Have you ever found a classic Chevy that you really wanted to call your own? But, unfortunately, it belonged to someone that was not interested in parting with it? I don’t mean the type of person that allows the car to sit in a field or behind a house, rotting away. I mean it’s owned by a real enthusiast. One that has genuine plans to do something with the car? Kenda Kulp and her husband, George, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, were once faced with just such a dilemma when it came to this Butternut Yellow ’68 Camaro convertible.
“Before I got the car, a friend of my husband’s found it on Craigslist,” relayed Kenda. “He purchased it with plans to restore it. My husband made sure the friend knew that if he ever wanted to sell it, he needed to contact us.” The car was in rough but restorable condition. There was no sheetmetal forward of the doors, the engine and transmission were gone, and the floors were… Let’s just say the Flintstones could have been the previous owners.
For the next year, the family friend held onto the car, not sure what he actually wanted to do with it. Finally, one day it happened. The friend reached out to the Kulps and offered them the ’68 Camaro. The convertible’s condition hadn’t changed, but that wouldn’t deter Kenda and her husband. As luck would have it, Kenda’s husband is very adept at restoring cars. In fact, restoring Camaros, specifically, happens to be his specialty. “He’s in the garage every night after work, working on a car,” Kenda quipped.
Once the car was in the Kulp’s home-garage, the body repair began by installing new floorpans (front to back), quarter-panels, outer wheelhouses, and rocker even panels. Replacement front sheetmetal was located, and then the task of making it all smooth was completed. Only then, was the base/clear Butternut Yellow paint applied. With the paintwork completed, a new folding roof was then installed.
From the factory, this base-model Camaro was not appointed with an interior of the Deluxe variety. Kenda did, however, want to upgrade the area she would spend most of her time. As the restoration progressed, she opted to utilize a houndstooth-style interior that was found in many cars of the day. To that end, George sourced new seat skins from Parts Unlimited Inc. (PUI) to recover the seats. The door panels and carpeting were also replaced, and a factory console with a tachometer was added.
With the shell and interior in as-new condition, George turned his attention to the underpinnings. The suspension was rebuilt to a stock configuration, but does feature one not-factory-installed upgrade. George added a set of power-assisted disc brakes that were originally on a ’69 Camaro. Other than the better binders, it’s all 1968 spec.
One Powerful Pony
When Chevrolet built the Camaro, it was first, and foremost, a ponycar designed to compete with Ford’s Mustang. Even with the Camaro’s pedigree, the performance-oriented two-door hot rod was still available with a base-model six-cylinder engine from the factory. In the case of Kenda’s car, even though the engine and transmission were long gone when she got it, a six-cylinder was not an option for her cruiser.
To fill the void under the hood, a 355 cubic-inch engine was built by, you guessed it, Kenda’s husband, George. While he restores Camaros in the evening, his day job revolves around ownership of FIT Engineering in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.
The seasoned 350 engine block was over-bored .030-inch and then fitted with a cast, GM crankshaft that is slinging GM connecting rods and SpeedPro hypereutectic pistons up and down in the cylinders. A COMP Cams hydraulic-roller with .477/.480-inch lift and 224/230-degrees duration at .050-inch lift is the brains behind valve movement. Finally, the Liberty Performance Components aluminum heads with 2.02- and 1.60-inch valves support the Weiand intake and FAST EFI.
Behind the reliable small-block is a 700R4 overdrive that George rebuilt. The automatic gear selector sends the supplied cruising power to a 12-bolt rearend that is filled with a 3.31 ring-and-pinion and Moser axles. Kenda’s not one to spend a lot of time on the race track, so an “open” differential transfers driveshaft movement to axle-turning movement.
As many can attest, oftentimes, finding a car that the owner does not want to sell can be a disappointing proposition. Fortunately for Kenda, she had the patience to wait for an owner that would eventually relent and sell her the ’68 Camaro cruiser she wanted.