Everyone knows that Dale Jr. has been a Chevy fan from the moment that he was born. Raised by one of the most iconic Chevy racers in NASCAR, Dale Jr. has sported a Bow-Tie his entire racing career. It’s no surprise that his personal garage is filled with a couple of Camaros as fun projects for the racer.
We found an interesting interview on Chevrolet Performance’s online performance magazine, “The Block” that captured the details of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s two most significant Camaro builds; a first generation 1967 coupe, and a second generation 1972 coupe. Both are vintage with modern technology adapted in the restoration.
1972 Trans Am Racer
The idea behind the 1972 restomod build, according to Dale Jr., “We wanted to make it sit down and drive like a Trans Am race car, and still have the genuine feel of a ’72.” The work was done by Kyle Tucker’s Detroit Speed shop with Dale Jr. requesting a few things like the Hugger Orange paint.
The crew at Detroit Speed tubed the chassis and added a lot of custom-built components to bring this dream to life. Surprisingly, a Chevrolet Performance crate engine was selected to power this custom fabricated piece. According to Dale Jr., “I wanted to be able to drive it on the street, so we went with an LS2 crate engine. It’s durable, yet still allows for that muscle car feel that you want from a car like this.”
The crew at Detroit Speed added a couple of their popular upgrades to help with the car’s stance. The Detroit Speed mini-tubs and their Quadra Link system provide the Pro-Touring stance that they have become famous for.
1967 Gen I Camaro
Unlike the 1972 Trans Am restomod build, Dale Jr. had a much different vision for his Gen-I Camaro. Staying true to the original power combination, this build features a Chevy small block crate engine with five-speed manual transmission.
Stabilizing the chassis, Dale Jr. had Detroit Speed install subframe connectors and the Quadra Link four-link rear suspension with a completely new hydroformed subframe in the front. The goal was to make the car look and feel like original.
As far as the interior goes, special attention was given to keep the interior clean and as authentic as possible, to pay homage to the vintage nature of the car. “I like the original look and feel of these cars. I think overhauling them and taking away that authenticity would kind of defeat the purpose of having a classic car”, said Dale Jr. Interjecting some new tech like interface for iPhone and music were high on his list, but keeping things near original was important in the build.
According to Jr., keeping the builds as close to the authentic as possible eliminated the possibility of cheapening or over-building the final project. Dale Jr. focused on using the Chevrolet Performance crate engines to add to the authenticity to the project builds. Building a car of your dreams is a blend of ideas and concepts, and we approve of Dale Jr.’s vision and final work with both of these vintage Camaros.