Better Off Dead Camaro Found And Restored To Its Former Glory

As if you needed another reason to watch the classic 80’s movie Better Off Dead, the iconic ’67 Camaro from the movie was found and restored to it’s former glory.

After watching a rented copy of the movie in his college years in the late 1980’s Jeff fell in love with Lane’s ’67 Camaro. Years later in 2001, Jeff was still curious about the location of the car and decided to start a serious search for the present owner of the star car.

Following another viewing of the movie and paying attention to the credits, Jeff started mailing out a series of letters to those involved with the film in hopes of locating the car. Finally he was put in touch with man responsible for handling the Camaro during filming, the Transportation Captain.

The Camaro belonged to the gentleman’s son, but it was sold shortly after filming Better Off Dead. Once contact was made with the previous owner, Jeff was able to get the license plate number for the car but not a VIN number; this led to a long process in dealing with the DMV, but eventually Jeff was able to tract down the VIN number.

With the VIN number in hand he was able to hire a private investigator to track down the owner and the location of the Camaro. Two weeks after hiring the investigator, Jeff spoke to the current owner and negotiated the sale of Lane’s ’67 Camaro.

By April of 2002 the Camaro had been shipped to Jeff’s home in Florida and the restoration process begun.

With the Camaro in Florida it was time to examine the extent of the project, unfortunately the car needed a serious restoration to bring it back to its former glory days, but it was not impossible. Jeff selected Time Machines in Hudson, Florida to complete the restoration of the former star car.

In a little over a year Lane’s Camaro would be cruising the streets searching for it’s arch nemesis, the orange Ford Falcon.

Once the car was taken apart and put on the rotisserie, the years of damage were erased and covered with new primer and glossy black paint. The original 400-engine had been removed from the car, but a Dart “Little M” 400 small block with Iron Eagle cylinder heads served a nice replacement. New suspension complete with Poly Graphite bushing was installed along with the new engine and a Turbo 400 transmission.

By January of 2003 work had begun on the wiring and assembling the car. By the time spring rolled around the Camaro was complete once again with newly reupholstered seats and dark tinted windows like it had in the movie. Once the restoration was complete the Camaro made appearances at Orlando area car shows and cruise nights.

Eventually, the Transportation Captain who helped Jeff during his search was able to come out to Florida and drive the car once again. In 2005, Jeff moved to Colorado and took the Camaro with him; according to his website there are fewer car shows near his new home, but he still enjoys taking the Camaro out when given the chance.  You can follow the Camaro and see all of the restoration process at betteroffdeadcamaro.com.

About the author

Lauren Camille

Lauren is a graduate of California State University Fullerton, and has experience working for several enthusiast publications. She enjoys drag racing, classic Fords, and vintage Lincolns. She currently races a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback, and has a soft spot for 1960’s Lincolns. Currently, her collection includes: ’04 Cobra Convertible, ’65 Mustang Fastback, ’04 F350 6.0 diesel, ’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a ’87 Jeep Wrangler. She provides insightful content as a freelance writer for Power Automedia.
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