Hot Rods By Dean’s Latest Camaro Creation
By Fuelish Media – Photography by the Author
Hot rod, muscle car, and custom-loving fiends alike in the Phoenix vicinity know Dean Livermore’s name all too well. Hot Rods by Dean (HRBD) has proven to be the go-to shop in the region, and with 60 years of combined experience between Livermore and his team of talented fabricators and builders, there’s no doubt that these guys can handle any job on any car. Luckily for Bryan Oates, also a Phoenix native, he didn’t have to take his project car far to have it checked into HRBD for a full overhaul and more. Luckily for the guys at the shop, Bryan’s car just happened to be one of their collective favorite platforms: a 1969 Camaro. In the world of classic American muscle cars, it doesn’t get much sweeter than this.
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There isn’t much the guys at HRBD can’t handle in-house. Their 12,000-square-foot facility features old-school, state-of-the-art tools and machinery to handle just about any chassis, mechanical, and paint gig. Starting with the suspension system, Bryan wanted much more excitement from his 1969, and Livermore knew exactly where to start. Having worked with Detroit Speed chassis components in the past, Livermore utilizes DSE spindles, coilovers, sway bars, and rear four-links whenever possible. The ride quality and handling these products deliver when brought together greatly increases overall performance and the exact level of excitement Bryan was looking for. As an added bonus, DSE’s coilover units allow for easy ride height and spring rate adjustments, so dialing in a more aggressive stance and feel will always be well within reach.
To finish off the chassis setup, a set of staggered 18- and 19-inch Formula 43 wheels were selected and given a custom blacked-out appearance. Covering the performance-minded wheels is fresh Michelin rubber that will match the Camaro’s newfound nimbleness and raw power output that was next on the horizon.
Wanting to capitalize on the car’s ultra-responsive suspension setup, Livermore thought it wise to invest in a late-model GM crate engine, and what better transplant to go with than a fresh LS7 mill. The already impressive specs on the factory engine just wouldn’t be enough for this project, however. To up the ante for go as well as show, a Billet Specialties front drive pulley system was put into place as well as other billet dress-up accessories. To add more teeth to the LS7’s bite, HRBD cooked up a set of custom headers as well as a one-off 2.5-inch exhaust system that was attached to rumbling MagnaFlow mufflers.
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With the Camaro’s speed and handling well taken care of, Livermore and crew then looked to see what they could do with the exterior to give it a classic yet updated appearance while attempting to match the car’s rising level of aggression. After the necessary bodywork was completed by HRBD, a custom front pan design was implemented. An RS/SS grille was also thrown into the mix, which further gives a stylized spin to the elevated yet familiar front end of the 1969.
To top off the Camaro’s new look just right, the guys started playing around to find the right paint color. While there are some great stock colors that would’ve given the car a classic, timeless look, Livermore and his in-house paint department landed on orange. What they had in mind just wasn’t any shade of orange, however. PPG Prowler Orange was chosen for its darker, deeper “sunset” quality over a standard bright orange hue. To break up the monotony, a center black paint stripe and other details were given a blackened treatment to sidestep the use of ho-hum, factory-looking chrome accessories.
Setting their sights into the cabin next, the HRBD team was looking to create a clean yet cool interior that would feature a pair of 2002 Firebird seats at center stage. The seats were covered in black vinyl upholstery, as were the door panels and dash. Quality accessories were peppered throughout the interior, including a MOMO steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges, plush German square-weave carpet, G-Force seatbelts, as well as a full Vintage Air A/C system and a steel rollbar for good measure. The Camaro’s confines hit all the marks that would be expected from this modern-flavored 1969.
In the end, Bryan was delivered a Camaro that got his blood pumping before he even sat behind the wheel, which is the effect HRBD has perfected with their work over the years. While the car is lean, mean, and ready to scream, Bryan might feel the need to baby it a bit more often than not, which is totally understandable.
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Owner: Bryan Oates, Phoenix, Arizona
Vehicle: 1969 Chevy Camaro
Type: Chevy LS7
Displacement: 427 ci
Cylinder Heads: GM
Rotating Assembly: GM
Induction: Holley Sniper EFI with custom intake and K&N filters
Exhaust: Hot Rods By Dean custom headers and 2.5-inch exhaust system with MagnaFlow mufflers
Accessory Drive: Billet Specialties
Dress-Up: Billet Specialties valve covers
Fuel Tank: Rick’s Tanks stainless steel
Wiring: American Autowire
Transmission: TREMEC T56 with Hays clutch
Driveshaft: Custom Aluminum
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch
Chassis & Suspension
Chassis: DSE hydroformed subframe
Front Suspension: IFS setup featuring DSE spindles, coilovers, splined sway bar, subframe connectors, rack-and-pinion
Rear Suspension: DSE QUADRALink, sway bar, Panhard bar, coilovers
Brakes: Wilwood six- and four-piston calipers, master cylinder, proportioning valve
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 18×9 and 19×12 Formula 43 wheels
Tires: 275/35R18 and 325/30R19 Nitto INVO
Upholstery: Black vinyl
Seats: 2002 Firebird seats wrapped in black vinyl
Steering: ididit with MOMO wheel
Instrumentation: Auto Meter
Pedals: Clayton Machine Works
Climate Control: Vintage Air
Bodywork and Paint: Hot Rods by Dean/PPG Prowler Orange with black stripes
Grille: RS/SS grille
Bumpers: Custom front pan