Reader’s Ride: Don Parker’s 1970 Camaro Is A Rush Of Gold

Whether it deserves blame or credit is up for debate, but many auto enthusiasts can trace their obsession back to a friend, neighbor, or at least a particular meeting when the automotive spark was ignited. For Don Parker, owner of this 1970 Camaro, that spark was set aflame almost fifty years ago when his cousin’s boyfriend let him drive a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro. At that point, the smell of fuel and burning rubber had sunk deeply into Don’s psyche and he knew he was hooked.

1970 Camaro and car collection

Don’s automotive passion has spanned half a century, and his 1970 Camaro has been there for most of it. He still owns it and enjoys it as much as possible.

Those claws of performance had such a hold on Don that it was just two years later, in 1974, when he started a job and needed reliable transportation. Of course, “reliable” was a need, but a Camaro was what Don wanted. Thankfully, Don’s mom co-signed on the loan so that he could pick up his very own Camaro – a 1970 vintage, just like the one that started it all. The only difference was, this one was Don’s, and he wasn’t going to let it get away!

Just a few years old, Don’s new pony car was 100 percent bone-stock. Even if it only had six cylinders and two speeds forward, this was an 18-year-old’s ticket to freedom! As you can imagine, the shine quickly wore off that single, elongated valve cover and Don soon sought to put a couple more cylinders under the hood.

383 stroker small-block Chevy engine

The engine in Don’s Camaro now breathes 383 cubic inches of air and features many go-fast goodies. The intake system is a Spectre unit that pulls cooler air from the front of the grill area.

He found a small-block 350 V8 and a three-speed automatic to give his 1970 Camaro a little more street cred. Which is exactly what it did. Don reports he had a blast winning his share of late-night street races, you know, in Mexico, where that kind of stuff happens with surprising regularity.

Right around when the Camaro had its 10th birthday, Don decided that it was time to go all-in on the Camaro. His then fiancé was supportive as Don and a friend of his tore the car down completely. Don’s friend was an excellent paint and body guy, and the acrylic enamel sheen the car wears today is the same one applied over four decades ago.

Don's Camaro still wears the same paint from over 40 years ago. The hand-drawn artwork and striping on the Camaro was done by Terry Shaw.

Throughout the past half-century, Don’s 1970 Camaro has seen a lot of changes. In his words, “Nothing is original except for the steering wheel.” But that means everything has been built to better suit Don and his wishes. The block is now stuffed with an Eagle 383 stroker assembly and capped off with Dart 200 SHP aluminum heads. A COMP roller hydraulic cam, lifters, and rocker arms keep friction to a minimum. A Weiand Street Warrior intake and 750 cfm Holley four-barrel finish out the top end, while a set of Hedman headers help the used-up air and fuel find its way out back.

Under the Camaro, a Hotchkis Sport Suspension helps the second-gen carve up the corners and a set of 3.73 gears helps the car get up to speed. Don’s time-capsule Camaro now rides on a set of Center Line wheels that have been polished nicely and wrapped with Mickey Thompson SS radial tires.

Even with all the modifications and shine juice poured upon Don’s Camaro, he is adamant that it isn’t a show car and will happily prove it to anyone around his Canadian hometown of London, Ontario. He’d love to discuss his car’s capabilities in a way you’ll both clearly understand. Between the Camaro’s color and the years the duo have been together, you could say this is a Golden Anniversary in more ways than one. Neither Don nor his Camaro seem to be suffering in the relationship and we think there will be many more anniversaries, and victories in their future together.

Let’s See Your Chevy!

We love to see and share other hardcore enthusiast’s rides, whether in the build process, finished, or if you’re simply enjoying them in their current state. We only need a few photos and some information about you and your Chevy. That said, the more information and images you submit, the more we can show (and talk about) your car to the rest of our readers.

We look forward to seeing what you are doing to keep the Chevy Hardcore lifestyle alive. If you want to see more cars built and owned by our readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all the pertinent information, so we can include it in our Reader’s Ride section. And don’t forget, if we use your car in our Reader’s Ride section this year, we’ll send you a FREE Chevy Hardcore T-shirt! You can send your submissions to us at

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
Read My Articles