This Garage-Built 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is Both Beauty and Beast
The words Pro Touring are tossed around all too frequently — and often incorrectly. It seems any car with a set of bigger/modern wheels and a disc brake swap falls into this category. There has to be more to it than that, right?
It all started with a childhood love of Camaros — a simple and unifying love amongst many Bow Tie enthusiasts. While that first candy-apple-red Camaro Klippert saw between the pages of a magazine years before he could drive planted the seed, it wasn’t until much later that he brought one home to call his own.
Klippert first crossed paths with the Camaro that would later be his in the ’90s when it was living under a tarp, half-exposed in a shop’s yard. He did some snooping and realized it was a fairly rust free ’67 with factory A/C, bucket seats, and a center console. The car was in the early stages of restoration and had been stripped of its engine, transmission, and front clip. But, as is often the case, the timing wasn’t right so Klippert moved on.
Fast forward to the mid 2000s when Klippert made the decision to start his own business customizing and building cars. He settled on the name Street Creations, and, of course, he needed a car to showcase his automotive talent. A friend mentioned he worked with a guy who had a 1967 Camaro for sale. Klippert got in contact with the car’s owner and low-and-behold it was the same car he had encountered several years prior.
When he went to view the car, like stepping into a time machine, there sat the ’67, unchanged in the 8 years since last he saw it. A deal was struck and the car was trailered home.
Over the next 5 years, during evenings and weekends, commenced an incredibly in-depth rehabilitation from a neglected shell to a car worthy of representing Klippert’s shop. “I did this as the calling card for my company,” said Klippert. “Everything on the car was done by myself, bodywork, etc. You kind of have to get it done or people will look at you and say ‘can he ever get it done.’”
Fortunately, the car was in decent shape to start with, and to this day retains about 85 percent of its original sheetmetal. “The car was really a California car; and the best I could figure, it was brought up to Canada in the mid-to-late ’80s,” added Klippert. “That’s where it sat for however many years until I bought it.”
Building a car to represent your business means creating something unique that makes an impression wherever it goes. To achieve that, the car effect, the car would need some visual enhancements. Klippert envisioned a host of tasteful body mods that would provide a “mix of the cleanliness of the street rod guy with the performance handling and creature comforts of modern-day vehicles.”
To that end, Klippert let function breed form through much of the car’s reshaped lines, all of which were formed in his backyard shop.
He lowered the rocker panels by 1.5 inches to give the car the appearance of a lowered stance, while retaining enough ground clearance to safely navigate potholes, speed bumps, and other road imperfections without bottoming out. That modification also required lowering the front fenders to match.
The front valance was revised to incorporate round ’69-style driving lights and also to allow air to easily flow through the twin intercoolers it would later hide. Both front and rear bumpers have been smoothed and filled. Also, if it could be flush-mounted, Klippert did it – and good luck finding a pinch weld anywhere on the car, as Klippert ground and re-welded all of them.
The body mods are copious, yet subtle. Each glance at the car unearths some small enhancement that seeks to make this Camaro stand out in a see of ’67s without being over the top. “The car has been really well received wherever I’ve taken it,” said Klippert.
Under the customized VFN fiberglass hood, and in front of the smoothed firewall, lurks a D-1SC ProCharged 416-cube, LS3 engine, built by Late Model Engines in Houston, Texas. With right around 10 psi of boost on tap from the centrifugal blower, Klippert estimates the engine’s output right around 800 horsepower. Inside the aluminum block rotates a Callies stroker crankshaft, pulling around boost-friendly, 8.75:1-compression Wiseco slugs. A Cam Motion custom-ground camshaft works the valves in the Trick Flow cylinder heads and a Holley Dominator EFI system precisely meters out fuel from the Aeromotive A1000 pump.
“I love the drive-by-wire [in the Holley EFI],” said Klippert. “I can’t ever see myself wanting to go back to a damn cable. You can dial in the curve with multiple tunes and bring in as much power as you want it to. It made the car much easier to drive.”
Looking at the engine from above, one might notice a rather unique induction system. “I bought an intake off of eBay,” said Klippert, “But it was for a Corvette so there was no way it was going to fit the Camaro. I cut the top end off and rebuilt it all to fit the car, then I designed the top to match the side of the car where the LS3 emblems are and the bumble bee stripe.”
Behind the highly potent mill, resides a Tremec TKO-600 transmission and RAM clutch. Both of which are readily up to the task of transferring the engine’s output to a Currie 9-inch rearend with a polished Strange Engineering centersection.
An engine setup of this magnitude requires an equally capable suspension. To that end, Klippert grafted a Wayne Due C4 Corvette front clip onto the car. That process required redesigning the fenderwells for clearance. And, while he was at it, Klippert shaped them to hide all of the mounting hardware and tucked all of the wiring.
At the aft-end of the car is a Detroit Speed and Engineering QUADRALink rear suspension. At all four corners, QA1 shocks and springs keep the car planted in the corners while Baer six-piston calipers put the reigns on 800 horsepower worth of acceleration. Back at the front of the car, a splined Speedway Engineering sway bar mitigates body roll. “The car is very predictable when throwing it into corners,” added Klippert.
Rolling stock consists of custom Boze forged 17x8 wheels up front and 17x11 wheels out back – wheel clearance came by way of a 2-inch mini-tub. At the time of the shoot, the car was rocking Eagle F1 rubber, but Klippert has since switched to Nitto NT05s.
So let’s refresh. Badass body, check. Capable suspension, check. Potent engine, double check! Now, before you cry trailer queen, let us assure you, Klippert’s Camaro is anything but. “I try to drive it frequently,” he says. “And, with almost 800 horsepower, the car is a blast to drive.
The car has found its way onto autocross courses such as Goodguys Colorado and Del Mar, where Klippert put that underhood herd (or as much of those ponies as possible) to use sliding around cones. “There is not much opportunity up here [in Canada] to autocross, but we do it as often as we can.
In pursuit of timeslips and trophies, such as the Best of Show award he earned at the Super Chevy show in Edmonton, Ontario, Canada, Klippert has taken the Camaro all over the two neighboring countries.
“We took the car down to Wisconsin for Optima Road America in 2013 but we didn’t make it onto the track. We blew up the motor a little,” chuckled Klippert.
“Near as we could tell, we broke an exhaust rocker arm driving around and filled the number three cylinder full of fuel. We went to fire it up and it went BOOM. It blew the top of the intake right off the car and made a hell of mess.”
When the car returned home the engine was subjected to a full teardown. The engine was, fortunately, found to be unharmed. A new set of rocker arms was added to the mix as well as a fresh set of pushrods as a precaution in case the old set were bent or stressed.
What could have been a catastrophic – read expensive – fix turned out to be only a minor setback. The car is back on the road and Klippert has plans to continue flogging it and showing off his creation’s capabilities and good looks to would-be customers.
The amount of unique customization on Klippert’s ’67 is truly staggering. What is more impressive is that he did it all himself. Save for spraying the basecoat/clearcoat; which was done by Alternative Restoration in Calgary, and having the interior panels (which he fabricated) wrapped in Montana Blue leather by a local shop, the entire car was lovingly pieced together in Klippert’s shop. He has a goal of one day going full time with his shop, Street Creations, and as long as he keeps turning out cars of this caliber, it’s a safe bet he’s well on his way to realizing that dream.
This article originally appeared on MSN.