A bright Hugger Orange 1969 Chevrolet Camaro 454, a 3″ exhaust and some bright 17″ wheels and you’re not sneaking around anywhere. You might know this car as it was owned by Paul Teutul, Senior of Orange County Choppers fame!
Actually, he’s one of the nicest people in the collector hobby. He’s just like everyone else when there’s only so much room in the garage!
The car came to Senior as a COPO clone, down to the steel wheels, standard badges and a freshly made cowl tag showing it’s a Hugger Orange big block Camaro. There’s even a reproduction Protect-O-Plate stating it’s an L72 427 car! That’s enough for most, but more power and more flash were on Paul’s mind. He leaned on Summit Racing for their parts knowledge to put together the package you see here. The goals were more power, better driveability, better handling and more control.
More power is always better. Popping open the hood reveals the ’73 vintage 454 engine inside, but you’re just about blinded by the Edelbrock dual quad manifold and Thunder Series AVS carbs, all done in chrome-like Endurashine. Billet valve covers add even more sparkle while the black air cleaner keeps it from getting out of hand. Read more interesting info!
A Griffin aluminum radiator is up front for cooling duties while a full MSD ignition system from billet distributor to the 6AL box lights the fires. It all fits underneath the reproduction cowl hood scoop with no modifications. There’s a decent size cam in the bore, sounding fantastic through the full Stainless Works exhaust. It’s got a great idle and the throttle response is perfect–there’s so much snap it’s hard to describe. An electric choke and a Powermaster starter ensure quick starts: Paul wanted a car without drama, and the combination’s amazing.
Better driveability starts with the motor and continues with the Classic Motorsports Group TREMEC TKO 600 transmission kit in the tunnel. Five speeds, virtually indestructible gearsets and lower cruising RPM’s let you drive for hours without the engine straining. A heavy duty clutch in the Lakewood scattershield takes in power while a new Inland Empire driveshaft leads back to the built 12 bolt. Stuffed full of Positraction guts and Richmond gears, strengthened with a Summit stud girdle cover and held in check by Competition Engineering Slide-a-Link bars, it’s the last part on the car that will ever break!
While the car’s on the lift you’ll have the best view of 3″ Stainless Works exhaust, seeing why it’s got the authoritative tone it sports. With an X pipe and low restriction mufflers the sound is one you’re not likely to run across. Better handling is taken care of by a quartet of Bilstein shocks, heavy duty front coil springs and a pair of heavy duty Addco sway bars. Manual steering wears on you after a while so an OEM power setup went in.
Since chassis strength is a concern with higher power levels, and a pair of Competition Engineering subframe connectors were installed to keep the car on the level while a set of Prothane motor mounts keeps the 454 in place. Stopping power is a no-brainer thanks to the Wilwood Dynalite calipers at all four corners, squeezing down on 12.. drilled and slotted rotors all around. There’s a Wilwood front hub kit, dual circuit master cylinder and proportioning valve installed, as well. Finally, fuels is sent forth from a stainless steel fuel tank in the back. Comprehensive? We’d say so!
From the driver’s seat you’re definitely aware you’re in a no-frills COPO clone. The tach in the dash is nice, but there’s no console, no fancy trim…not even a radio. It’s speed-first in here, with a pair of buckets, racing-inspired rally steering wheel, three pedals and a Hurst stick. Sure, it’s all beautiful and new from the carpet to the headliner, but this is as much of a cockpit as it is an interior!
Outside, Hugger Orange paint covers the panels. It’s a pro job over clean metal, just as it should be. Panel gaps are better than factory, the glass is excellent and the trim and chrome parts sparkle. As a COPO clone there aren’t any stripes, wings, spoilers or badges, which is refreshing. Paul chose 17″ Summit wheels in a traditional five spoke pattern, and Summit surrounded them with Z rated Riken Raptor tires, 225/45 in the front and 255/40 in the rear. Yes, Paul and crew can build you a chopper with a wider rear tire, but this car is about balance, not extremes.
With power, looks and control, this Camaro’s a great car!