A 1970 Camaro Worth the Wait

By Nick Licata – Photography by Jason Matthew

“We found a great-looking 1970 Rally Sport in Citrus Green with black SS stripes on eBay. It had a 350 small-block with World heads, a Demon carb, and headers, along with some other work done. The seller attached a video showing the car running and sounding strong, so we decided to buy it. When the car was delivered from Michigan, we pulled it off the trailer and tried to start the car. It just backfired and wouldn’t start.”

These are the words from Anna-Maria Parinello. We’ve heard similar stories on more than one occasion, and we’ve even been victim to a similar ordeal. It’s the same old thing, someone on the Internet is selling a car they no longer want to mess with and advertise it as better-looking, better-running, and just plain better overall than it really is.

Chuck and Anna-Maria were originally lured to the car by its Citrus Green color due to Chuck having a car of the same color years ago. “I’ve always wanted another Camaro the same color,” Chuck says, “so this one grabbed our attention.”

Once the duo pushed the car in the garage and pulled the valve covers, they found a few bent push rods and broken rocker arms. Right then they realized they had more work on their hands than they bargained for. Fortunately, the body was pretty much as described, so they were pleased with the car from an aesthetic standpoint.

Eager to get their new ride running, they called on Larry at Promotion Engines to rebuild the top-end—ported and polished heads, new valves, springs, pushrods, rockers, the works. With the car now running well, they both drag raced it on weekends and were having a great time with the car. After a year or so of running the Camaro hard, they had Larry go through the engine to make sure all was copacetic. Unfortunately, Larry found damage to the block. “We’ve always wanted a big-block,” they both said. “So Larry worked within our budget to build a stout 598ci bullet.” The new mill consisted of a Dart Big M block, Brodix Heads, Comp cam, and a Holley 1,050-cfm Dominator carburetor worked over by Nickerson Performance in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Their efforts squeezed out 850 hp and 700 lb-ft.

The hefty big-block sends spent fuel through a set of Lemons headers, SpinTech 4-inch oval exhaust and SpinTech mufflers, leaving no guessing to the aggressive nature of the engine that lies underhood.

With their engine woes behind them, the car was sent to Gene and the boys at Wild Rides in Farmingdale, New Jersey, for some chassis work, mini-tubs, and a 12-point chromoly rollcage that will cert to 8.50. From there, the car took on a Powerglide transmission built by Rich from RW Performance, which is backed up with a Gear Vendors for more precise rpm shift points. A Moser 9-inch rearend houses 4:56 gears, a spool, and 35-spline axles. Power hammers the pavement with a CalTracs monoleaf system. Santhuff shocks resided on all four corners for excellent track tuning capabilities. Up front, Global West upper and lower control arms provide better performance geometry and additional strength over the stock bits, while Wild Rides subframe connectors keep chassis flex in check.

Wilwood disc brakes armed with four-piston calipers handle the stopping process and peek through a set of Champion Cap 5 wheels (15×3 front, 15×12 rear) wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. A Wilwood brake master abides to Chuck’s preferred pedal feel for his normally heavy right foot.

With the Citrus Green paint being the initial attraction, the car’s newfound power gives the car a whole new attitude. That improved performance personality led to Anna-Maria and Chuck to have Jess and the crew at Taylored Auto Body in Boonton, New Jersey, smooth the body and let Jess unleash his gun to spray the F-body in a Tesla Sonic Carbon paint. Jess then did a little color tweaking for a one-off pigment.

Anvil Auto carbon-fiber bumpers front and rear tie in with the Anvil carbon-fiber RS nose and contribute to the car’s stealthy look, while shaving off a little weight for quicker quarter-mile times. That portly big-block needs room to breathe, so a VFN Sonoco-style fiberglass cowl offers plenty of additional real estate.

Chuck took on a minimalist approach to the interior, which resulted in nothing beyond the necessary tools. A carbon-fiber dash houses a Racepak IQ3 for vital stats and Sportsman data logger rests on the crossbar for the cage. The stock center console houses the Quarter Pro shifter. A pair of black Pro Car seats ensure a secure seating arrangement and a Simpson harness offer the tenants additional safety. The stock-style black loop carpet jives with the overall scene and factory-style door panels.

Throughout the nine-year gestation, Chuck and Anna-Maria both agree the car is still a work in progress but it came out far beyond their expectations. “The most challenging part of the process was dealing with the length of time it took to complete,” Chuck says. “We grossly underestimated how long it would take for a project like this, but it was well worth the wait.”

TECH CHECK
Owner: Chuck and Anna-Maria Parinello
Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey
Vehicle: 1970 Camaro

Engine
Type: Dart Big M
Displacement: 598 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Bore: 4.600 inches
Stroke: 4.500 inches
Cylinder Heads: Brodix
Rotating Assembly: Race Tech pistons, K1 Technologies rods, Callies crankshaft
Cam: Comp Cam hydraulic roller (specs proprietary to Pro Motion)
Induction: 1050 Dominator by Nickerson Performance, Brodix HV series intake modified by Larry at Pro-Motion Engines
Ignition: MSD Digital Programmable 6-AL2
Exhaust: Lemons headers, SpinTech 4-inch oval exhaust, SpinTech mufflers
Ancillaries: Jones Racing drive system, Moroso Ultra 40 wires, Meziere water pump, Aeromotive 20-gallon Stealth A1000 fuel system, dual Spal fans, C&R aluminum radiator, House of Payne alternator, Painless Performance wiring kit,
Output (at crank): 850 hp at 6,400 rpm, 700 lb-ft at 6,400 rpm

Drivetrain
Transmission: Powerglide by RW Performance (Neshanic Station, NJ)
Rear Axle: Moser Ford 9-inch, 4:56 gears, Spool, 35-spline Moser axles

Chassis
Front Suspension: Global West upper and lower race control arms, Santhuff double-adjustable shocks
Rear Suspension: Caltracs monoleaf system, Santhuff double-adjustable shocks
Brakes: Wilwood disc brakes, four-piston calipers front and rear, Wilwood master cylinder

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Champion Cap 5 15×3 front, 15×12 rear
Tires: Mickey Thompson 24/4.5-15 ET Drag front, Mickey Thompson 28×10.5W-15 E.T Drag rear

Interior
Upholstery: Done in-house by Chuck and Anna-Maria
Material: Vinyl and carbon fiber
Carpet: Black loop
Seats: Pro Car by Scat
Steering: Strange Quick-release steering hub
Shifter: Quarter Pro
Dash: Carbon fiber
Instrumentation: Racepak IQ3
HVAC: None

Exterior
Bodywork and Paint: Taylored Auto Body (Boontown, NJ)
Paint: Tesla Sonic Carbon
Hood: VFN fiberglass
Grille: Billet Aluminum
Bumpers: Anvil Auto carbon fiber

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