LIVING THE DREAM

GEORGE ANASTASIOU’S 1967 RS CAMARO IS THE IMMACULATE HEAD-TURNER HE KNEW HE’D OWN SINCE HE WAS 12 YEARS OLD

STORY CARLY DALE PHOTOS CRISTIAN BRUNELLI

GEORGE ANASTASIOU has been a Camaro fan for a long time. “I’ve wanted one since I was only 12 years old, after a guy in our neighbourhood bought a red ’68 with a crazy big-block and four-speed,” he remembers.

“It was the toughest thing I’d ever seen. So I decided that one day I’d own one – though I had to wait 30 years.”

George located his ’67 RS in the States as a restored, matching-numbers, two-owner car. “It was a clean body with no rust, the interior was a great colour and in top condition, plus the previous owner photographed the complete resto, which was the key to my purchase.”

The car landed in Oz in 2011, and headed straight to Mike McCrudden at Glenlyon Motors in Brunswick East, Victoria.

“George arrived with a reasonably original, unmolested Camaro. He had a wishlist, but it then grew,” Mike laughs. “I said to George, if you leave it LHD everyone will think that you bought it like that. Make it RHD and people are going to know that you built it.”

The inevitable snowball ensued. “I just got deeper and deeper, so I went pretty much the whole hog,” George says.

Over the next five years, Mike became the custodian of the RS, adding his expertise and calling in other professionals where needed. “Overall we agreed that the objectives were: neat, hidden and tough,” George says. “Mike made lots of customengineered parts. He has a great attention to detail and we were pretty much on the same page.”

Mike and the lads at Glenlyon Motors stripped the Camaro of every last nut and bolt before embarking on the rebuild, which included the RHD conversion, a flat firewall and a heap of performance upgrades, starting with the clapped-out SBC.

“We rebuilt the factory block so it’s still matching-numbers, even though nothing inside is original,” Mike says. First it copped a balance and blueprint thanks to Donnie at Wellco Engine Reconditioning. Mike then added the go-fast bits. Up top is a Holley 650 DP feeding an Edelbrock Performer Air-Gap manifold through to Trick Flow heads packed with Trick Flow lifters, pushrods, valves and springs. Below is a same-brand 284/290 cam. Mahle forged pistons pinned to six-inch Scat I-beams swing off a forged crank. “We believe it’s good for 420-440fwhp – a bit of punch, but nothing stupid. It gets to 6500rpm pretty quick,” George smiles.

Behind that, George opted to bin the ’Gilde that it arrived with, opting for a rebuilt, factory-style M21 crunch box. The Glenlyon fellas reconditioned the ’box with new gears, keeping the factory ratios. Further back, they beefed up the 8.5-inch GM 10-bolt with 3.7 Richmond gears, Truetrac centre and 31-spline axles.

Underneath, Mike added Hotchkis sub-frame connectors and sway-bars for rigidity. QA1 adjustable coil-over fronts and a Hotchkis leaf-spring rear take care of the ride comfort, while braking is now thanks to Wilwood four-spot calipers and discs up front with the original GM drums at the back. George opted to roll on 17-inch American Racing rims. “The only bling on the outside of car is the wheels,” he says.

Outside, the hue is close to standard, with a modern twist.

“The original GM colour is Deepwater Blue, a rare option at the time,” George says. “I wanted to keep the same combo as the VIN number, though I went with Lotus Nightfall Blue, as it has more flake. Rob and Sharee Rowe from Superior Panel Services not only prepped and coated the Camaro,

WE REBUILT THE FACTORY BLOCK SO IT’S STILL MATCHINGNUMBERS, EVEN THOUGH NOTHING INSIDE IS ORIGINAL

they also went to town on the finishing touches to make sure all lines were tight.”

Next the RS headed back to Mike for the final fit-up. “The new stainless-steel window trims wouldn’t go on,” Mike says. “So I called Miles Johnston from Thunder Road as he’s probably the only bloke I know that can do it. It left us for a six-week trim fit and stayed for six months. Miles is more pedantic than me! He did around 20-30 tiny things that weren’t 10/10 that came back here perfect.” Amongst the raft of mods are the radiator cover panel and front mesh inserts. Did you even notice it was sans bumper? “Most people don’t realise it is missing. The inserts blend in with the nice subtle finish,” George says.

Inside, the mods are spartan and well-thought-out. The eye-popping original trim remains untouched, accentuated with a Budnik tiller attached to the Ididit column, with a Hurst shifter taking centre-stage.

I’d ask George how comfy those seats are, but the photoshoot was his first real drive of the car. “The detail Mike has done to get it driving and reliable is amazing. It starts, stops, doesn’t leak and will spin up pretty easily if the foot slips off the clutch. Apart from the paint that’s a bit over-the-top, it’s a fully functioning car,” George enthuses.

“Now I just want to put some kays on it! My boys Max and Alexi were five and six years old respectively when the car arrived from the US.

Now they’re 10 and 11, so have spent most of their lives talking about the day we get to cruise the Camaro. I’ve already been offered good money to sell it, yet I can’t envisage doing it as it’s my childhood dream that’s become a reality.” s

IT STARTS, STOPS, DOESN’T LEAK AND WILL SPIN UP PRETTY EASILY IF THE FOOT SLIPS OFF THE CLUTCH

GEORGE ANASTASIOU 1967 CAMARO RS

Colour: Lotus Nightfall Blue

POWER

Donk: Chevrolet 327ci Induction: Edelbrock Performer Air-Gap manifold, Holley 650 DP Heads: Trick Flow Fast As Cast 195 Cam: Trick Flow 284/290 Lifters, pushrods, valves, springs: Trick Flow Pistons: Mahle forged Crank: Chev small-journal forged Conrods: Scat 6in I-beam Oil pump: Moroso Sump: Moroso Comp ratio: 10.5:1 comp Fuel: PULP Ignition: MSD Fuel pump: Holley Cooling: Custom Aussie Desert Coolers radiator, two 12in fans, Davies Craig controller Exhaust: 17/8in custom headers, Pypes 2½in stainlesssteel system

GEARS

’Box: M21 four-speed Clutch: Hays Shifter: Hurst Diff: GM 10-bolt 8.5in, 3.7 Richmond gears, Truetrac, 31-spline axles

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Springs: QA1 adjustable coilovers (f), Hotchkis leaf (r) Shocks: QA1 adjustable shocks (f & r) Mods: Hotchkis sub-frame connectors and sway-bars Steering: Ididit adjustable, matching rack-and-pinion Brakes: Wilwood fourspot calipers and discs (f), GM drums (r) Master cylinder: GM

ROLLING STOCK

Rubber: Kumho; 215/40/17 (f), 255/50/17 (r) Rims: American Racing; 17x7 (f), 17x9 (r)

THANKS

My partner Lauretta and our boys Max and Alexi – thanks for letting me lose myself in this project; Mike McCrudden, Glenlyon Motors; Donnie, Wellco Engine Reconditioning; Rob & Sharee Rowe, Superior Panel Services; Frank Campisi, Avanti Auto Electrics; Miles Johnston, Thunder Road