It’s an exercise in futility to argue the appeal of the second-gen Camaro. The car has timeless good looks and is a perfect platform to restore or modify. Go to any car show, cruise night, or racing event and you’ll see what I mean. The father and son duo of Craig and Cole Davis wholeheartedly agree.
“The second-gen Camaro has always been Cole’s favorite car,” states Craig. “There has been a Hugger Orange ‘70 Z/28 as his computer and phone screen saver for as long as I can remember.”
Apparently, Cole is an avid researcher, always looking for knowledge. He looks for articles on cool car builds, how-tos, and like many of us, for sale items. “One day he was searching the internet for cool cars,” says Craig. Many times, he intentionally misspells words to get different results, and this time, he typed in “Camero.” That is how our future 1971 popped up. It was a basket case that was painted red and had black stripes. It was at a body shop that started a ground-up restoration for a customer that walked away from the project after it was completely stripped and painted, but not reassembled.”
The for sale ad showed an empty shell and a shop floor of parts. There was no engine or transmission, no glass, only a few interior pieces, and several boxes of assorted parts stored in various areas of the body shop.
“I struck a deal with the body shop owner and had him put the doors, hood, and trunk lid on the shell,” Craig quips. “We took some tires and wheels with us when we picked it up so we could roll it on the trailer. I remember feeling like the Beverly Hillbillies on the ride home. We had parts piled in the car, the truck bed, behind the truck seat, on the floorboards, and even in our laps to get it all home. That was a long two-hour drive.”
Craig said that he never cared for the high back seats found in the 1971 Camaro, so he and Cole added low backs with the headrest. “We inventoried the interior pieces from the pile of parts that came with the car and realized most were too far gone to use,” Craig states. “We began saving and restoring the parts we could and replacing what was broken. We assembled it with new carpet, seat covers, console, and dash pad.”
Like many enthusiasts, choosing the right engine is usually an easy task — we all know what we want. The Davis’ are no exception. “We knew we wanted fuel injection but did not want to do an LS swap. That’s why we decided to do a play on the original first-gen LT-1 by adding a second-gen LT1. It seemed fitting for this car. We avoided the usual headaches of the original OptiSpark system and used a Torqhead ignition system and LS computer and coil-near-plug arrangement. This also allows us the tune the fuel injection for flex-fuel and control the 4L60E transmission.”
Craig finished by telling us the car is an excellent driver and does everything he and Cole want. Together the team has assembled one cool Home-Built Hero.
Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].