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1967 Camaro SS/RS L-72 427

Feast your eyes on an original 1967 Camaro SS/RS with dealer installed L-72 427 with 425 solid-lifter horsepower and a Muncie 4-speed.  This Tuxedo black beauty is owned by our good friend Mike Gilon, who's owned this car since 1973.  Mike was kind to share these great photos and the first-person story of his Camaro with Gyrhead readers.  

Stay tuned, with the arrival of spring weather in New Hampshire Mike will be providing a road test of this big block monster.  For now -  enjoy!

"The ‘67 Camaro SS/RS was acquired in March 1973, while I was still enjoying the halcyon days of high school. After paying the ungodly sum of $1,000 to Don Loiselle, a Sun Diagnostics Systems Tech, I had myself a mint 40k mile, dealer installed 427/425hp L-72 four-speed car with 4.88 gears in the 12 bolt axle.  Unlike some dealer installed 427 cars which started life as a small block, this was an original 396 big block car, replete with all the big block goodies - such as the 12 bolt axle and 3/8" fuel line

The car is an original SS/RS dressed in black and sported power drum brakes, speed-minder, headers, and a Hurst Competition Plus. Plain rims with dog dish hubcaps rounded out the no-nonsense appearance.

1973 was also the year of the Arab Oil Embargo and mandatory gas rationing. I was pumping gas for $1.75/hr at two area Esso stations. Having a key to the stations, I would slither to the pumps under the cloak of darkess to fill up the Camaro and this is how the Camaro gained its nickname “The Black Energy Crisis”

In the interest of driveability, I soon swapped out the 4.88s for a much more streetable set of 3.55 gears. I also added 1st design L-88 square port heads thereby shedding 75 lbs of weight and gaining much better top end power. That bumped me up to a much more "respectable" 11.4 mpg average

I have also added factory correct options such as; power disc brakes, power windows, tilt wheel, rally wheels and factory AM/FM with Multiplexer. For those of us old enough to know the joys of drum brake fade, the addition of the front discs was a godsend. Having had the "pleasure" of roaring off I-495 and flying through a red light at the end of the ramp - unable to stop - is an experience I'll never forget and never want to repeat.

In my quest for factory correct appearance, I remember making a 150 mile trek to a boneyard in Amherst, MA to fetch some factory bezel screws and the factory antenna off of a 66 Corvair AM/FM.

 

Couple points of trivia… Back in ’67, serious drag racers opted for drum brakes because they were lighter than discs and didn’t have any drag thanks to the spring mechanisms. In the name of safety, by 1968 GM recommended disc brakes and by 1969 they became mandatory on all Camaros with high-performance engines.  The factory rally rims with low-hat caps were only available on disc brake equipped cars in 1967.

Also, in 1967 - FM was mono and a multiplexer was required to enjoy true stereo sound. If an FM radio was ordered, the front fender became the home for the 31” fixed height antenna. Only AM radio cars had the option of a rear quarter antenna.

Compared to my ’69 Impala SS427, the Camaro feels much stronger and more nimble. That said, stability is much better in the full-size. I need to be careful on launches, as the mono leaf springs tend to wrap up and induce wheel hop.  It does have the factory track bar that was an engineering update when the GM realized that the computer generated suspension data did not meet real world behavior.

I still enjoy driving the Camaro but in the name of streetability, I am contemplating a return to traction bars, a Hurst shifter and radials. Let’s face it, bias ply tires suck, Muncie shifters suck even more and wheel hop flat out blows.

Today’s muscle cars have it all over these vintage rides but they lack that soul-stirring experience.  My real passion lies with the muscle cars of the ‘60s. And on a mid-summer evening, nothing comes close to that classic Muncie whine or that 427 intake moan bellowing out of the open air element. Just thinking about it gives me Goosebumps.""

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