When it comes to building a car, it’s easy for your skill set or pocket book to get in the way of your dreams.
But those problems can be overcome.
In the case of Nick Pierson’s father’s 1972 Chevy Camaro, overcoming those obstacles has been a piece-by-piece process.
Pierson’s father traded a 1986 Monte Carlo SS for the Camaro, which looked like a pile of scrap metal at the time.
“Rust free body, no motor, no transmission, and no front clip,” Pierson wrote.
From the factory, this ’72 Camaro was never built to be overly special.
“This is the lowest production number Camaro because Chevrolet went on strike in 1972. A lot of Camaros and Firebirds got crushed that year,” Pierson wrote.
Indeed, a UAW strike at the Norwood, OH GM assembly plant halted production for 174 days, and 1,100 Camaros and Firebirds were scrapped because they didn’t meet 1973 federal bumper safety standards.
But Pierson and his father slowly made progress on their new project.
“We put a front clip on, and a 350 SBC and a Muncie 4-speed manual transmission. Ran it like that for a while.”
After the front clip and engine, it was time to paint the Camaro. But even that was a slow process.
“She was in red primer,” Pierson wrote. “She stayed looking like that for about 2 or 3 years…My dad and I did all the bodywork ourselves.”
Next, came the gray primer, then–eventually–paint. In the meantime, the father-son duo upgraded the engine and added some performance parts to make it a Z28 clone.
“355 SBC, Summit aluminium heads, Edelbrock Performer Intake, with 750 Holley dual fuel line, Pete Jackson noisy gear drive, Comp Cams 510/533 lift cam, Richmond Gear 6 speed transmission, 323 posi rear-end.”
The Camaro is finally “finished” and looks gorgeous, though Pierson cautions it’s not a work of art.
“She is not perfect,” he wrote. “She was built to be driven, and we have a lot of fun driving her and putting it through her paces. We go to car shows and cruise-ins, but never won a trophy or placed.”
But the car was finally recognized. It was voted into the Top 10 September 2015 Fan Rides on Summit Racing’s Facebook page, then finished the competition as Runner-Up for the Top September Fan Ride.
So, what’s next for the ’72 Camaro?
“My dad wants to put a tunnel ram on it next, but we don’t have the money for new carburetors or rebuild kits.”
If history is any indicator of the future, Pierson and his father will eventually find a way to get the Camaro how they want it…and enjoy it every year until then.
See pictures of the build process below: