Home-Built Hero: Tony Laurenti’s First-Gen Camaro

Chevrolet’s pony car, the Camaro, is a model steeped in tradition. The two-door hot rod has a been a staple for hot rodders for generation, and many Chevrolet families have more than one for each generation. For Tony Laurenti, that tradition is sure to continue.

In 1981, he was 21-year-old lad who had recently gotten married. While at work one day, a coworker told him about a first-gen Camaro sitting in a yard with a for sale sign in the window. Tony decided to go look at the car, but ended up doing much more. “At the time, I had a nice, 1970 Monte Carlo, and I decided to see if the Camaro owner was interested in a trade,” Tony stated. You would think a newly married guy would realize that speaking to the misses before making a big decision would probably be a good idea. We’re certain Tony soon realized that logic.

It was a rough start, but Tony's persistence - and his wife's understanding - created a gorgeous hot rod they can be proud of.

“The Camaro was in rough shape and had a lot of rust, but I had a vision of what it could be. Unfortunately, my new bride did not have a vision that resembled mine, and she was not happy,” Tony stated with a smirk. The reason for her displeasure might have been because the Camaro needed a new trunk floor, both quarter-panels, one door, multiple patch panels, and an interior. To say it was a project would be an understatement. The project moved quickly, and he finished a lot of the work in 1983. But like most projects, it’s never really “complete.”

“The car has always had a “day-two” look, and the parts are authentic. That was easy, as I had most of them laying around anyway,” he said. As life continued, Tony and his wife were blessed with three daughters, and they consider the car part of the family. Tony also tells us that although not a stock restoration, the car does still carry the factory window sticker, Protect-O-Plate, sales brochures, and more.

'67 Camaro

Once an empty shell, a Deluxe interior now creates a the perfect place for passengers.

The original engine has been replaced with a different 327ci mill that features Edelbrock aluminum heads and manifold, a Crane Fireball camshaft, MSD ignition, and a Holley carburetor. Originally, a Powerglide transmission was in charge of the gear changes, but now, a Turbo 350 handles that task.

When you own a car, having an interior could be considered a requirement. Although this car was sans interior when Tony brought ithome, it has since been upgraded with a Deluxe interior that is stunning.

Tony reports that he has owned the car for 36 years, and even though the initial family introduction might have been a little rocky, his wife now sees the beauty in this one-in-a-million pony car.

'67 Camaro

The Granada Gold paint was applied 34 years ago, and still looks great. Tony installed the Motion Performance L88 hood several years ago.

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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