73 Rally

Bill Weston of Lakeland, Florida, is a true car guy in every sense of the word. He has been rebuilding discarded and unwanted cars since the late ‘70s, and isn’t making any plans to stop any time soon. Although he has been rebuilding cars of all makes, you could also say that he is a true fan of the Camaro, as he currently has in his stable: a 2002 Z/28 and a 2002 SS parked next to this great looking ’73 Chevrolet Camaro LT.

The 17- and 18-inch wheels and Nitto tires look great on this cruiser.

The 17- and 18-inch wheels and Nitto tires look great on this cruiser.

Misguided Beginnings

I don’t use the radio too often since the car has a nice exhaust note and I would rather listen to that.- Bill Weston

But he wasn’t always the type to keep a single focus, as Bill told us, “I have restored a lot of cars since 1977. I actually started by working on Fords and Mopars, but then got into Chevelles, and now Camaros.” Since Bill seems like a nice guy, we won’t hold those early years of misspent youth against him. Especially since many of us are sure to have some transgressions that we would like to forget.

The story of Bill’s motorized white stallion began when he initially found the car while at the 2012 Spring car show and swap meet in Daytona, Florida. He was actually a participant at the show, and had a vehicle in the car corral that he was trying to unload. Luckily, his weekend went as planned, and he was able to work a deal and trade the car he had with the previous owner of this Camaro. According to Bill, “It looked okay. It was Atomic Orange, and the doors had a few dents, but it ran okay.”

Although not a dealer, he has been buying and selling cars for many years, and his plan was to fix up the F-body, and then see if he could make a little money by selling it. He spent some time fixing a few of the things that needed attention, and then in the fall of 2012, he took it to back to Daytona, to see if he could sell it at the Turkey Rod Run. But, whether you can consider it good luck or bad, for whatever reason, he was unable to sell the ponycar, so he took it back home. Bill tells us, “While at the show, the engine started smoking. I couldn’t sell it that way, so I took it back home and decided to rebuild it.”

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Although it was originally an LT model, the addition of the Custom Works split bumper front end gives a more agressive appearance, and is the perfect cosmetic upgrade.

Staging The Rebuild

Knowing that completely rebuilding a car can be an overwhelming task, Bill tells us the that he approached the rebuild in stages. Working at it with this plan meant it took two years to complete. Although the car did have the aforementioned dents, it was relatively rust free, which makes this a truly solid car. Bill is a hands-on type of guy, so he decided to take care of the paint and body work himself. Once he had the dents and dings in the 40-year-old sheetmetal straightened out, he then coated it with a very bright shade of white in base/clear coat. Although not a factory RS, during the rebuild, he knew that adding the nose and split bumper – which came from Custom Works Performance would really enhance the appearance of the front end.

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Power on demand!

Motivating Monster

The smoking small-block needed to be either rebuilt or replaced, and since Bill was able to get a line on a 385 cubic-inch small-block, replacement was the plan. He wasted no time contacting the owner and procuring the stroker engine from the gentleman that removed it from another car. The engine is focused around a seasoned small-block that was clearanced to make room for the extra stroke of the steel Chevrolet Performance crankshaft that is slinging a set of “Pink” connecting rods with Speed Pro pistons almost kissing the cylinder heads when compressing the air and fuel mixture on each revolution.

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Boss wheels and Nitto rubber retain the Wilwwod binders.

Timing when that air and fuel both enter and exit the engine is a Comp Cams hydraulic-roller camshaft with .502/.510-inch lift and 224/230 degrees of duration at .050-inch lift. This mild-lift roller is tasked with slamming the valves open and closed in the Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads. Finally, an Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap intake and a Holley 750 race-ready HP carburetor feed the screaming small-block the go-go juice.

The engine can’t make the car go unless it has a gear changing apparatus mounted behind it, so the stroker small-block connects to a row-your-own-gears Hanlon Motorsports-prepped Tremec five speed transmission. The shifter jutting through the floor just expands upon the musclecar feel, and the overdrive keeps the engine RPM at bay during the frequent highway cruises. Behind the overdrive and gearbox is a fabricated 9-inch housing filled with a Trackloc differential and 3.90 gears. The rearend is supported by Global West leaf springs and bushings, and the CalTrac bars make sure the car hooks when need be.

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Infused Performance and Comfort

This car was built to be a true street performer, so the stock front suspension was upgraded using QA1 coilover shocks, control arms, and sway bar. This complete package creates a suspension that can corner with the best of them.

If you’re a fan of the wheels, and why wouldn’t you be, they’re by Boss Wheels, and measure 17×8 and 18×9.5. By the way, the easy to produce tire smoke is brought to you by Nitto NT555 tires measuring 235-45/17 and 275-40/18.

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Bill truly is a hands-on type of guy, and his abilities are noticeable when looking at the interior. While much of the interior was in decent shape and just needed a good cleaning, he did take the time to reupholster the front seats, and install a new carpet and headliner. Although there is a quality stereo system in the car, Bill told us, “I don’t use the radio too often since the car has a nice exhaust note and I would rather listen to that.”

Finally, Bill would like to thank JB Gregory who was there at every step of the rebuild to lend a hand. Without the help of good friends, this Home-Built Hero might still be stuck in one of its stages of the rebuild.

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