APRIL 2, 2014 LOST STARS-THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: A 1970 1/2 CAMARO IS STILL MISSED BY ITS FORMER OWNER

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Dave Allen has always been the kind of guy who really likes to get there in a hurry.

 

These days he satisfies his need for speed on water more than land because he has taken up the jet boat hobby.

 

However, Dave has a fast past history on land during a time when he built and owned a 1970 ½ Camaro Z-28.

 

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These second-gen Camaros replaced one of the most famous cars in automotive history when they took over where the first-gen edition Camaros left off at GM.

 

Dave’s Camaro was not exactly in great shape when he bought it in the early 90s. The car was gutted and it had a very tired engine just itching to have last rites administered to it by a sympathetic mechanic who believed in euthanasia.

 

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Dave is a very bold guy so he had no problem driving the Camaro 90 miles back to his place with its tired engine while he sat on a crate behind the wheel.

 

The solution to the engine problem was easy because Dave owned a built 327 Vette engine rescued from his 1978 Camaro rocket in which he had experienced a crash landing.

 

The 327 was a crazy-fast high compression engine with a big thirst for race fuel. Dave was able to use the car on the street but he was limited by the range of his Camaro and had to pack extra race fuel containers simply to drive 100 miles.

 

By this time Dave had moved away from the need for insane power because of the complicated fuel supply issues, so he rebuilt the 327 into a lower compression and gas pump-friendly engine.

 

The newly-rebuilt engine and an automatic transmission would become the foundation for his 1970 ½ Camaro project.

 

The car also required a lot of new sheet metal, including rear quarters and trunk floor. Dave enlisted the services of a local body guy to tackle the finer points of cosmetic surgery on the car while Dave tackled the wrenching on the car.

 

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The car was transformed into a stylish street machine with plenty of horsepower under the hood and Dave was able to drive a car model he always wanted to own when he was a kid.

 

Most guys pick the 1967-69 Camaros as their favorite pony from the General but Dave has always blazed his own path in life, including favorite Camaros.

 

Dave added a few improvements to the stock suspension and steering system on the Camaro because he wanted the car to handle better when pedal meets metal.

 

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Dave regretted the dip in horsepower when he rebuilt the engine and sacrificed some brute force so he could use pump gas, but he could still melt rear tires when the mood hit him.

 

But his biggest regret will always be the day he sold the car. Dave had seller’s remorse by the time the car was “100 feet out of his yard” in his words.

 

He called it the “worst decision he ever made“, but Dave was embarking on an expensive new jet boat hobby at the time, so goodbye Camaro.

 

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Dave will never forget his Camaro because he put a lot of his spare time, heart and soul into the project.

 

It will always be one of his fondest four-wheeled memories.

 

Jim Sutherland

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