Mark Hamburg of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, caught the Camaro bug early in life. His older brother sported a 402-inch tunnel-ram small-blocked '68 in high school, leaving Mark to ride shotgun.
Mark witnessed the shift in muscle car prices as the Barrett Jackson auction gained popularity, and TV shows about cars became more abundant. He spoke to his wife, stating that if they were to get a muscle car, it would need to be soon, since the prices are only going up. With the arrival of their daughter, Mark argued buying the car would be a good investment for the baby's college fund. His wife saw right through that, but supported him anyway.
He found his Camaro on an Internet classified listing site, and met with the seller quickly. The Camaro was sleeping in a warehouse with many other pony cars, none of which had the appeal of the '68 Camaro. The seller had bought the car from a kid who didn't know what he had at the famous Pomona swap meet. This was an original SS396 RS four-speed car with factory air conditioning, and the factory air is what sold him on the car.
The poor kid who lost his Camaro at the swap meet had a 401 small-block in place of the original. With no way to find the original engine because of the lack of documentation, Mark decided to build his own big-block. Starting with a four-bolt main 454, he had Velios Performance of Lawndale, California, build him a 498-inch upgrade.
Since the numbers couldn't match, and the factory air had to be removed to make room for the tall-deck big-block, he decided to build the car how he wanted. He called it a "reversible" Pro Touring build, where nothing was cut or modified in a way that it couldn't be brought back to stock. With such a valuable car, this was a nice consideration on his part.