Sometimes, good fortune falls into your lap. Whether that be finding a $20.00 bill in your pocket, that long-lost 10 mm socket, or even the perfect project car, it helps to know people and be in the right place at the right time. Just ask Mathew Henault of Assonet, Massachusetts. He definitely found something really cool when he was told about this Street Freak ’77 Camaro.
“I own a shop in Assonet, and I find old hot rods and muscle cars to buy and sell,” says Mathew. “A buddy of mine buys properties and then fixes them and flips them. He went to an auction the town of Burlington was having for a condemned piece of property that they took for back taxes. The owners of the property both passed away and their son died years ago while in jail in the mid-90s.
My buddy wins the auction in August 2022, closes on the property and when he comes back to the property in October of this year, he opens the shed, moves some stuff around, and sees the roof line of a car. He called me and this is what I found.”
According to a close relative of the family, this ’77 Camaro was purchased new by the late son of the deceased couple. If the name on the rear of the car didn’t hint at the reason why, I don’t know what to tell you. If it does, his “stay” started in 1989.
“The guy obviously knew he was going away for a long time because the car was coated with something that resembled Cosmoline,” Matt states. “It was a very heavy wax. The body, Cragar wheels the entire exterior was coated. It preserved the vehicle. The Camaro was also covered with multiple car covers and bed sheets when I pulled it out.”
Once out of the garage, the guys found a few old photos and the keys. The relative also told Mathew the car was once featured in a Street Freak edition of Hot Rod magazine, but he has not found any proof of this.
“I believe it was a pretty high-end build for its time,” Mathew says. “It has a real deal Baldwin/Motion hood and valance. There is also a Baldwin/Motion badge on the tail panel. Although they look antiquated now, the Camaro even has (high-end for the day) audio and multiple top-of-the-line alarms.”
Once the car was back at Mathew’s shop, he went through everything. “I replaced the fuel tank sender and fuel pump, rebuilt the carb, changed all the fluids, and went through the brakes,” he affirms. “I also put new carpet in the car and fixed a crack in the front valance. I blended the valance and headlight panel as best I could to match the original black, trying to keep the car as preserved as possible.”
The engine is an L82 350 four-bolt main with a Weiand intake, Holley 650 carburetor, and Hooker headers with Thrush side pipes. Behind that is a Turbo 350 with a shift kit and a Hurst shifter. The car came with a 10-bolt rearend and it is still in place and has a few upgrades like a Posi and Lakewood traction bars. Subframe connectors, aftermarket springs with airbags, big sway bars and air shocks complete the Street Freak vibe.
As Barn Finds get harder and harder to come across, Mathew’s ’77 Camaro is proof they still exist. You just need to be lucky and know the right people.