Article and photos by Larry Crain
There are many ways to determine a level of quality, whether it is winning an event or by completing a task at higher level than anyone else. This is usually called a “gold place” finish. Setting this mark of accomplishment can be called a “gold standard” for those that hope to follow what you did. David Kountz, long time hot rodder and race car driver of Mobile, Alabama, has set a gold standard in the Pro-Touring community with his 1970 Camaro.
This Camaro was an original big block SS production vehicle that David bought out of California and was transformed over a year and a half into what you see now. The car was purchased with the intention of building it as a serious autocross competitor. However, after the build was finished, the decision was made to show it and drive it, but not in competition. Proving this point David took the Camaro on the 2016 Hot Rod Power Tour and proved that this car was not a trailer queen.
The job of turning a factory-built 1970 big block Camaro into an up-to-date autocross worthy car was handled by Metal Brothers Hot Rods of Theodore, Alabama. Starting with a solid car that was still carrying the original gold paint job and black vinyl top made the job a lot easier than most. The body was stripped bare and numerous modifications made to accommodate the necessary upgrades that would make the car ready for autocross competition. Some of the many changes included installing larger rear wheel tubs and dropped floor pans. Once the body was ready, it was painted Autumn Gold using the PPG base coat clear coat system.
The interior of the car leaves no doubt that it is ready for business starting with the 8 point roll cage. The rest of the interior is just as serious with a Sparco 5 point seat harness and a pair of Sparco bucket seats. Just because the car is mean as hell doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable, so the car does have features like an a/c system, power windows, tilt steering column and black, ultra-leather covering the seats.
The factory front and rear suspension has been replaced with components from Detroit Speed that can handle any autocross track or road that David can throw at them. The factory big block and transmission have been changed out for the killer combo of a GM Performance LS 427 and a 6-speed transmission from Bowler Transmission. The bad ass 427 is made even meaner with upgrades like the Comp Cam LSXR 102mm intake manifold. The only non-GM performance part in the drivetrain is the hard to beat Ford 9-inch rear end equipped with 3:42 gears. This Camaro now runs a complete Wilwood brake system which is a must on any performance hot rod, and even more so when building a car for autocross. The killer tire and wheel combination on the car is Fikse 18x10 wheels on the front mounted with BF Goodrich 295-35ZR-18 and Fikse 18x12 wheels on the rear mounted with 335-30ZR-18.
When Metal Brothers had finished the project, David had a car that still retained the 1970 Camaro look but was mechanically up to date and ready for whatever he decided to do with it. So far, the car has been chosen as a PPG Dream Car, been featured in Chevy High Performance, chosen by Chevy High Performance as one of the 10 Baddest Rides of 2016, and, oh yeah, it was in ScottieDTV’s Dirty Dozen at the 2017 Spring Pigeon Forge Rod Run.
Manufacturers and shops used in the building of this vehicle.