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03/08/2017 at #8759
700 HP 1969 Camaro 540 BBC “Do-Under” Gets All New Underpinnings At V8 Speed & Resto
Some say these cars are never finished, and that holds true especially when a modified car changes hands. In this case, our customer purchased this killer 1969 Chevrolet Camaro as a freshly completed Pro-Touring machine complete with a slick silver paint job and a very cool red leather interior, but the 700+ HP 540-cube Shafiroff big block Chevy and 6-speed T-56 Magnum transmission are a bit much for the otherwise stock suspension. The huge torque easily overpowers the rear tires, and the handling isn’t up to the expectations of the owner. So, the car was sent to the V8 Speed & Resto Shop so our crew could take the suspension, rear axle, wheels, tires, brakes, and a few other areas of the car to the next level. The big challenge – installing a complete Detroit Speed QUADRALink rear suspension and front subframe, wheel tubs, Currie Enterprises rear axle, Forgeline wheels, Toyo Tires, Holley EFI, and more without damaging the beautiful silver paint or messing up the body panel fit. After all, something that looks this good should have the moves to match!03/13/2017 at #8773
Like every car that arrives in the V8 Speed & Resto Shop, and our first task is always to perform a thorough inspection. We prepare a 10 page inspection form which gives us a good reference point on how the vehicle arrived in the shop, and provides the customer for an overview on the car’s shape. We also take a substantial amount of photographs documenting the condition, which provide a reference point not only of how things were put together, but also if there were any nicks or scratches or blemishes on the car when it arrived.
This is a really nice car, but we did find a few things to address here and there, like crushed fuel lines and the occasional chip & scratch.
Some of the wiring and plumbing would benefit from some detailing and cleaner routing.
540 cubes of rich-running big block fury!
Short exhaust misery… this one was loud and the lack of tips made a big mess when the car was idling.
Our customer had a pretty solid plan for what he wanted done to this car, so we put the part list together and began to order parts.03/13/2017 at #8774
This was kind of fun… an AN fitting installed with electrical tape. On a high pressure fuel line. Not something you want to have, as this thing could have let go and sprayed fuel all over the hot engine causing a big fire.
The plan called for installing a Detroit beat QUADRALink rear suspension which involves cutting the floor, so the interior needed to come out. The rear seat would also need to be narrowed as we are installing larger wheel tubs.
Our team carefully disassembled the rich red leather custom interior and we carefully wrapped, labeled, and stored in these pieces to keep them safe.
This car had a layer of some type of foam insulation that was glued to the back of the carpet, so it made quite a mess coming out.03/13/2017 at #877503/13/2017 at #8776
Most of the work was to be done on the bottom side of the car, so we wrapped the entire outside of the car with several layers of protective film and weld and 3M spark paper to keep it from getting damaged during the process. We also wrapped the dashboard and wrapped headliner to protect it from stray sparks. This paper isn’t cheap, but it’s far cheaper than paint repairs on a nice car!
The car was rolled into the fabrication center where Adam began the chassis disassembly process.
He unbolted the stock rear leaf spring suspension, brakes, and drives haft and slid the 12 bolt rear axle out of the way. We had ordered a Currie Enterprises 9+ rear axle assembly and to take it’s place, but the first task was to install the QUADRALink brackets and narrow the rear frame rails.03/13/2017 at #8777
Soon, the cutting begins on the inner wheel tubs to make room for the Detroit Speed mini-tubs. The rear frame rails will be narrowed as well.
We did not anticipate touching the outer wheel wells, but removing the undercoating revealed some previous repairwork that made us adjust the plan. Typically, we would have removed and replaced the outer tub upon this discovery, but that would require repainting the quarter panel where it meets and welds to the wheel house.
This second outer seam is not normally present on these cars.03/15/2017 at #8779
The driver side had a similar repair.
Pinching the frame rail for the Detroit Speed tubs to fit.
After cutting out the previous repair, it was determined that a replacement strip should be welded in place of the old repair. This would preserve the outer wheel house, and this time, it would be metal finished to blend in and the repair would be undetectable.03/15/2017 at #8780
Forming the new strip
The new piece was made on the shrinker / stretcher to bend a 90 degree piece around to match the wheel tub shape.
The new strip was resistance spot-welded to the original welding flange on the new DSE deep tub, and then welded to the original outer tub with a series of tack welds all the way around.03/15/2017 at #8781
Here, you can also see the finished narrowed frame rail.
After grinding, the seam is invisible, but the original wheel tub seam is present.
The trunk floor was recessed to accommodate the wider tub.03/22/2017 at #8803
Next, the process was repeated on the driver side.
Some filler was found in the trunk floor, so the area was investigated to assess structural integrity.
After some cleaning and grinding, some corrosion holes were uncovered.
The cabin floor was marked for trimming to accommodate the wider wheel tub.
The rusty area of the trunk and cabin floor was cut out.
The frame rail was narrowed, and the wide Detroit Speed wheel inner wheel tub was installed.03/22/2017 at #8804
The HTP resistance spot welder is used where the electrodes can access the panels, and the remaining welds are traditional plug-style welds.
More body filler was found in the trunk floor in the location where the new rear crossmember will be installed. The crew hoped that this was confined to the area of the trunk floor that would be cut out.
The white line represents the area that will be removed for the upper crossmember installation.
More filler deeper into the trunk floor. The decision on the repair was posed to the customer, and Adam proceeded to install the DSE crossmember.03/22/2017 at #8805
In the passenger cabin, the DSE upper control arm mount pockets were installed in the rear passenger seat floor.
The rear seat will require some modifications to accommodate the wider tubs and control arm mount pockets.03/22/2017 at #8806
Meanwhile, a new rear axle assembly was finished. The housing is a narrowed Currie unit that has been fixtured in preparation for welding the Detroit Speed brackets in place.
The center section is a Currie 9+ nodular iron unit, stuffed with a Detroit TruTrac limited slip differential and 3.70:1 gears, with 31 spline Currie axles.03/22/2017 at #8807
Metalwork nearly complete on driver side wheel tub.
After considering the filler covering rust repairs in the trunk, it was determined a new trunk center pan would be the best course of action. The section was removed.
The new center was ordered from Classic Industries and installed. The perimeter was TIG welded with an HTP Invertig unit, and the center supports were resistance spot welded using an HTP VersaSpot 7000.03/22/2017 at #8808
The leading edge was MIG welded to the crossmember per the Detroit Speed instructions.
The perimeter was metalfinished to blend with the trunk floor.
The increased wheel tub size and narrowed frame rails are more visible from under the car.
The rear axle assembly was lifted in place to determine the location for the upper shock mounts.
The new Baer brake rotors are test fitted as well.
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