Restoring a 68 Chevy Camaro

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When Rich Crompton restored a 1968 Chevy Camaro, it was because his wife, Deanna, had been asking him to for years. “It’s her dream car,” says Rich, who owns Rich’s Auto Body in Asbury Park, N.J., with Deanna. “She’d been bugging me for one for 20 years.” So in fall 2007, he began his search.

He initially found a Camaro nearby in Pennsylvania, which the owner said was 80 percent restored. But when Crompton went to see the Chevy, the car was in much worse shape than described.

Undeterred, he continued looking and eventually found another for sale in Minnesota. “I sent an appraisal company out there to look at it, made an offer, and had it trucked back to New Jersey,” Crompton says. Once the Camaro arrived, he spent the following year restoring it for his wife, investing $30,000 in the project. Now, Deanna has her dream car.

HARD AT WORK

Though the Camaro had 80,000 miles on it when Crompton purchased it, the vehicle was still in decent condition. “The transmission and motor were leaking,” he says, but “the interior wasn’t in too bad of shape, [and] there wasn’t a lot of rust.”

He spent time working on the car at night and on weekends, preferring to restore it in the garage behind his house rather than at the shop. He estimates that he spent 300 hours on the vehicle. During the restoration process, he took the motor out and rebuilt it and put some headers on it. He also put in new rods and pistons and a crank shift and added a camshaft, 4-barrel carburetor, stainless steel exhaust and disc brakes.

PERFECT PROJECT

Crompton truly enjoyed his time working on the car. “I’ve been working on vehicles my entire life,” he says. “This was probably one of the easiest and nicest to ever restore.”

The best part of the project? Well, that’s easy. “Finishing it!” Crompton says. “I felt good. I really enjoyed putting it together. It came out nice.”

That, and the fact that Deanna loved her restored Camaro. “She didn’t expect me to do exactly what I did to it, to take all the pains that I did.” 


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