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The Full Story
Updated March 2/00

It all started about 12 years ago. I was 17 and had a 1980 Camaro Z-28. The car was great and I had alot of time and cash into it. But it turned out that someone else wanted to borrow it from me without my consent. Well when the cops found it it was totalled. Bummer. So here I am looking for a new car. So off to the city I go a lookin'. While snooping around a used car lot at some cars the sales guy says "Hey I got something you should look at out back". So he shows me this 1971 Camaro. It has a 396 in it he tells me. Well now the car has been totally customized by some goof. It has wheel flares on ALL fenders! And the interior is completely filled with crushed velvet!! But here I am thinking. "This thing has possibilities" So I buy the thing and drive it home. Have a look at was UGLY!! (can only see this picture reading this)

Car with flares

Well after I get the car home and start doing some checks it turns out the engine is actually a 402!! And as you know these cars were labeled as 396 but were actually 402s. And further looking showed that it is original!! Well I started digging a little deeper and had a VIN search done on the car. When I finally got it back I found out the car was an original SS!!! For some reason the previous owner didn't like the emblems and removed them and welded up all the holes!! Well I had to wait until the following spring before I was able to start any work on the car as funds were low and with winter coming I had to buy another vehicle to drive.(I opted for a 1981 GMC 4X4....thats another story) Well the next spring I had most of the money I needed to get the car repainted, including new front fenders and rear quarters. So I took it to a local body shop for them to start the work. I left the car with them and had to leave the province to go to work for a few months. Well it took them that long to finish it. It looked great! Blue with white stripes. I also slowly replaced most of the interior with original parts as I could find them. It took some time with my small cash flow at the time. Here is a picture after it was painted.

Before I started the current resto

Well I drove the car for about 3 years the way it looked in that picture. I eventually moved to British Columbia to find a better job so had to put the car into storage until I could come back for it. About 2 years passed until I finally had my own place where I could keep it so I headed back home and retrieved the car. I drove it out to my new home where I drove it every now and then......but not doing anything with it. I eventually lost interest and it just ended up sitting in the back yard tarped up. Well it sat there for about 4 years...the paintjob aged and some of the poor bodywork the bodyshop did was now starting to show. It had a couple of small rust spots and the usualy other stuff showing up. What it actually took to get me motivated again was my buddy Kevin buying himself a 1970 Dodge Super Bee. He poured many hours into his car and we would go out cruising in it. Man does that thing go. It has a 440 6-pack in it. Well with all his bragging I started to get the bug again. I had to get my car going and teach him a lesson. So that is my mission now.

Well this time I am going all out. I have a good job now and can afford it better now. Well I got the car into a borrowed shop. Kevin and I started disassembling it. It sure doesn't take long to strip a car down! Well I eventually got it completely completely stripped and It was ready for the body shop. So I got a tow truck to haul it down to a local body shop to start the refinishing. The following pictures show the disassembly.

Front view. No clip or engine.
No front clip. 396 still in.
Side view.
Rear view, completely gutted.
Passenger side &inside.
Well now it is in the body shop there is not alot for me to do. I gathered up a pile of brackets, braces, mounts and stuff and bead blasted them all. Another friend of mine in town works at another body shop so he painted all the parts for me so I now have all them done. As I am writing this (oct.4/98) I am just saving the money for the paintjob and the new weather striping. Nothing much else I can do. Well have a look at these pictures of the car at the body shop. They kind of speak for themselves on how the car is coming along.

Picture 1.
Picture 2.
Picture 3.
Picture 4.
Picture 5.
Picture 6
Picture 7.
Picture 8.
Picture 9.
Picture 10.

Well with the body work pretty much complete (finally!) We are ready to paint some parts. Well as I told you before my friend Kevin has the Dodge Super Bee. It is painted that very bright color lime green. So to compete with him I got to pick something bright so mine will attract as much attention as his. So the obvious choice is HUGGER ORANGE!! Have a look.

Picture 1.
Picture 2.
Picture 3.

Well I am eagerly waiting for my car to be done at the body shop. My first plans are to replace all the glass and install all the new weather striping. Now that Christmas is coming I am going to have to hold off on parts buying until after New Years. But after that my plans are to remove the front subframe and disassemble it. I am going to paint each piece seperatly and replace all the ball joints, tie-rod ends etc. I am also planning on buying a poly urethane kit for the front end and body mounts. Hopefully that will make it handle a bit better. I am also planning on adding sub frame connectors to handle the power of the new engine. (But you will have to wait to hear about that!) But I think winter is going to slow down the restoration a bit.

Its now Friday Oct.9/98. Yesterday I was down at the body shop helping them put the doors and trunk lid on. IT IS FINALLY PAINTED!!! I have been waiting so damn long but now it is done. It looks awesome! They just have to paint inside the rear wheel wells today and I should be bringing it home this weekend. I took a bunch of pictures so I will be posting them right away. Just got to get them developed. I also got most of the new weather striping in the mail today so I will be able to actually replace a few things.

October 11/1998 Well I got the pictures developed so here you go. Have a look at the new paintjob!!

Still in the paint booth.
Replacing the doors.
Got the doors on.

I guess now I just got to get it home, that is the easy part. The first thing that I plan to do is remove the front sub-frame and paint and replace everything. But I think I am going to wait until after Christmas to do that. I am just happy it is painted finally. This way at least I have something to show for my efforts. Maybe if I get time in the next couple of weeks I might get some glass into the car too. But it could be awhile until I get some new pictures up here again so you can check back now and then and see if anything has happened. I might update this a bit to keep people up-to-date on what is happening.

June 17/99 Well it sure has been along time since I updated this page!! Sorry about that! Well as for the car I have got a few things done. (not as many as I would like) But at least something got done. I have got the weather stripping into the car. Fit perfect, SoffSeal & Metro make excellent stuff. I got the rear spoiler on the car also. As for the interior not alot there. Got the heater box in place with a new fire wall pad, the wiper motor, as well as a few other small braces. Not alot done there though.

Well I finally got that damn front subframe from out of under the car. The bolts all came out not too badly. So I disassembled it and took it down to the local sandblasting place. They did a very good job. Nothing missed, and it only cost me $20! needless to say I think they will also be doing my rear differential in the future. I hauled the frame over to my buddy Darcy who works in a autobody shop. We cleaned the frame up and sprayed it with 1 coat of primer, 1 coat of primer sealer, and 3 coates of paint. It turned out quite nice. So now it sits in my shed until I have some time to put it back in.

I also ordered poly control arm bushing and body mounts so I glass bead blasted the control arms at work and installed the new bushings. (what a horrible job that was! I recommend getting somebody elso to do it for you!) I also went down and bought new ball joints and installed them too. I also finally got my front spindles acid tanked at work and bead blasted them so we are going to paint all those parts this weekend. I was planning on installing the subframe this weekend but on Sunday there will be drag races at the new local track so I HAVE to go see that! And as luck would have it, I was looking through the classified ads and found some guy selling a pair of brand new rectangular port Dart Merlin heads with all machine work done with brand new stainless valves. So there goes Saturday as I have to go pick them up before somebody else does! They will make an excellent addition to the engine I am planning out right now.

Well I will try and get some new pics of the subframe job up maybe this weekend. Sorry I have been taking so long, but I got to work to get cash to dump into the car!!

June 28/99 I got my new Merlin heads now sitting here in the house. They look great. Now I got to find time to do a little polishing on them as the runners are a bit rough. I now have my control arms painted and will be painting the last few parts for the front suspension this week I hope. And if everything goes well I will be bolting the subframe and front suspension back in this weekend also. I just purchased new coil spings and front brake rotors and calipers. For the price of them a person can't afford not to buy new ones. (they are cheap!) The front spring I ordered are actually for a 1971 Trans Am with a 455 and air conditioning. Was having trouble finding actual big block spring for a '71 Camaro so these should work. Well anyway here are the recent pictures of the front subframe job.

Just before removing the subframe.
Car with subframe removed.
Subframe removed and refinished.
Front suspension parts refinished.

Jan.10, 2000 Well I know it has been quit awhile since I updated this. Well the reason is that I havn't had the time or the funds to do much this summer. As well I have been a bit lazy. I did manage to get the front spings, control arms, rotors, and calipers on the car so it can at least be rolled around abit. The parts look awesome!! I highly recommend that if you are restoring your car to take the extra time and refinish your subframe and pieces as it makes it look like new! I also purchased a Ford 9" rearend at a local wrecking yard. I plan to completely rebuild it and install it when I have a chance. If anyone is looking for a 9" for their own car what I found through an entire day of searching and measuring is that a rear differential out of a 1971 Cougar is just about exact!! These cars did not have coil springs so there isn't a pile of crap to cut off. As well this third member is about a 1/2" narrower than the original 10 bolt in my car so there will be no narrowing required!! Just have to cut off the leaf spring mounts and weld new ones on it the correct spot. Its that simple. (of course I will have to get a drive shaft built.)

Well I will try to get some pics of the front end up soon. It may take awhile as I am planning on moving to Red Deer Alberta in the next month or so, and I would imagine that this move could take up alot of my time.

March 2/00 HERE I AM!!! I have picked up and moved to Red Deer, Alberta. My car is in storage....probobly until late summer. Or at least until I can buy a house! I am planning on having someone put on my front clip for me as the car is still in Fort St.John, BC. I did manage to get the front subframe in before I left though. Hope to have those pics up some day.

Sept 10/2000. Hello all. Long time since I have updated this. Well I thought I would check in and tell you what has been going on. My car is still In Fort St. John. But the good news is that the front clip is now installed. I am planning on heading up there and picking it up by the end of the month or early in Oct. But I still don't have a place to work on it over winter, so I will probobly just get put into storage here. Hopefully I will have pics of the front on here by the end of the month or early into Oct. also.

June 27/2002. Well it has been forever since I have updated this web page. Up until now, I havn't touched the car at all. I did manage to get the car down here where I live, but it has been in a storage compartment for the past 2+ years.

Finally, I got my '97 running where I want it mostly, but there is always room to add parts to it as well, but I decided to get some stuff done to the '71 for a change. Maybe it has just finally became an interest to me again. Thats the way it goes, I work on it for awhile, lose interest, stop working on it, then gain interest once again. Well thats whats happening now. One thing that most likely got me interested again, is all the summer car shows going on, as well as all the old muscle cars cruising the beach. Whatever the reason, I'm at it again!

Well for an update, I have ordered the rear window for the car, (already installed a new front windshield), as the original rear window was badly scratched over the years. To me, you cannot reuse bad glass, because it is so noticable on a newly restored car. I have also ordered a new drivers side window, as it to was badly scratched. I did manage to reuse the passenger side window though.

I have also got a pile of new interior parts, including new carpet, insulations, seat upholstery, seat buns, etc. That should make it look awesome inside, and again, make it look like a car again. I have also bolted on a few pieces that I had already painted a long time ago, but where just stored in boxes. I hope to have some new pics up on here once I get some of the interior finished. That way some of you who have been coming back to the site can actually see some progress!!

Please check back often and tell others to check out my page!! And PLEASE SIGN MY GUESTBOOK!! I really like to know if someone is actually reading this!!

Any questions? Please email me and I will do my best to answer them.

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