From a botched hack job to a head turning show beauty, Chris Holstrom's 68 Camaro shows how you can take a piece of junk and make it into a jewel.

This is CHC's version of the Gen X Camaro...but the car is more than just a pretty face. "I have no idea how much horsepower ..." Chris admitted, "... but I built it around a Car Craft article that produced 480 hp at 6200 rpm." For reference, that appeared in the April 2007 issue. And for the record, the car moves.

Chris found this Camaro only 100 miles away with a quarter panel replacement that had gone wrong. $4000 later, he was the new owner of a 68 body. It has no motor or drivetrain and was completely torn apart. After fixing the previous owners shortcomings, his attention was set on styling. Shaving the side markers, swapping tail lights with some welding to massage a few body panels were in the forefront of transforming this diamond in the rough.

Chris built an LS-style engine based on an '03 LQ4 truck block and rotating assembly. Bud's Machine Shop in Lakewood machined and reassembled it with a hotter COMP Cams camshaft. Titanium retainers and custom springs withstanding, the heads are stock; however, he did replace the manifold with an LS6 piece. Chris dressed the engine and relocated the coils with Katech Inc. rocker covers. Wait 4 Me Performance Engine Management reprogrammed the ECU to run stand-alone; Injection Technology created the harness. He installed the engine with a Northern Factory Sales LS1 aluminum conversion radiator that, ironically, runs a Lincoln Mark VIII fan. Using 2 1/4-inch Magnaflow mufflers, Puyallup's Mike Sader crafted everything behind the Stainless Works full-length headers.

The transmission started life as a T-56 six-speed from an '02 Camaro; however, Chris gave it the once-over with billet shift keys and updated the synchros and shift forks. He adorned it with a Z06 clutch and a Hurst shifter, and bolted it in with an ATS crossmember and install kit. Strange Engineering made the driveshaft. Chris used the stock spindles but adapted Corvette Z06 13-inch-diameter rotors to them using KORE3 brackets. He swapped the steering box from a fast-ratio IROC unit. Up front, 18x8 Rushforth Rated X wheels lets BFGoodrich g-Force 245/40ZR-18 are tucked under the fenders while 19x10 with 295/35/19s run out back.

The interior received the same detailed treatment with forth-gen model seats cut down 4 inches. Autometer Pro Comp Ultra-Light keep Chris inline with what the car is doing and a Vintage Air Mark IV heat/AC climate-control system keeps him cool. Once that was complete, the car went to Tim Norman at Classical Glass Upholstery in Black Diamond for a red-vinyl trim. Painter, Gertrudis Rodas, laid down the silver base and clear.

The transformation of the Gen X Camaro took about one year. From the looks of it, the hard work paid off.

* Photos courtesy of Chris Shelton Photography

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