Camaro thoughts

November 28, 2011

Very often friends and family who know I own and drive a project 1967 Camaro question me about how the project’s going asking: what have I done lately, what will I do next, when will it be painted, and what will it be like when it’s finished.  I like talking cars so I always enjoy conversing what I’ve done and what I image it being but I also think I’d be fun to show what I’d like it to be rather than just relying on my verbal descriptions. If you’re interested I hope you enjoy the following. I will not be done for many years but it’s fun to bench build.

You can go many different ways and use various styles when building up a classic car. I like most things classic so I want my Camaro to look and feel very much like the 1960s from which it came. It doesn’t have to be strictly original but I’d like to keep my modifications mild and hidden. I’ll use a bit more freedom with modifications that were common to the era and period correct for gearheads of the day.

The main reason for this post is to show some colors.  It’s easier to show colors than to describe them, and color makes up a large part of how people image a car.

For a long time I was pretty set on fathom green as the color I’d paint the Camaro. It’s actually a 1969 color but I like it’s deep, dark look.  Although it’s not strictly original for my ‘67 it would still look period correct.

1969 fathom green

1969 fathom green with white hockey stick stripe

Recently, I’ve become interested in a couple other colors:  ’67 Tahoe turquoise

and ’68 Corvette bronze.  Originally I did not consider any reds or blues because I see so many other red and blue Camaros on the roads and at the shows. Also, I’m more interested in using something other than the same few colors used on the cars made today. The auto industry used a much wider color palate in the 60’s, and I wanted to take advantage of that with my ‘60s muscle. That is largely the reason I like the bronze.

Tahoe turquoise in sun with redline tires

Tahoe turquoise with black vinyl top and white bumblebee stripe

Tahoe turquoise as I would have it with black vinyl top and white bumblebee

1968 Corvette bronze in sun with redlines

Regardless of which of the above colors I ultimately choose I plan on using a white bumblebee stripe across the front.  Not only do I love the contrast of a dark color with white but the bumblebee is fairly unique to Camaros and very 1960s.

Nantucket blue with white bumblebee and correct 1967 grill and round parking lights. My Camaro currently has the grill and rectangular parking lights of the 1968 Camaro. I prefer these round lights.

Also, I’d like to install a black vinyl top (except if I use the bronze).  I like the two-tone styling it provides, and I like the contrast the textured vinyl has against the glossy finish of the paint. And, again, it’s fairly unique to ‘60s style.

1969 fathom green with black vinyl top

As I mentioned before, I like a good dark and light contrast.  So I plan on matching the deluxe parchment interior to the dark exterior.  This white interior is another reason for the previously mentioned white bumblebee stripe.  I think it’d be a nice way to draw the interior and exterior together as the white stripe highlights the white interior while looking in from outside the car.

Parchment interior with deluxe steering wheel I’d also use

Up to this point most of the work my dad and I have done to the car has been on the engine, and I have the engine looking just about how I’d like to keep it. It’s a Corvette 327 and it has that original Chevy small-block appearance. It has the beautiful, finned Corvette valve covers so it is clear it’s not the original engine, but a Corvette 327 swap would have been a modification done by original Camaro owners who wanted a little more horsepower.  I still have some changes I’d like to make to the engine but they are changes that would affect the appearance very little (such as upgrading to aftermarket roller rocker arms).

How a muscle car sounds is also incredibly important.  It’s one of the main characteristics that make driving classic cars a much more visceral and full sensory experience. Much more than just a way to get from A to B. I’d like to have my Camaro sounding similar to the following two cars. Both are ‘60s small-blocks fitted with headers, chambered exhaust and the famous Duntov 30-30 cam used on the race-breed Corvettes and Z/28s.  The cam provides the chop while the headers and chambered exhaust provide the throaty volume.

As for the wheels I’d like to use Pontiac Rallys like those I have on now (but in better condition). I have also considered American Racing Torq Thrusts which also provide a good ‘60s-modified look. I think I’ll keep using BFGoodrich Radial T/As because they’re a good and comfortable daily driver tire and I like the raised white lettering. I like redline tires but I don’t think I’d use them on a daily driver.

What do you guys think? Any ideas? What color do you like best?


A few great car commercials

March 16, 2011

Recently there have been some great car commercials on television and I wanted to look back at some of my favorites listed here. I am not  interested in clever sales pitches, stunning visuals or feasts of strength (so common in truck and luxury car commercials). I am more interested in how the soul of the car is portrayed and in the relationships and experiences people have with their cars. (It also helps to be about an exciting car.)

I love the physical comedy/silent film style acting in this ad made great with the STAR WARS theme.

Just a fun commercial with a beautiful car.  Also, RIP Crown Victoria.

Possibly my favorite. This one brought me to my feet the first time I saw it.  It’s in homage to the Steve McQueen film Bullitt, probably the greatest car chase movie.  The 1968 Mustang GT McQueen used to chase two hitmen in a  1968 Charger R/T 440 to their fiery death was the inspiration for the Mustang’s new design. A special Bullitt Edition was later offered. McQueen’s image was taken from the movie chase which can be seen here.

And this is when the V-Series was just getting started. Check out the CTS-V coupe.

Another great. This Corvette commercial was pulled from television for its “dangerous” portrayal of children driving irresponsibly.  I believe that’s what makes it great. Children dream of driving passionate cars. (And always manuals- children don’t pretend to drive an automatic.)  This ad is so true to  the ideal driver-car relationship. Ford later made a similar ad with adult drivers- it was much less.

A car’s life flashes before its windshield and its the lives of its owners.

What ever happened to style? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. There was a time when style was just about everything in automotive design. I love the shots of the Chrysler Building which was designed using the automotive Art Deco style of the times.


Hatfield Buick part of Redlands culture

June 11, 2009

When I first heard of the economic troubles some of the major American automotive companies were having my first fear was the possibility of an America without those companies and their cars, each so vital to the American culture.  Now, following the filing of bankruptcy of GM those fears are being realized. 

Newspapers report GM is soon to be government owned, and will be reduced to just four companies (Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC).  Also, dealerships all across the nation will not have their franchise agreements renewed for the next year affecting towns all across the U.S. 

Again one of my first fears concerning GM’s troubles has been realized. The Hatfield Buick dealership of my hometown Redlands, CA will not have its agreement renewed after 100 years of selling cars. It joined Buick in 1913 after Hatfield had been selling cars since 1909.  It’s the oldest Buick dealer in the U.S., probably the world.

1913 Buick

1913 Buick

Currently owned by the original Hatfield’s grandson, the dealership is trying to petition to GM for the renewal of the contract and the continued life of an important center to the city’s heritage and culture. If this fight is lost it will not only mean the loss of a place to buy a car and the cars themselves, but the city of Redlands (with its people) will lose a piece of itself.

1913 Buick

 For more information visit these links and savehatfieldbuick.com (to show your support).

ABC7 News

Redlands Daily Facts


Where The Light Is – Mayer at His Best

July 7, 2008

John Mayer first came to see mainstream musical success in 2001 with the release of his debut album, Room For Squares.  Since that time, John has put out several more records and shown incredible growth not only in his songwriting, but his guitar playing as well.  Mayer’s next studio album, Heavier Things, released in 2003, allowed Mayer to explore within the pop feel of his first album.  The result is top quality music.  Mayer’s most recent studio album, Continuum is my personal favorite.  Released in 2006, Mayer adopts a much bluesy-er and rock-y-er feel.  Great songwriting is accompanied by soulful guitar solos and memorable melodies.

Before releasing Continuum, Mayer joined up with studio-giant Pino Palladino on bass and ex-Stevie Wonder drummer Steve Jordan to form John Mayer Trio.  The three relased Try!, a live album in 2005.  The music that these three great musicians make is much bluesy-er than anything Mayer has done on his own.  This project of Mayer’s may just be my favourite thing that Mayer has done.

John Mayer has distinguished himself as a very versatile musician, becoming a master of acoustic guitar based pop, pop/rock, and straight ahead blues.  With this in mind, Mayer gave a concert last December at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  The concert opened with John Mayer with an acoustic guitar, joined with two other acoustic players on a few songs.  This was followed by John Mayer Trio, and finally closing out the evening, the main act… (drumroll please)  John Mayer with a full band!

John has just released a DVD and CD of this event.  Both are fantastic.  I highly recommend these to anyone who enjoys good music.  It has been so great to see Mayer’s growth musically over the past several years.  He is definitely one of the most creative artists out on the radio/mtv circuit these days.  If you think you know John Mayer as “just another pop act”, check out this live CD or DVD, entitled Where The Light Is.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed.


Culture in Disney and Pixar’s Cars

March 30, 2008

The other day we were talking about Disney and Pixar’s animated film Cars. I love that the film is not just another cartoon but an expression and record of culture, the American car culture.In being a film expressing culture it is inspired by the car culture.In making it they could have easily chose to create generic cartoon cars but they chose to use real and historical cars.Here are a few of the inspirations for the film.

The mountain range making up the landscape surrounding Radiator City was clearly inspired by the the famous Cadillac Ranch located in Amarillo, Texas along the classic Route 66.  The creators buried 1949 to 1963 Cadillacs so their rear halves pointed out to the skys.  The point was to emphasize the beauty of the chrome and fins era in which the cars were made.

The Cozy Cone motel came from the wigwam motels also along Route 66 with the closest one in San Bernardino, CA.

The cars and characters were also inspired.  “The King” character was based on the famous NASCAR 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner driven by Richard Petty.  Petty himself even supplied the voice for “the King.”

Doc Hudson was characterized in resembliance to the Fabulous Hudson Hornet which is from the legendary winning car of the early years of NASCAR.  The voice was provided by Hollywood car guy Paul Newman.  Newman himself was also a race car driver.

It is also worth mention that the name of the main character Lightening McQueen.  Steve McQueen was also a Hollywood car guy and a skilled motorcycle racer.  McQueen starred in and did much of the stunt driving in Bullitt which contains one of the greatest car chases filmed.