February '20

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FEBRUARY 2020 THE SHOP 29 And, as fate would have it, the Julian date code on the carb is 933, which translates to the third week of March 1969. This is approximately the same date code that would have been on my original, which I bought in June 1969. Back in '69, the carb and intake perked up the performance of the 350, but I was hooked and wanted more power. Next on my wish list was a more potent cam. The one I chose was the hydraulic flat tappet camshaft Chevrolet used in the L79 327 350-hp engine. The original part number was 3863151, and while it has been discontinued by GM, an exact replacement is offered by COMP Cams in its Factory Muscle series. The part number is 12-106-3, and for extra reliability, we chose to have it nitrided. With the goal to be as faithful as possible to the original performance parts we added to the original Camaro back in the day, the COMP Cams camshaft and a set of its High Energy hydraulic flat tappet lifters were the perfect choice for this build. While we were working on the valvetrain, we decided not to take any chances and upgraded all of the components. Along with the cam and lifters, we added new COMP Cams valve springs, steel retainers, super locks, Magnum roller rockers, push- rods and a double roller timing chain set. The next logical step, then and now, was a set of headers to complement the enhanced breathing offered by the carb, intake and camshaft. First, a little history. Back in the fall of 1966, Nickey Chevrolet, the big gun in Bowtie high-performance in Chicago, worked with Doug's Headers to produce the headers for the wild 427 Nickey Camaros it was building and selling, along with similarly designed headers for small-blocks. Growing up in Chicago during the muscle car era, Nickey was not only the place to go for a high-performance Chev- rolet—it actually had a speed shop right inside the dealership. Needless to say, I went there on more than one occasion to purchase parts for my Camaro. Among the parts I bought was a set of Doug's Headers. Today, Doug's still makes a four-tube header that is nearly identical to the original set I got for my first Camaro. A CLUTCH FIND It's a similar story with the clutch. When I needed to replace the clutch in 1970, I bought a Hays clutch, pressure plate and flywheel. Not only was a Hays standard equipment on the Nickey Stage 3 Camaro, but it was also the choice of Bill Grumpy Jenkins for many of his championship- winning Chevrolets. While finding an unused clutch assembly or set of mint original headers that dates back a half-century is the equivalent of finding the proverbial needle in the hay- stack, it's nice to know that you can still get virtually the same parts from the same speed equipment manufacturers that made them back in the day. With the carb, manifold, cam, valvetrain and headers installed, the next thing on the list was to have the distributor recurved and the Camaro dyno-tuned. In June 1970, I had both done at Willy's Carburetor and Ignition Laboratory in Blue Island, Illinois, Edelbrock C3B Aluminum Hi Rise Intake Manifold Virtues: The C3B offers increased flow, lower weight and greater heat dissipation than the stock cast iron manifold. COMP Cams Camshaft, Valvetrain, Timing Chain, Gear Set & Related Parts Virtues: The COMP Cams camshaft we chose is part number 12-106-3 and is a modern ver- sion of the original 1965-'68 Chevrolet L79 – 327/350-hp hydraulic flat tappet stick that is no longer offered by GM. The lifters, pushrods, valve springs and related parts were a simple replacement for the stock parts. Since everything was apart, we also upgraded to a Magnum double roller timing chain and gears and Magnum roller rockers.

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