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'69 Camaro Upgrade

This is a discussion on '69 Camaro Upgrade within the Camaro / SS forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I have a problem. Some may say it is an obsession. I spend most of my time thinking about her. ...

  1. #1
    Blown, Stroked, & Sprayed

    Ed Blown Vert's Avatar
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    Aug 1999
    San Diego, Ca

    383 Procharged & N20 Vert

    Exclamation '69 Camaro Upgrade

    I have a problem. Some may say it is an obsession. I spend most of my time thinking about her. And it’s not my wife. It’s my ’69 Camaro SS/RS. She was a long time dream of mine, which recently became a reality.

    It was quite a search to find “the one”. There are 1969 Camaro’s to be found, but the question is, price and condition. I saw a few that were either too much money with trunk floors that looked like Swiss cheese, or that needed a new engine or close to it. The car that met my needs was in Nevada City, California. She had good bones, body and a LT1 Corvette engine. Now, I know it is not typical for Car Audio and Electronics to cover a build from start to finish, especially since the coverage will not be entirely an audio system build. I thought it would be interesting and fun to share to get some input from the readers. Keep in mind that I am not a rich man (very far from it), nor am I an expert by any means. Like most of you out there, I’m an automotive enthusiast. So, I’m researching about the vehicle upgrades, looking for ideas from others, talking with other owners, and saving money for the next item on the check-off list of things to do.

    First things first. Figuring out what you want to do with the car now that you have it. Do I want to fully restore it to factory? Make it perfect and put it in a bubble? I’m going for a “streetable” muscle car. What’s the fun in having one, if you can’t drive it!

    Next a thorough cleaning, inside and out. It also gives me a chance to really inspect any items that require immediate attention—at least for the things that I can see. A good wash, clay bar and polish shined her body up nicely. The next item, a good steam cleaning of the undercarriage to remove any dirt and grease build-up. It will also make it easier and cleaner for when the new suspension goes in. Here is the clean 40 year old undercarriage.

    Have you ever driven an old car (pre-1975’s)? It always feels like you are steering a boat. Not sure if it the feeling of the “roll” of the car on the turn or turning the gigantic steering wheel as if you were really steering a boat! I decided to upgrade the suspension. Since this car is being built as a street car, I decided to go with Detroit Speed Engineering’s (DSE) Speed Kit Level 3 (minus the coilover shocks and conversion kit), with the DSE 3” rear leaf kit for ease of bolt-on components to improve the first generation Camaro handling and stance. The 600 steering gear is a quick ratio (12:7:1) unit giving rack and pinion steering performance with a bolt-in steering gear.

    Above is the before and after picture of the suspension from under the car. See the showing the steering gear (ceramic coated), tubular tie rod adjusters, inner and outer tie rods, idler arm, pitman arm to rebuild the front end. Note, you can’t see the solid body mounts and stainless bolts for corrosion resistance. These items eliminate flex that occurs between the body and subframe. This will stiffen up the chassis and improve handling.

    New Front Suspension
    - DSE tubular upper and lower control arms, plus 1-1/8” front sway bar for improved cornering and rigidity.
    - DSE 2” drop springs and Koni shocks for a lower stance (this replaces the missing coilover shocks and conversion kit from the DSE Level 3 Speed Kit)
    - New spindles and brake rotors to replace worn pieces


    New Rear Suspension
    - DSE 3” drop leaf springs, Koni shocks, DSE U-Bolts, and lower shock plates to improve handling with 175 lbs./in. spring rate.


    New Heavy Duty Shackle
    - DSE Heavy Duty Shackle Kit with Delrin Bushings for the leaf kit


    The upgrade has made a huge difference in the ride of the car! It has made “old” drive like “new”—a slight turn of the wheel when making turns, rather than revolutions of the steering wheel. Also the “roll” of the turn is now tight. I also love the new stance of the car, lower with a sporty look.

    All installation and upgrades were performed by Campbell Auto Restoration and High Performance Center. Besides being an authorized dealer for Detroit Speed Engineering, they do excellent work and are a one-stop shop for body, paint and automotive modifications.

    I recently purchased some Morel Supremo speakers for the car—another dream fulfilled. I need to decide on other components for the audio system, which I have some time to contemplate. Coming up next: exhaust/headers. Then later, the audio system of course. Any suggestions or comments or donations, please hit me on

    A special thanks to:
    Detroit Speed Engineering (link to:
    Campbell Auto Restoration (408) 371-5522


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    2000 formula

    wow.......i want 1 now

  3. #3
    Senior Member TLS_Addict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Ray Charles blue

    Very nice man, very nice.

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