When it comes to automotive personalization, want, and taste, it seems every enthusiast has an ah-ha moment. In a split second, a model or style of car you see before you is something you have to own. For Terry Bullard, that very thing happened while attending a local car show.
“Everyone has a ’67, ’68, or 69 Camaro, and one day I was at a car show at Summit Racing and saw a black ’70-1/2,” said Willie. “My friends were saying ‘there’s a split bumper’. Back then, I didn’t even know what a split bumper was.”
That ah-ha memory stayed with Willie for the next several years, and in 2010, he was finally able to realize his dream. “I purchased this car nine years ago from a life-long friend of mine,” Willie quipped. “I first painted it Hugger Orange and installed a 383 stroker engine under the hood.” Typically, when an enthusiast is able to bring their car home from the paint shop, that is a day to remember. For Willie, the memory offers mixed feelings. “The day I left the paint shop, I found out the hard way the hood wasn’t bolted-down properly. It flew off the car. I towed it home and parked it for three years.”
While the car was trapped in hiatus, Willie’s dad said he wanted to buy it. The hood still reeked of the high-flying exhibition, but he said he would fix it. “I agreed,” said Willie. The senior Bullard started working on the car, but Willie had different ideas about how he would have finished the car if he had kept it. “We argued back and forth about him selling the car back to me. Finally, he said he would,” said Willie. But he would only sell it back to me if I promised to never sell the car to anyone else as long as he was alive.”
The day I left the paint shop, I found out the hard way the hood wasn’t bolted-down properly. It flew off the car. – Willie Bullard
With the car coming full circle and again in Willie’s possession, the Hugger Orange paint was removed to make way for a hue at the not-so-bright end of the spectrum. This time, a slathering of Aston Martin Tungsten Silver was applied. But before the color was applied, the rear wheel tubs were widened. The plan was to build the Camaro into a Pro Touring ride, and that meant positioning some much-larger-than-stock tires under his hot rod.
Since a Pro Touring theme was in Willie’s crosshairs, an upgraded engine would definitely be part of the plan. While the 383ci stroker would satisfy the average enthusiast, a traditional small–or even a big block–would definitely not suffice for Willie. This time around, he wanted things to lean more to modern motivation. That’s why he decided—and you probably already guessed it—to infuse an LS into his Camaro. The LS3 is tasked with sending its power through a TREMEC six-speed transmission, finally turning 3.83 gears in the 10-bolt.
This is a Pro Touring car, and that dictates a suspension that handles the twisty roads without consequence. Since handling was to be an important aspect of this hot rod, Hotchkis suspension components were bolted to the factory subframe.
The interior in the early Camaros was quite spartan from the factory, but Willie made sure spartan no longer describes his Camaro’s cockpit. “The interior truly is one-off,” Willie stated. “The guy that did the interior had me sit on a milk crate in the car before he began any work. He had me show him where I would like the seat positioned, radio, and how many cup holders I wanted. All those little details make it feel like this car really belongs to me.”
Like many projects, it might have taken more than a few years for Willie to finally have the car of his dreams, but rest assured, he now knows all there is to know about the second-gen Camaro. Who knows, this one might even inspire another person in a younger generation to find their dream car.