hood! This supercharged crate motor pumps out 683 horsepower and 604 ft-lbs of torque from its 6.2 liters. Continue reading

SEMA 2015: 1972 Camaro by Mirandas Custom Cars

1972-camaro-mirandas-frontThe SEMA Show in Las Vegas features hundreds of custom cars built by hot rod shops from all over the country. I was wandering around at the 2015 show looking at cars, when I stumbled across a 1972 Camaro built by a shop in my own city of Phoenix!

The company is Miranda’s Custom Cars, and they have been around since 1989. Their pro-touring Camaro was on display at the HiFonics booth outside of the show.

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SEMA 2015: 1967 Camaro ‘Snowblind’ by East Bay Muscle Cars

1967-camaro-ebmc-rearIf you have ever attended the SEMA Show before, you might have noticed that certain models of cars tend to dominate the show floor. Mustangs and Camaros (particularly first-gen Camaros) can be found at every other booth, so it takes a lot to really stand apart from the crowd. While wandering the floor at SEMA 2015, I happened upon this 1967 Camaro at the K&N Filters booth.

This car was built by East Bay Muscle Cars in Brentwood, CA. Like most of the cars at SEMA, it has been built as a pro-touring car with big power, big handling, and modern comforts and amenities for dominating the autocross course. What caught my attention was the clean and simple lines of the car, and I drew in for a closer look.

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Barrett-Jackson 2016: 1990 Camaro IROC-Z

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This is probably the epitome of a clean third generation Camaro. One that would make a perfect weekend cruiser or daily driver. No ridiculous body or interior modifications and a bit more than stock power. If you’re into third gens as much as I am, then I know this car will appeal to you like it did to me.

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What I like about this car:
1. The wheels are stock to the car in design and conservative in size. This 20″+ trend I’ve been seeing for the last few years is awful.
2. Manual transmission. I’m assuming either a t56 or TKO unit by its 6 gear count. This era Camaro definitely shed it’s massive, straight-line missile persona developed by the second generation cars, so rowing your own gears is a requirement as far as I’m concerned.
3. 383 small block chevy. 10 years ago I might have groaned about this, but I’m just happy to see a TPI unit and not the now ubiquitous Gen III/IV small block.
4. Hard top. I love the open feeling of driving a T-Top car, but as far as structural integrity of a unibody car goes, hard top rules supreme.

What I dislike about this car:
1. The color. I’m sure I’m beating a dead horse with loving stick shifts and hating the color red, but it’s how I feel. I would have loved to see metallic green, bright yellow or even black or white. Is there space here for me to complain about painting the headlight buckets gloss black? At least they’re not body colored…
2. Air brushing. I’m not a fan of the displacement treatment on the hood, especially since it’s a 383, so it wouldn’t displace 5.7 liters. The IROC logo on the ground effects doesn’t do much for me either. On top of all that, the red/yellow combo either reminds me of McDonald’s or Hulk Hogan. No thanks.
3. Some of the body treatments are a little lame. The spoiler is nice and understated but the cowl-induction hood and shaved handles just bring me back to a 1990’s superchevy car. The flat hood is such a great design feature of this car because it accentuates how low the cowl is.
4. The TPI unit. This is conflicting because on one hand I applaud them for keeping the coolest part under the hood of some third generation Camaros. However, even with the nicest aftermarket parts, they’re probably sacrificing a bit of horsepower over a carb. I’d keep the TPI, but this detail shouldn’t go unnoticed.

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The Roadster Shop’s 1970 Camaro ‘Rampage’

roadster-shop-1970-camaro-rampage-rearWhen building a custom car, a number of things have to be considered. Will it need air conditioning? Will the suspension be set up for the street or for the drag strip? Where is the engine’s powerband? A lot of choices have to be made in order to dial a car in for its chosen application.

For most people, the luxury of owning a track-only car is not something they can afford. That means compromises need to be made so that the car can be streetable as well. This 1970 Camaro “Rampage” is a car that makes no compromises – it is a race car built for the track. Continue reading

SEMA 2014: Car Fix 1971 Chevrolet Camaro

1971-camaro-stabil-rearBuilding a custom car is an exciting project because it gives the owner a chance to personalize it with their own style. The choice of color, wheels, and any performance modifications will reflect the personality of the owner – and no two owners seem to share the same tastes. That’s why I found it odd that STA-BIL 360 had this custom 1971 Chevrolet Camaro as a grand prize in their booth at SEMA 2014.

The car was built by Jared Zimmerman and Lou Santiago from the TV show Car Fix on the Velocity Network. Working 12 hours a day for almost five months, these guys transformed a 1971 Camaro into a powerful custom street machine. The value of the car has been appraised at $98,000 dollars. Continue reading

1981 Chevrolet Camaro NastZy LS9

There was an abundance of second-gen Camaros at SEMA, but this one had something special about it. Perhaps it was the $22,000 LS9 crate engine under the hood! Or maybe it was the ultra-deep 20″ rear wheels. Whatever the reason, I paused for a moment to check out this car in depth.

A small sign indicated that this 1981 Camaro Z28 was built by Classic Performance. It did not mention where their shop is located or who owns this car, and I was unable to find that information after searching online.

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1969 Camaro Convertible GPSTrackIT

Just like Las Vegas itself, the SEMA show is designed to overwhelm the senses. There are literally thousands of vendors competing for your attention, and they will use any tactic they can to draw you over to their booth.

Some booths have flashing lights or sexy girls or celebrity appearances, but most vendors recognize that the way to get your attention at a car expo is to have a wicked hot rod on display. In the North Hall, I spotted this 1969 Camaro convertible at the GPSTrackIt booth and came in for a closer look.

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