The eagle has landed…then it took off again. Phase 3 begin

John Coffey of BetaMotorsports wrapped up his work a few weeks ago.  I’ve been a bit busy with other things, so super stud man Ken Motonishi went and picked up the car for me.

The girlfriend was a bit disappointed as I rolled it back into the garage – “It looks the same as when it left!?”

To some extent she’s right, the car looks the same cosmetically.  What John did, was build a solid chassis and suspension foundation underneath the body – one I can build upon, and tune to work the way I want it to.   There were a few themes governing his work:

  • Provide adjustability to every aspect of the suspension.  The adjustability should allow for very fine increments of change, while also offering a wide enough range of adjustment to allow for a satisfactory setting in any of the situations the car might find itself in.
  • Minimize weight gain through Steelitis.  Every net addition would have to work hard to justify its existence.
  • Do all this while fully complying with the SCCA Street Touring rules

Here’s a couple pictures of the front end as it sat-

With this, the fabrication phase is complete, and phase 3, body and paint, can begin.

For this portion of the project, Pat Smith, a fellow member on who owns a paint shop in nearby Ramona, will be doing the work.  Pat has done some really great work on classic Camaros and Mustangs, and is excited to be a part of this project.  I inquired with a couple different well-known shops in town, and Pat offered not only the best value, but also presented just the right sort of spirit and attitude I look for when looking for help.

Now when it comes to aesthetics, I have practically zero ability and am not afraid to admit so.  It is time to decide what color things should be on the car, and in so doing I intend to plagiarize to the greatest extent possible from the car that inspired this project.  I figure there’s enough trails blazed in other aspects of the car, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here.  Besides, there is a singular look to these cars that evokes the awe in me.  That’ll be the look we aim for.

Pat picked the car up last Saturday, and as of last night, had already made some good progress:

He got the front and rear suspension removed, and the car mounted up on the rotisserie.  That’s one advantage of going with somebody that’s done several of these cars before – they know them well, and have custom-made tools like the Camaro rotisserie, to aid in the job.

The car will get all its yucky red paint removed, then be thoroughly cleaned and inspected.  As best we can tell the chassis appears practically rust-free, the paint removal this week will tell us for certain.  From there it’s on to primer and panel fitment, and finally, paint.  When it comes home from this phase, it is sure to look much much different!

I know a lot of people really like this phase of projects, so I’ll keep the pics coming as best I can.  Getting a car to look good, and the panels to fit, is all voodoo and black magic, so I won’t have too much commentary to add.   I will probably sort out the steering and knuckle situation while the car is being painted, so it can get rolled out of the shop with clean new Z28-spec stuff in place instead of the funky manual stuff on it now.


  1. Jason

    When is the cage going in?


    1. I thought a lot about a roll bar or cage. The problem with the ST category, is it does not allow a welded-in roll cage. I could weld-in a 4-point roll bar, but if I want to go over 4 points, it has to be bolted in. I figured that the penalty of the weight, wouldn’t be worth the gain from the chassis stiffness. The guys running in Prepared category, or even the Trans-Am cars, all had a minimum weight they had to meet – I don’t have a minimum weight, so the lighter I can make the car, the better. I’m hoping to get a small portion of the benefit with the subframe connectors, which I can unbolt if I don’t think they’re helping.

      In the Street Touring category I’ll be running street tires, hoping that keeps the loads on the chassis away from cracksville.. 🙂

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