Day Two Restored 1967 Chevy Camaro

By Fuelish Media   –   Photography by the Author

In the world of custom car building, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around to categorize certain styles and types of vehicles. The idea of “Day Two” projects is the only way to fly for many enthusiasts who value the importance of modifying their vehicles using only period-correct OEM and aftermarket components. This type of build can be very rewarding but can also pose a substantial challenge while sourcing the right parts for the job.

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Recently, we met up with Chas Swanenburg of Long Beach, California, who just finished up a beauty of a ’67 Camaro build. “My dad was always a car guy—mainly classic Porsches though,” Chas says. “He always used to drag me to swap meets and shows as a kid, so I learned to appreciate the hunt. One night my wife and I were watching the movie Remember the Titans and I commented about the main character Gary’s Camaro on screen. My wife asked if I knew what the exact color the car was because she thought it was nice. Granada Gold, I answered. The very next morning, I happened to run a search on available Camaros on Craigslist and I couldn’t believe what turned up.”

003 The Camaro cruising on a bridge with a cityscape and harbor in the background

Read More: Tom Panaseny’s 1967 Camaro Pays Tribute to its Original Owner

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What Chas found was a ’67 Chevy Camaro—with Granada Gold paint, no less. Being familiar with the whole Day Two aesthetic, finding this exact car in its condition was the purest evidence of fate imaginable. Since the car was already finished in Chas’ desired paint code, it was already a great candidate to fit under the qualifying “guidelines” of a true period-correct build (changing the color would be a direct strike against that).

005 Another angle of the Camaro's side profile featuring its clean and classic styling

“The Camaro was a three-owner car, and the third owner only had it a few weeks,” Chas adds. “It only had 54,000 miles, had most of its original paint, the interior was all OEM, and the 327ci engine with two-barrel carburetor and Powerglide transmission was all intact. This car was totally unmolested, and the fact that I could build it the way I wanted put it at the perfect starting point for what I had in mind.”

002 Side view of the same 1967 Camaro highlighting its classic lines and chrome wheels

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The Camaro’s original exterior paint was in passable condition, and Chas felt it best to recruit both Luis Valdovinos to perform some amazing metal finishing work and Sebouh Babikian to reapply an even coat of fresh PPG Granada Gold paint to spruce up the car’s surface. An OER fiberglass stinger-style hood features a painted stripe along the top that was done with help of a stencil that Chas’ dad, Eddie, created specifically for the job. This really was the only other body add-on made to this ’67, save for some fresh chrome dipping of factory exterior parts.

010 1967 camaro day two restoration

Read More: Jim & Raylene Senke’s 1968 Camaro

Next, Chas lined up a ’69 GM 427 big-block engine to throw underhood that has since been stroked to a 496. Jim VanGordon of VanGordon Racing in Upland, California, was asked to beef it up with a literal pile of performance add-ons and machinework to pull an estimated 600 hp out of the vintage mill. Backing up the 496 is an Auto Gear M23 four-speed manual transmission complete with a McLeod clutch and Hurst shifter put together by Frank Manning in Temecula, California.

013 1967 Camaro engine bay featuring a beer can as a coolant overflow

To better harness the newfound dose of power, Chas began working on the Camaro’s factory chassis. The frame was updated with Hotchkis subframe connectors to add necessary structural support. Stock ’69 five-leaf springs were added to the rearend—the same used on COPO 427 models for added performance. To add that custom touch of ’60s- to ’70s-era street style, a staggered set of 15×4 and 15×8 Cragar S/S wheels were mounted to the hubs.

014 The gold interior of a 1967 Camaro with manual shifter

“I took a lot of inspiration from Motion Performance cars as well as from my father-in-law, Tom Buksa, who had a ’69 Z/28 Camaro of his own in the early ’70s,” Chas states. “I am a bit of a Camaro purist, and I wanted to stay true to the ’70s style I have grown to love. I have learned that my car was originally sold new at Ellis Brooks Chevrolet in downtown San Francisco before it was traded to Stewart Chevrolet in 1969. My friend Jose Betancourt, who lives in the Bay Area, was able to track down an original dealership emblem, which was great to add back to the car.”

007 Rear view of the Camaro displaying its taillights and dual exhaust

Read More: Rick & Val Van Unen’s 1973 Camaro

While the entirety of the project lasted all of three years, all the research and time spent scouting out the era-specific components was well worth the effort. “I couldn’t have pulled this build off without the support from my wife, Kim,” Chas adds. “Also, I would like to take a second to thank Bao Nguyen and Jason Horton for all the help taking the car apart and putting it back together, as well as Jason Sutherland of Jay’s Detailing for sanding and polishing the paint to a mirror finish.”

009 A detailed view of the Camaro's engine bay with a polished air cleaner and orange block

Tech Check:

Owner: Chas Swanenburg, Long Beach, California
Vehicle: 1967 Chevy Camaro

Type: ’69 GM 512 big-block
Displacement: 496 ci
Cylinder Heads: GM Z81 heads
Camshaft: Comp Cam custom ground hydraulic roller
Induction: Edelbrock Torker II intake manifold
Assembly: Jim VanGordon and Mikio Yoshioka
Exhaust: Custom 3-inch exhaust and Dynomax mufflers by Gene’s Mufflers (Downey, CA)
Accessory Drive: Stock GM Deep Groove
Dress Up: N.O.S. Cal Custom “Fly Eye” air cleaner and polished Mickey Thompson valve covers, Coors can on the coil
Fuel Tank: Stock

Transmission: Auto Gear M23 transmission by Frank Manning (Temecula, CA)
Driveshaft: Driveshaft Pro 3.5-inch steel 1350 U-joints
Rear Axle: Moser 12-bolt Wavetrac differential

Chassis: Factory frame
Front Suspension: GM spindles, power steering, control arms, springs, and Gabriel shocks
Rear Suspension: ’69 Camaro five-leaf springs, Gabriel shocks
Brakes: Stock

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 15×4 and 15×8 Cragar S/S wheels
Tires: 6.40×15 Firestone and 275/60R15 Pro-Trac tires

Upholstery: Stock gold material
Seats: Stock
Seat Belts: Stock
Steering: Stock
Instrumentation: Stock with N.O.S. Stewart-Warner 977-J pedestal tach, underdash oil pressure, amp, and temp gauges
Pedals: Stock
Shifter: Hurst Comp Plus

Bodywork & Paint: Body by Luis Valdovinos, PPG Granada Gold paint by Sebouh Babikian
Hood: OER fiberglass with Stinger hood
Grille: Stock
Bumpers: Stock front with NMW tow tabs

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Day Two Restored 1967 Chevy Camaro.acp march 2024

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