The color combo of a Silverglaze Metallic exterior and Regimental Red interior is nothing
Every once in a while you’ll come across a car that catches your eye in a way that no other vehicle has—it radiates an almost indescribable glow that makes it much more than the sum of its parts. Russ Van Camp’s ’67 GTO convertible is one of those vehicles that gives other show car owners fits—you just know that Best of Show has been picked as soon as it rolls off the trailer.
Before you label it over-restored, keep in mind that Russ’ GTO is not a restoration in the strict sense of the word. It looks quite a bit better than new in terms of paint preparation and quality, the brightness of the chrome, the engine compartment finishes, and the undercarriage detailing. There is no replication of factory flaws—instead there is only a desire for perfection.
This GTO is technically a mild custom, built to compete with other similarly-prepped vehicles, and is an idealized version of a ’67 GTO. The standards have been set by the International Show Car Association (ISCA). Therefore correct casting numbers and originality are not important, but the perfection of paint and bodywork, detailing of fasteners, use of chrome and other plating, and the uniformity of interior stitching are.
Russ purchased the GTO in 2009. He recalls, “Janet and I were showing another one of our cars, a restored ’56 Crown Victoria, when we met Chuck and Debbie Woolery of Run Rite Classics, in Houghton Lake, Michigan. During a visit to the shop to discuss our Crown Vic, our interest quickly turned to a ’67 GTO convertible Chuck had purchased on eBay for a project. After a few more trips to Houghton Lake and a lot of ‘What kind of car do you want?’ discussions, we decided the ’67 GTO convertible would be our next dream.”
Originally a Gulf Turquoise automatic car, it came from Maine needing substantial sheetmetal replacement due to the salt air, and was only 75-percent complete. Undaunted, Russ pressed onward and put Chuck and his team to work.
With a no-expense-spared restification for ISCA show competition, Russ and Janet Van Camp’
“Our idea was to show how we thought a GTO should have come from the factory,” said Chuck. “There are a lot of subtle changes made that you might not notice at first, but together they really add up to a spectacular car.” He added, “My wife Debbie does all of the design work needed on each project and does all of the color coordination.”
This GTO was completely disassembled and built from the ground up. “We have more than 600 hours in the frame,” said Chuck. “We removed the seams, lines, and other visual flaws, which gives the frame a smooth, clean look.” The front and rear suspensions and disc/drum brakes were rebuilt to mostly stock specs, except for a faster-ratio TRW steering box that gives 2.9 turns lock-to-lock and the addition of a 0.875-inch rear swaybar. Eaton Detroit supplied the springs, Moog supplied the bushings, and the shocks are AC Delco replacement units.
The 400 has been treated to a rebuild featuring 0.030-inch-over TRW forged pistons, resize
The drivetrain also received a rebuild, including the original 400—which was bored 0.030-inch over and fitted with TRW forged pistons—stock resized rods, a reground stock crank, and an upgraded TRW replacement version of the “068” cam with 288/298 degrees advertised duration and 0.444/0.466-inch lift. The 670 heads were rebuilt as well and feature 2.11/1.77 stainless-steel valves, TRW springs, and 1.5:1 rockers.
A deviation from stock is the FAST EZ-EFI throttle-body fuel injection system, which was installed on a factory cast-iron intake manifold. A Summit HEI ignition system fires the mixture, and the spent gases are expelled through a set of ceramic-coated Ram Air exhaust manifolds. From there, they exit through a Pypes 2.5-inch dual exhaust system with an X-style pipe crossover. The entire system was put in place, spot-welded, then removed and finish-welded. All welds were then ground smooth and sanded, and the system was ceramic-coated and reinstalled. No muffler clamps are used.