It has always been a challenged for builders to preserve the timeless beauty of classic cars and at the same time express their creativity in one single build. For those who are able to achieve this, they reach new levels of mastery in their art and make a name for themselves. Preservation and creativity are most of the time complete opposites, which is why it is difficult to do both. It takes talent and an imaginative mind to pull it off.
The iconic Camaro has been with us for decades. Camaros have been racing through the streets way before the legendary Mustang was born in 1966. Plenty of gearheads probably started their passion because of these beautiful Camaros. The majority of the Camaro community adore the 1st gens but there are some who actually think they are overrated. Those who seek more raw power prefer the later generation Camaros. Through the constant advancement of automotive technology, the later generations naturally, have better performance than the 1st generation Camaros.
Mike McLin is the co-owner and manager of The Restomod Store located in Independence, Missouri. Ever since he can remember, his father has always been building cars and is a very passionate car guy. And his father was always eager to include Mike in his passion. That goes without saying that Mike inherited his father’s passion and pursued an automotive career.
Last March 2015, Mike was called by Muscle Car Parts and Heidts Hot Rod to create a Camaro which will be featured at the 2015 SEMA show. The plan for the build was to highlight Heidts’ new products, the Pro-G independent rear suspension and front subframes for the 1982 to 1992 F-body. Mike happily accepted and went on to find a starting car. In April 2015, he started his search for a non-Top Camaro with a manual transmission. Living in the Midwest, it was pretty hard to look for a completely solid and rust-free car.
They bought a 1990 Camaro in April and had to finish the build before SEMA which was in the last week of October. Mike, Chris, and Mike McLin together with Mark Myres picked up the tool and started the build. All of the modifications are done in metal. The most noticeable changes are the quarter panels and fenders which are 1.5’’ longer to make space for the 10’’ and 12’’ wide wheels. Other body modifications include a deck blade and a custom hood built that has a 2015 Corvette hood vent insert. The eye-catching taillights have been custom painted. On the inside, Mark Myres wrapped the Procar seats and rest of the interior with Ultraleather.
All of the long nights working to keep up with the tight schedule was all worth it after they had a successful debut at the SEMA show. “That’s pretty much the Greatest Show on Earth if you’re in the automotive industry. The most challenging part of the build was probably the deadline. It was a surprise when Heidts contacted us in March. To find a suitable car and have it ready in less than seven months for thousands of people to look at your work was something,” Mike said.
Mike and the team were really happy with the result. It was just as how they imagined it to be. The body modifications are subtle but make an impact. When you look at it, you’ll know there is something different but they are too subtle to immediately point it out.
After Mike was happy with the suspension and the body, Mike wanted to bring more power to this Camaro to match its dashing look. A brand new LS3 was brought in and topped with high-capacity twin turbochargers, custom intake manifold, a Spearco/Turbonetics air-to-air charge cooler core, 102mm throttle body, and a one of kind turbo system. Mike was satisfied with the stock LS3 and only made a few changes including the addition of a Tick Performance Stage 3 Turbo hydraulic camshaft.
Instead of building supports for the Turbonetics turbochargers, Hooker cast-iron exhaust manifolds were used. It features Spintech mufflers starts with 2.5’’ inch round pipes and expands to 3.5’’ oval tubes. Although Heidts was the sponsor of this build, it was left under Mikes care. It was recently bought by a local gearhead, Rick Villers, who enjoyed the well-balanced design of this 1990 Camaro. It’s hard not to fall in love with this beautiful Camaro, the body modifications are so refined and subtle that Purist would probably not mind taking it for a spin.
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