November '18

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12 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2018 still look great today. Besides, they're what Bill Jenkins ran on his Camaro, and to say that he was a big influence on many of us in the Bowtie brigade would be an understatement. Vintage wheels, whether originals or new replicas of the originals, are neat. But when it comes to tires, safety is paramount. While 50-year-old Goodyear Blue Streaks look really cool (yes, I had a set of those back in the late '60s for quarter-mile action) they are way too old to drive on today with any degree of safety. Besides that, for street use, a set of DOT street-legal tires with tread is far more practical. With these thoughts in mind, for the rears we settled on a set of Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tires that have a period-style square-shouldered appear- ance. Plus, they're wrinkle walls, making them perfect for drag racing. A good alternative would have been a set of repop Pro Trac tires, as they have a similar vintage look and are also available in the period sizes. Up front, we chose a pair of BFGoodrich Silvertown tires by Coker. Yes, Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro and BFGoodrich Silvertown are bias ply tires, and modern radial tires ride smoother, but if you want the look, then they're the way to go. REAR SUSPENSION Any muscle car equipped with larger wheels and tires that plant a bigger footprint on the high-traction asphalt is gonna need a way to put the power to the pavement effectively. When it comes to first-gen Camaros, one of the real weak links was and is the rear suspension. Take it from one who knows, the worst offenders are those equipped with mono-leaf springs, as they are notorious for violent wheel hop, especially when launching hard from a standing start. Needless to say, stock springs without traction bars is definitely not the fast way down the street or strip. Speaking from experience, I broke the lower spring plates and T-bolts on my original '67 Camaro power-shifting into second on a run against a Ram Air III GTO not long after I got the car. So, the next step then and now is to add traction bars. NicKey Chevrolet in Chicago was among the first to engineer traction bars for the Camaro. It quickly developed a simple, lightweight, bolt-on traction bar for the NicKey 427 Camaro conversions that also worked perfectly on all Camaros. Since I lived in Chicago, I drove over to NicKey and bought a set for my Camaro. One run with the NicKey traction bars and I was a true believer. Like many aftermarket parts and accesso- ries of that bygone era, the NicKey Camaro traction bars have not been available for The Way We Were Day 2 Upgrade #6: Cal Custom 12-Inch Fly Eye Air Cleaner This is another Cal Custom item that was made in the late '60s in Gardena. It replaces the original, extremely restrictive factory air cleaner assembly. Virtue: Increases breathing and adds a racy, period-correct look to the engine. Day 2 Upgrade #7: Cal Custom 9-Rib Aluminum Valve Covers Replaces stock valve covers. Virtue: Adds a custom touch to the engine with a very popular period appearance. Fins in valve covers aid in heat dissipation and offer the addition of a breather per side to reduce crankcase pressure.

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