A Simple Paintjob Turns Into an Extensive Build for This Killer ’69 Camaro
By Tommy Lee Byrd – Photography by the Author
Project cars can be tricky. Gearheads always have good intentions but often lose track of time when it comes to upgrades and improvements. A 30-minute job turns into a weekend of torture, and we all know that winter projects are rarely finished by springtime. For Wade McDaniel and his ’69 Camaro, the snowball effect is much more dramatic. He bought it a few years ago as a completed car. It was an older restoration with some outdated modifications so he wanted to freshen it with a new paintjob and cosmetic updates. He contacted Barry Alford and Kyle Kirkman at Dynamic Speed & Custom in Gadsden, Alabama, to handle the job.
Painting an old car isn’t a simple process, especially when you’re dealing with someone else’s bodywork underneath. So, no matter how this project shook out, it wouldn’t be a scuff-and-shoot situation. Dynamic Speed & Custom disassembled the car and sent it off for sandblasting to remove any previous paint, primer, or body filler. The result was heartbreaking, as nearly every panel had rust issues or extreme damage, which had been paved over with body filler. Wade was at a crucial junction with his Camaro and he decided to order a new reproduction body from Dynacorn. This decision sent the build on a totally different path, but it’s one that resulted in a stunning car with a cool combination of contemporary and old-school parts.
Wade wanted an aggressive stance, so Ridetech got the call for the full Pro Touring suspension treatment. It all starts with the stock front subframe, which has been modified to accept the new suspension items. Ridetech Strong Arms mount to the framerails and support the ShockWave air suspension. Ridetech is also responsible for the front and rear splined sway bars, as well as the Tru Turn system, which allows for the 18×10 wheels and 275/35-R18 front wheel and tire package.
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Tire and wheel fitment was also important out back, so Dynamic Speed & Custom installed Detroit Speed mini-tubs and ordered a narrowed 9-inch housing from John’s Industries. The rearend measures 54.75 inches and features a Detroit TruTrac differential and 3.50:1 gears. A Ridetech four-link and ShockWaves provide adjustable ride height thanks to the Ridepro control system. The compressor, tank, and electronics are tucked away in the trunk. With this system, Wade can give the car a cool Pro Touring look at a comfortable ride height or let the air out for a truly slammed stance, which tucks the giant BFGoodriches nicely.
When it comes to horsepower, Wade stuck with an old-school combination: a tried-and-true 383 stroker built by Alford Machine Shop. The stock block now has a GM 400 crankshaft to increase the stroke and forged pistons provide a 10.5:1 compression ratio. GM angle plug heads are ported and treated to a race valve job with bronze valveguides. A custom grind camshaft offers a great exhaust note, in combination with the Hedman Hedders headers, Borla Pro XS mufflers, and 2.5-inch stainless exhaust, fabricated by Dynamic Speed & Custom. Wade added a CVF front drive system, but stayed old school with the Chevrolet Orange engine paint and Moroso valve covers. A TREMEC T56 Magnum six-speed from Bowler Performance Transmissions is mated to the small-block with a Quick Time bellhousing.
The Dynacorn body simplified the rust repair, but Dynamic Speed & Custom still gave it the full bodywork treatment for laser-straight panels. The only body modifications included shaving the Camaro emblem on the header panel and the engine-size emblem on the front fenders to give the car a clean look. You’ll notice that Wade didn’t take the opportunity to make his Camaro a Rally Sport or even a Super Sport—he stayed with the plain Jane appearance and even went with a flat hood. Olympic White covers the body panels, and the black vinyl top installed by Al’s Top Shop is the perfect finishing touch. The blue Bowties in the grille and taillight panel are a nice splash of color.
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Inside, Dynamic Speed & Custom handled most of the painting and upholstery, aside from the headliner, which was installed by Al’s Top Shop. The reupholstered bucket seats and other interior components look factory fresh. The dash has been upgraded with Dakota Digital RTX gauges, while a Hurst shifter pokes out of the console, and a Custom Autosound factory-look radio offers the right vintage appearance. A GM Comfort Grip steering wheel finishes off the interior.
After a little over a year, Wade’s simple repaint rolled out of the shop as a brand-new build with top-notch details throughout. Although its original sheetmetal is long gone, this Camaro lives on because of the workmanship of Dynamic Speed & Custom, as well as a great selection of reproduction and aftermarket parts. Even though Wade had to start from scratch on his running and driving project car, he made the best of it with a killer stance, sanitary body lines, and vintage details that set his Camaro apart from the rest.
Owner: Wade McDaniel, Hokes Bluff, Alabama
Vehicle: ’69 Camaro
Displacement: 383 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Bore: 4.030 inches
Stroke: 3.75 inches
Rotating Assembly: GM crankshaft and rods, forged pistons
Cylinder Heads: GM angle plug, modified by Alford Machine Shop
Valvetrain: 1.5:1 roller rocker arms
Camshaft: Custom grind, 230/236 duration, 0.525/0.526 lift
Intake: Edelbrock Victor E single plane
EFI: Edelbrock Pro-Flo 4
Assembly: Alford Machine Shop
Exhaust: Hedman Hedders headers, 2.5-inch stainless pipes, Borla Pro XS mufflers
Ancillaries: CVF front drive system, Moroso valve covers
Output: Estimated 495 hp
Transmission: TREMEC T56 Magnum by Bowler Performance Transmissions
Clutch: McLeod RST twin disc with Tilton hydraulic throw-out bearing
Rear Axle: 9-inch, 3.50:1 gears, Detroit Truetrac
Front Suspension: Ridetech ShockWaves, strong arms, MUSCLEbar
Rear Suspension: Ridetech four-link, ShockWaves, MUSCLEbar
Brakes: Wilwood Superlite 6 front, Superlite 4 rear
Master Cylinder: Wilwood aluminum tandem
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Formula 43 18×10 and 18×12
Tires: BFGoodrich Rival 275/35-R18 and 335/30-R18
Seats: Stock buckets
Steering: Stock GM comfort grip
Instrumentation: Dakota Digital RTX
HVAC: Vintage Air SureFit
Audio: Custom Autosound head unit, Kicker amp and speakers
Wiring: American Autowire
Bodywork: Dynamic Speed & Custom
Paint: BASF Glasurit, Olympic White