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John Balow's 1969 Chevy Camaro - The Coolest Camaro In The World

John Balow's '69 Camaro

By Mark Ehlen, Photography by

When you step up with a statement like this, you'd better have the goods to back it up. There are legions of Camaro builders that will put this car to the test. Does it handle like a new car? Is it cool like an old car? Did you get the orange right? As a living icon, the Camaro need represents a standard exaggerated by 40 years of nostalgia. Ask anyone about their first Camaro to hear how these cars were perfect. This car is.

The car was built to be the best by John Balow's crew from Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. From across the street, it looks like a nicely restored '69 Z/28. But the closer you get, the more tricks you'll find. Some aren't too tough for a trained eye to spot, but others are hidden so well that you'd have to drive the car for a while for them to become apparent. Yet it is most definitely not a trailer queen. It's been engineered to be both a fun cruiser and to run hard at the track. So, before you check the cheat sheet, how many tricks can you spot?

99 Hidden Tricks
Total weight: 3,327 pounds-54.7 percent/1,821 front, 45.3 percent/1,506 rear (stock was 3,765)
Auto Metal Direct (AMD) aluminum front fenders
AMD aluminum upper and lower valances
AMD aluminum 2-inch cowl-induction hood
Custom light-tension hood hinge springs matched to hood weight
Aluminum trunk lid
Custom light-tension trunk torsion springs matched to trunk-lid weight
Aluminum chromed bumpers
Rear framerails notched for mini-tubs
Lambert Industries LED turn signals and marker lights
Isis multiplex wiring system
Isis inMOTION power window controller
Isis inLINK RF Control Module-replaces ignition key, vehicle immobilizer
Adjustable turn signal/flasher blink rates
Marker lights blink with taillights
Theater dimming interior lighting
Soft start headlights
Delay shutoff headlights
Express down power windows
Detroit Speed Engineering (DSE) deep (mini) tubs-allow 335 tire inside stock quarters
DSE stainless steel narrowed fuel tank-fuel injection, LS1
DSE QUADRA Link four-link rear suspension kit
Shocks moved inboard of framerails for mini-tub clearance
Panhard bar
DSE coilover shocks and springs, 450-lb/in front, 250-lb/in rear
DSE powdercoated, hydroformed subframe
DSE tubular upper and lower control arms
Power rack-and-pinion
Splined sway bar
Ford 9-inch axlehousing
Driveshaft shortened to 58.5 inches center to center with GM to Ford U-joint
G-Force crossmember
Auto Trans Design 4L60E overdrive transmission
Custom-built 11-inch-diameter, 3,000-rpm converter
Performance clutch friction materials
Reinforced internal transmission components
A & B mode switch for normal auto or full manual racing operation with paddle shifters
EZ-TCU transmission controller
Milter Bros. complete 9-inch Ford billet third member with 3:70:1 gears
Wheel Vintiques 18x9.5 Billet Rallye wheels, polished outer, silver center
Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 275/35R18 tires
MCR-fabricated custom brake lines
Baer six-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors
Baer adjustable proportioning valve
Hydroboost power brake package with GM master cylinder
Dynamat floor and door sound deadening kit
Front seat backs extended 4 inches taller
Push-button starter button hidden in ashtray
Stock speedometer and tach recalibrated to 160 mph and 10,000 rpm
Custom factory-looking Z/28 insignia on speedometer and tach
8,000-rpm redline on tach
Factory water temp gauge recalibrated for LS engine
LED interior lights
Memphis Car Audio stereo sound in-stock dash opening with two 4-inch speakers
Two 6x9-inch speakers in rear package shelf
2.5x12-inch-diameter shallow-mount subwoofer in a 6-inch box spatter-painted to match trunk
600W JL Audio 6x8-inch compact amp
Grant steering wheel

By Mark Ehlen
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