There isn’t a whole lot that can be said about the first-gen Camaro that hasn’t already been stated. The first three years of the pony car are cemented in history as an iconic ride in the classic car realm and they are timeless machines. While its introduction with the ’67 model year was done so with uncertainty, the immediate success in sales meant the Camaro would live on.
Many enthusiasts are grateful the car had the success it did and while an untold number of Camaro fans might not have been able to own one of those early models when they first hit dealer lots, they have found a way to do so, many years later.
Michael Shipman of Muncy, Pennsylvania is one of those current first-gen Camaro owners, and his first-year example is a true driver-quality ride that he uses to rack up the miles when the urge frequently moves him.
“One day, I was searching the internet to see what was available, and I came across this car,” says Michael. “It was at a classic car warehouse in Maryville, Tennessee. I am fortunate that it was in really good shape and the only things I have done is replace the engine, leaf springs, and coil springs.”
Although Michael did not get the pleasure of building the car from scratch, he did take the time to make a few upgrades. “When I got the car, it had a 350 under the hood,” he states. “It ran, but I found a 327 that needed to be rebuilt and had a local shop build the new engine the way I wanted it. I wanted it to survive today’s cheap fuel and make around 400 horsepower.”
The engine rebuild is an exercise in OE reliability. Mike started with a stock GM steel crankshaft, OE-spec connecting rods, and even cast aluminum pistons. Mike does not plan to include any power adders to the mix, so the cast pistons will lead a long and happy life. To say Michael was not interested in building a high-horsepower mill is an understatement. All he wanted is one that would be respectable when he worked the throttle between red lights. Between the intake and crankshaft is a hydraulic flat-tappet cam sourced from Isky. The lift comes in at .465-inch and the duration is a very street friendly .221 degrees at .050-inch lift. The cast heads do feature hardened valve seats to accommodate unleaded fuel.
Mounted on top of the stock-ish heads is an Edelbrock AirGap intake pulling fuel and air through a Quick Fuel Technologies 680 cfm carburetor. Behind the small-block is a Saginaw four-speed transmission that was rebuilt by Rood’s Automotive in Muncy, and that gear-selector box is backed by a 10-bolt rear.
The vintage vibe is enhanced by a set of Rallye wheels measuring 15×6 and 15×7. The rims are wrapped in BFGoodrich T/As measuring 215/60-15 and 225/60-15. The look is traditional and will never go out of style.
Inside, Michael’s Camaro features a basic-level interior with bucket seats and a console surrounding the shifter. It might not be a modern reiteration, but nonetheless, it was good-looking in 1967 and is still good-looking all these years later.
Michael is a true enthusiast that chose to find the ride of his dreams that was ready to go instead of spending an untold amount of time and money rebuilding a car. His choice to remain true to the OE style and not restomod the second-gen Camaro has solidified the style for future generations. Congratulations Michael for getting what you want and not having to wait to enjoy it.