Retro Rebuild: West Bend Dyno Tuning Transforms ’74 Camaro

When you talk to most car enthusiasts, they almost always have a story of that one car that got away. Maybe they drove it in high school or college, and as the times changed, they were forced to sell the car for whatever reason. There are a few instances where the previous owner can locate the original vehicle and buy it back and even fewer occurrences where they never got rid of their prized possession.  Dale Jansen is one of the lucky few that managed to keep his Camaro over the years, and West Bend Dyno Tuning was able to rebuild the car, ultimately surprising him.

Jansen’s Camaro might have been super cool in the ’80s but West Bend Dyno Tuning took it up a notch with modern performance parts and a new paint job.

Dale Jansen has a soft spot for this 1974 Camaro, and for a good reason, he drove this Camaro in high school. When it came time to rebuild the retro F-body, Jansen reached out to the guys at West Bend Dyno Tuning in West Bend, Wisconsin. The goal for the car was to mix classic styling with modern performance. 

The second-gen Camaro was stripped all the way down before the team started reassembling the car.

The first order of business for West Bend Dyno Tuning was to tear the car down to nothing more than the body, removing the engine, interior, and drivetrain. The Camaro had to be bead blasted down to the metal before the crew could start on the paint and bodywork. With the car out of the paint shop and dressed in PPG Black with white racing stripes, it was time for West Bend Dyno Tuning to work its magic. 

A Heidts front clip and a GM Performance crate engine mated to a T56 transmission replaced the tired small block and automatic transmission.

The first thing addressed on the Camaro was the suspension. The factory subframe was removed and replaced with a Heidts front clip and rear suspension utilizing QA1 shocks and Wilwood brakes. A Johns Industries 9-inch rear was chosen due to its unsurpassed reliability with a 3.73 gear set. Of course, the guys were not going to rebuild the car and leave the first-generation small block to power the Camaro. With the factory powerplant removed, a GM Performance LS3 crate engine was mated to an American Powertrain T-56 six-speed transmission. The LS3 received West Bend Dyno Tuning billet valve covers, cold air intake, and a Wegner Automotive accessory drive. Other modifications included a Speartech standalone harness and ECU, a complete Aeromotive fuel system, and an AFCO radiator.

The old interior was tossed for the more classic look of the TMI products.

As you can tell by the pictures, the Camaro needed some interior work as well. For that, West Bend Dyno Tuning installed brand new TMI upholstery and a set of Autometer gauges to keep an eye on engine vitals. A Vintage Air climate control system was also installed to keep the inside of the car comfortable no matter what the weather is doing outside. 

The LS3 received West Bend Dyno Tuning billet valve covers, cold air intake, Speartech standalone harness, and a Wegner Automotive accessory drive.

The Camaro was finished ahead of schedule, and the crew decided to surprise Jansen with the car in his garage. Brad Riekkoff, owner of West Bend Dyno Tuning said, “We had a blast building this car and especially delivering it since we surprised him and put it in his garage while the family was going to dinner. Dale had no idea the car was done already.” 

As you can imagine, Jansen was surprised to see his Camaro finished and sitting in his garage as the door slowly opened up. The retro machine was transformed back into a timeless classic with modern performance and drivability thanks to West Bend Dyno Tuning’s help and vision.

 

Article Sources

More Sources

About the author

Brian Havins

A gearhead for life, Brian is obsessed with all things fast. Banging gears, turning wrenches, and praying while spraying are just a few of his favorite things.
Read My Articles

Hot Rods and Muscle Cars in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Street Muscle, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Street Muscle articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Street Muscle NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Classic Ford Performance

Drag Racing

Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Classic Ford Performance
  • Drag Racing
  • Classic Chevy Magazine

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Street Muscle - The Ultimate Muscle Car Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading