Tehran Flowers' 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS
When someone says to me 'muscle car', I immediately think of brutish American lumps of metal with huge, thirsty engines and enough torque to spin the earth backwards. Useless in corners and pointless for anything else besides making lots of noise and taking up a bay and a half in parking lots. But when done right, and their parts chosen carefully, they can be absolute killers. The one I've been sent to find today is no slouch and can definitely take a corner or two...or so I've been told. This should be interesting. The car I've been sent to find is a rare gem, a Chevrolet Camaro SS, first unleashed to the masses in 1969 and normally found either rusting in a scrapyard or under a sheet in an expansive car collection. So how is this one not rusting away or gathering dust? Up to me to find out.
As the sun peeks over the Mediterranean Sea, I find the car in question sitting in a car park just outside of Nice. The driver obviously awaiting my arrival, lit fattie in hand, seemed quite relaxed to hand over the keys to me and let me bring this unusual beast to life. Definitely not what I was expecting. Instead of a gritty old grumble there was a voracious roar and wail of a supercharger, almost sounding like a new engine. As we cruise into the main town, this car doesn't feel old at all. Sure the interior fittings have been kept and refurbished to new standard, the rest of the car doesn't feel as wobbly and jelly-like as an old muscle car should. "I saw this as an opportunity to show people that these old rides can still put up a fight, she's a real force to be reckoned with", Tehran states as we watch the sun crest over the mountains behind Nice. We've pulled into a bay by the harbour and he begins to tell me more about how this car came to be.
Engine & Transmission:
"After missing the first festival because I didn't have a decent ride to go with, I knew I had to be ready for this one", Tehran states as he looks over at the Camaro. "This car was given to me by my Uncle, Bruce. He'd put a lot of work into the car already, but it still needed attention". We both laugh as if that's the unspoken rule of every project car, Tehran continues. "Bruce had a garage full of cars from all walks of life, but this one he was willing to donate to me as it was packing something special. Under the hood is the engine from the Corvette ZR1, which is why you almost hollered like a kid when you started her up!" Tehran laughed as he took another drag from his fattie. "The engine was all this car needed for power, coupled with the same transmission from the ZR1, she rolls as a real sleeper". Coupled to this immense upgrade was a custom forged exhaust system and larger intercooler to support the massive supercharger bolted to the engine. The last upgrades to squeeze more power out of that monstrous engine were a set of race-spec camshafts and valves.
Chassis & Wheels:
"I tried the car with the base setup that Uncle Bruce had on it and found it had way too much power! Almost wrapped the damn thing round a tree! So some work needed to be done". Tehran gestured at the car's new stance. It sits lower than a standard '69 Camaro and looks a whole load stiffer. "The first thing to go in was a full set of Tein springs and roll bars. At least with these I wouldn't be rolling all over the place through corners, doesn't look good man". Poking through the wheels are a complete set of cross drilled and slotted brakes, coupled with mighty Willwood calipers. "I wanted to go for a cruiser style, so naturally she needed a bling set of shoes to carry her round the streets", and he wasn't joking either. 19 inch forged Asanti AF140 wheels adorn each corner of the car, wrapped in high grade Goodyear tyres. While no rollcage is present, the chassis has also been strengthened to cope with the new stresses the increased power and stickier tyres put on the car.
The car has been adorned in a specially selected two-tone flake effect paint to make it stand out while cruising down the streets of Southern Europe. "I couldn't just leave the car in any standard design, fortunately Uncle Bruce knows a couple of the guys who work at House of Kolor and they managed to hook me up with this sick flip paint". The wheels also got treated to a fresh helping of chrome. "FRN" tags dot the car to show Tehran rolls with one of the larger networks of drivers at the festival. The interior, as previously stated has been kept to its original design, yet has been reupholstered, polished and varnished to make it look as if it's just rolled off the assembly line. "I never go anywhere without a trunk full of polish and wax...apart from if I'm racin' of course!" Tehran chuckles.
As we draw the day to a close and Tehran drives off in his pride and joy, it's definitely given me a new outlook on these once ill-perceived cars. Sure there will always be some whose home should permanently be a drag strip, but others like this startling example belong on the street, giving the more modern rivals a good run for their money!
'Mike Seddon is an avid follower of the car culture and has been present for both the Colorado and Southern Europe Festivals. He also goes trackside whenever possible and - armed with his trusty camera - strives to capture the best moments and cars from every event he attends'.