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before..          after..

It all started en route, a few hundred miles from home. We were picking up a used 34 foot motorhome, purchased on Ebay . My wife Alexis and I were sitting in a coffee shop, chatting and enjoying our journey. As usual, I was checking out the local “Classics" and "Collector" cars paper. Hmm.. this looks interesting.. "1970 Camaro, rust free body, needs engine". Two weeks later, there it was.. sitting in my driveway. Later on at home and while reviewing the budget, I pondered over the '70 Camaro choice and the huge job ahead. I decided an all aluminium, computerized LS1 with a 6 speed might be a good choice and would certainly be a cool retro..



With a little help from my friend Robin at the local wrecking yard, we tracked down a late model LS1 engine from a wrecked Corvette, low miles, complete with computer and wiring harness, located in London Ontario. Once again, (two weeks later) it was sitting in my garage. Shortly thereafter, a T56 Six speed transmission showed up. (A hot Ebay purchase). Only 1500 miles on the tranny.. "As new" , according to what I was told by the seller..



With resale value always in the back of my mind, over the next few months I realized that this time consuming '70 Camaro LS1 swap could be just as costly as a higher demand car, such as a 69 Camaro convertible. I placed the '70 in our local classifieds, the phone went wild and the first guy that saw it, bought it for $2000 over my cost. Guess I got lucky..



The hunt was on. A 69 Camaro was destined to be in my garage. If I could only find a red or black convertible with a restored body and interior, but perhaps needing a drivetrain. For me.. the ultimate choice. The first '69 we found ended up being a very disappointing car from an Ebay newby, who claimed his Camaro was well.. more than it was. We wasted 2 days driving with a rented trailer in tow. Alexis and I enjoyed the journey though, travelling in our new (to us) motorhome. We passed on the car..



Finally.. the one. From Kentucky, (about 3000 miles away), a Viper Red, 69 Camaro Convertible with 89,000 original miles, restored body and interior, non numbers matching small block V8 with a column shift automatic, offered at what I thought was a great price. I was on it like a fly on crap..



After meeting with the approval of a local bodyman that I hired in Kentucky, yet once again and just two short weeks later, it was in my driveway. That was December 23rd, 2006. All of these “before” pictures were taken on Christmas day. By Jan 15th, 2007, the "easy" swap (or so I thought) had started..



For the next 8 months, I would truly be in my glory. Yes, my happy place.. the garage. TV on Speed Channel in the background, Barrett Jackson selling numerous similar Camaro's (at triple what I paid). Ahh.. heaven. My goal was to be driving it by summer..



Moving ahead now.. August 23rd and I’ve got one week to finish before the summer ends. Have been working on the car every available spare minute, in an effort to make my goal. Have had a sinking feeling lately though. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to face the truth. Summer driving seems unlikely at this point. Can’t give up though. I’m only days away from my first test drive.. (tears) ;)..



OH OH.. trouble. Finally, the LS1 starts but won't run for more than a couple of seconds. Maybe it might be the reprogrammed computer? Anti theft device? I dunno, but at least it'll run for a few seconds at a time.. and nothing went BOOM..



Now I wait for my electronics guy to return from holidays and hopefully diagnose the problem. I guess in the meantime I'll button up the loose ends, bleed the brakes, reinstall the interior, bolt on the new wheels and fat tires, etc.. I hope you find my site helpful and enjoy your LS1 into Camaro swap!


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