Did you ever have that moment of clarity of seeing what the future could hold, when you see the pieces for an awesome project just line up so neatly that you know what materials you'll need, what merchants you're going to use to acquire them, and even what you're going to name the project after it's complete? There's something to love about them, but also to dread when they appear, especially when you're pretty sure that if you just had a little bit more time, you'd have the time and money to complete the project... if you just had a little bit more money. And garage space. And a trailer. And a truck to tow the trailer. And tools. And a wife that won't cut your nuts off in your sleep 'cause it'd easier than divorce.
That last part was an exaggeration. My wife, lovely lady that she is, puts up with many of my foibles, and wouldn't cut off my nuts. She likes playing with Mr Happy, or so she says, so she would take her revenge out on some other part of my anatomy. But I digress.
For those of you who remember my last rant about great finds on Craig's List way back on the 4th day of the New Year, this one about how you should go buy this car right now. Yeah, that one.
Imagine my surprise to find the same car, still for sale, with an $800 discount!
Okay, so new plan: I tell you all the dominoes and all you have to do is knock them over. Someone has to make this project happen, and it doesn't look like it's going to be me, so here's hoping it's one of you out there.
Step 1: go buy the damn Swinger. It's the flat nosed '70 model that avoided the crappy '71 and later "Camaros made pointy-noses popular, so we've got one too" pointy nose. And it's the Swinger model, which doesn't mean a whole lot as we're pulling all the original running gear and replacing it with modern stuff, but hey, at least the badge will be honest.
Step 2: get yourself some horsepower. Now, you could go get some horsepower on the cheap (great article, btw, Bozi), but I'd go buy this clunker, strip out the LS1 and T56 Tremec for the Swinger, and sell the rest of it (front clip, interior, wheels, tires, any piece that wasn't smashed up) for some extra pocket change.
Why not just buy the SS and fix it up? Because, no. The modern Camaros are not good looking, especially when you could have a sleeper that looks like this:
And runs like a scalded cat. Trust me, no one at your place of work or your town, unless you already happen to live by that one other guy in the county who has a Swinger, will be driving past with anything that looks like this.
And yes, I am being horribly blasphemous and telling you to outright strip out the Dodge running gear and slap in bowtie running gear. Why? Cheap (relatively), easy to find, plenty of aftermarket parts, and trust me, you want a turn-key classic car as much as I do. No rebalancing jets in the carbs on the weekend, or getting 7 gallons to the mile fuel inefficiency, just jump in, crank the key, and enjoy. Plus, I'm far from the first person to do this, much less suggest it.
Step 3: Ford 8.8 IRS rear end, find one in your local junkyard out of the '97 and later Expedition. Or get a solid axle one, if you want to make a drag car. I like the IRS, because I like carving corners, but that's just me.
Step 4: Speaking of carving corners, modern suspension, it's a must. Hotchkis has a nice selection, plus a bunch of other shops, shouldn't be hard to find the bits you need.
Step 5: All the other bits and paint. I'd leave the A/C in, work up some cruise control, and some comfy seats. This car, even in mild build, will make plenty of power to do track days and autocross events, plus be your daily commuter. Don't skimp on the creature comforts, but be real - your phone is your entertainment center and GPS, so nothing fancy, just a mount and a bluetooth head unit to connect to. Seats - how seriously you're going to hoon it equates to how fancy (and uncomfortable) of race seats you'll want. And if you're driving it any distance anywhere with an appreciable summer temp, you'll want the A/C and the cruise control. Beyond that, the rest is just fripperies you're not going to notice or care about not having, so forget them.
Step 6: be the coolest person you know. You may already be that, but now everyone else will know it too, not just you.