Now that we have all gotten older, we all have at least one reason for deciding on a project to build. For most, it boils down to a memory that we can’t shake. Scott Coleman is living proof of that. “My very first car was a 1980 Camaro,” says Scott. “I did what your typical teenage kid does, I raced it, broke it, fixed it, hauled around good friends in it, ragged it out, and eventually parted ways with it. I’ve always regretted getting rid of it.” That’s another sentiment many of us understand, and the impetus for building this split bumper Camaro.
Scott continues, “I spent a lot of time with my late father learning how to wrench on that car. Through the years I have had many project cars and trucks. But never another second-gen Camaro, I’ve always wanted another, but it couldn’t be any second gen, it had to be a true 1970 split bumper. It took more than 25 years to find the right Camaro, one that was not only affordable but also what I considered a good solid starting point.”
Scott says it took a long time to find what he wanted, but one day, an ad on Craigslist caught his attention. “When I first saw the car, it was pretty rough,” Scott says. “The drivetrain was shot, and most of the interior was missing. However, it was a number matching car with the original engine intact. Initially, I wanted to just get it running and drivable, but honestly, this is the last full resto project I will do (honest this time).
Forging A Path
“I like to go fast, so I decided to do a total rebuild from the ground up and build a nice compromise of a street/track performer, a resto-mod if you will. The numbers matching engine was put in storage and the canvas was cleared. I always wanted a sleeper, just a blah-looking bite-you-in-the-ass car, but it got a little carried away. The guys on the NastyZ28.com forum give me a hard time because it’s not fooling anyone, it lets you know for sure that it’s meant to hurt some feelings.”
Scott says he mostly built the split bumper Camaro in his driveway and a little small workshop under a very tight budget. The car was taken down to the bare shell. The body was sanded, and all rust was cut out and repaired. The body was then painted a Dodge Viper color called Green with Envy. “The car was originally green, and I wanted it to stay that way,” Scott affirms. “After looking at several GM greens, as well as greens from other manufacturers, Dodge green was the one I liked best.”
“I went through several car covers through the years, painstakingly trying to keep the weather off of the car while it was disassembled. My shop is small, with a lot of the available space housing woodworking tools and car parts, most of which were for this car,” Scott quips.
LS Swap The World
The engine in the split bumper is a 5.3-liter LS taken from a 2002 Suburban. The compression ratio is approximately 11.0:1 It has an Elgin camshaft with 238/242 degrees of duration and .595/.595-inch lift. The heads are home ported and built 862 castings with 2.02- and 1.57-inch stainless steel valves. “They work very well, and allow me to run more compression,” Scott states. “They still flow well with the port work and boost and I have Comp Cams’ Rocker trunnions, Howard’s valve springs, hardened pushrods, and LS7 lifters. The engine is topped with a Cadillac CTS-V LSA supercharger that has a Griptec 2.45-inch pulley to make approximately 15-pounds of boost. The exhaust flows through a set of Speed Engineering 1-7/8-inch full-length stainless-steel headers Into a Pypes 3-inch dual stainless steel exhaust system.”
Fuel management comes from twin in-tank mounted Walbro 450 fuel pumps that feed E-85 to a set of Bosch 210 fuel injectors. The fuel system has been designed to be large enough to support the blower and allow a dry shot of nitrous later if desired.
“I rebuilt the 4L80-E with hardened shafts, billet, rollerized forward hub, increased clutch capacity, internal mods to increase line pressure, and a rollerized output shaft. It has a 3,800-rpm-stall torque converter and a Jakes Performance D1 trans brake. It is bolted in using a GForce Performance Products crossmember,” Scott iterates.
Engine and transmission management in the split bumper is controlled by an Ms3 Pro ECU. Scott feels it’s overkill but will allow the addition of traction control, nitrous control, trans-brake control, and a lot more. The rearend is a Quick Performance 9-inch with 4.11 gears. It uses a Yukon center section with billet pinion support, 35-spline Moser axles, and a chromoly spool.
The front suspension uses Viking dual-adjustable coilover shocks. Scott says he modified the lower control arms to give them strength if the car pulls the front wheels. The rest of the front suspension is rebuilt stock. The rear suspension features mono leaf springs and Caltrac bars working in conjunction with Calvert 9-way adjustable shocks.
The interior has been mostly restored with stock upholstery, carpet, and replacement plastic panels. Chevrolet only used this particular low-back seat for 1970, and the old ones were in really bad shape. Scott says, “I had to search for frames, tracks, and other replacement parts. It was actually quite challenging, but I had a lot of help from the NastyZ28.com community. The upholstery was covered in the car’s original color of Sandalwood, and I added some black for contrast.”
The factory gauge cluster was replaced with a 12.6-inch LCD screen that connects to a small computer. The computer connects to the MS3 Pro ECU and relays all the engine and transmission information to the screen. With this, Scott can tune, diagnose, and collect data from the screen/computer without the need for a laptop. The onboard computer is hidden in the glove box and functions via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Finally, the car’s A/C and heating were completely restored and are functional, which is essential in the Texas heat!
“The entire project has taken roughly six years to complete as I saved for parts and single-handedly built the car,” says Scott. “My dad passed away a short while ago and working on this car has given me the opportunity to get my mind away from my daily routine and a lot of that focus has been remembering him while working on the car.”
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@example.com.