'69 Camaro Z28No RestoChris Gibbs of Oak View, California, had been whining to his wife for years about wanting a '69 Camaro. The repetition got to her and she told Chris to go find one. He searched the classifieds in the newspaper, browsed though eBay auctions, and posted on the automotive forums looking for the '69 Camaro of his dreams. He finally found one that was in the midst of a frame-off restoration. He thought this was a great opportunity because he wanted to take it completely apart anyway; here someone had done half the work for him. Since this car was all matching-numbers and the owner had the build sheet, it was worth going over the car with a fine-tooth comb.
After the car came home, in hundreds of pieces, he saw the restoration job being done was not up to par with what he had in mind. He took the car and its pieces to JCG Restoration and Customs of Ventura County, California. JCG is well-known for their work on first-generation Camaros, so Chris knew he went to the right place. He wanted to restore the car but give it a little more performance in the engine, suspension, and braking categories. The main focus was to be able to do this without cutting anything, allowing him to return it to stock if need be. While hanging out at the shop, Chris got a ride in another customer's Camaro that had a lot of modifications, much more surgery than Chris originally planned for. Instead of installing the 406ci small-block Chevy and a five-speed, Chris wanted to take a closer look at an LS7 motor. He wanted his Camaro to outperform this other customer's car. Chris decided it would be better to build it how he wanted, not the restoration that proper society expected of an all-original car. The chopping started in the rear by adding mini-tubs and stretching the quarter-panels 2 inches on each side to fit 345mm tires. The interior wasn't left alone either. It's getting a custom dash and '05 GTO seats to go with the modern feel.
It's inevitable that people will give Chris a really hard time about chopping up a fresh '69 Z28. What's important is to have a car you enjoy driving, not one you're trying to protect from the world of modification and mileage.
By The Numbers1969 Z28 CamaroChris Gibbs, 45 * Oak View, CA