The Calling Card: HED Industries’ Immaculate First-Gen Camaro

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While SEMA is an amazing show, and we love seeing all the new products and builds each year, it has a way of jading you. Let us explain. Every year we see cars that, if displayed anywhere else in the world, would be hands down the best thing at that show. But at SEMA, a lot of amazing builds get overshadowed by the glory that is the largest gathering of aftermarket vendors in the world.

This is especially true when it comes to first-gen Camaros. As much as we love them, there are stunning examples everywhere you turn at SEMA, which is why it is particularly noticeable when one stands out right away. For us, that was this first-gen built by HED Industries out of Bakersfield, California, which we spotted hanging out in the Magnuson booth. It was, in our opinion, perhaps one of the finest example of everything a first-gen should be.

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“Basically this car started out as kind of a calling card, we just wanted to showcase what we were capable of doing,” said Kamaka Pocock, a fabricator at HED Industries. “So we started off with a 1969 Camaro—it was a really dry and rust free car, so it made it a little easier from that point.”

Once they had the car stripped down to bare, rust-free metal, they set to work widening the body by 5 inches all the way around, giving the Camaro a much more aggressive silhouette than any first-gen that ever rolled off the General’s assembly lines.

A Detroit Speed coilover suspension gives the car its menacing look and makes for one hell of a surprise when you find out that this thing isn’t bagged. A cantilever suspension setup in the rear makes for a nice little surprise when you pop the trunk and allows the car to tuck the massive 19×12 inch Forgeline wheels, wrapped in 345/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, out back. Up front 18X9-inch wheels, wrapped in a 275/35R18 tire, fill out the front wheelwells.

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The car has also received a 2 1/2-inch body drop as well, which only adds to the low slung look of the first-gen and is a relatively novel modification that you don’t see on most Camaros these days—but how can we argue with a stance like that? The body drop allowed HED to get the car lower without the use of airbags and enabled them to keep a good amount of suspension travel in the car, making it much less spine-shattering as it cruises down the road.

For the motivation, the guys at HED turned to ERL Performance to build a beast that would match this beauty. ERL punched out and stroked an LS7 to 441 cubic inches. A Magnuson Heartbeat supercharger tops off the mill and produces enough boost to push the bullet’s power production numbers into the 1,000 horsepower realm—which equates to around 850 at the wheels.

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A Tremec Magnum T56 six-speed manual transmission sends all that horsepower outback to a Moser 12-bolt that splits the torque evenly between the two rear wheels.

The interior was handcrafted by Ron Mangus and TL’s Rods & Resto handled the paint and final touches on the body work. The entire hood was built from scratch, as were the bumpers and deck lid. An interesting touch, that many may miss, is the addition of Ducati motorcycle side view mirrors, which give the car an even more unique look unmatched by any first-gen.

“We were really stoked on the mirrors and we are hoping that it is a subtle touch that a lot of people notice but don’t really realize where they might be from,” Pocock said.

Hinges and door handles from the Ringbrothers, along with a set of Dakota Digital
gauges and JW LED headlights put the finishing touches on the car’s interior and exterior.

Pocock say that they’ve tried to come up with name for the car but nothing has really landed, leaving the team from HED to call it “the business card.” A name which we find kind of perfect, as it would give any other first-gen the business–although we prefer the name “The Calling Card”–tell your friends.

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About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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