Restoring a 1967 Chevy Camaro
Fifteen years ago, Larry Peotter, owner of Larry’s Mechanical Automotive in Summit, N.J., and his father, Timothy, began restoring a 1967 Chevy Camaro that is still racing today.
From a young age, Peotter remembers watching his father work on cars. Timothy promised that once he had enough time and money, they would restore a car together and race on the weekends. Having always been a fan of 1967 Camaros, Timothy didn’t hesitate when one became available to fix. Peotter was only 10 years old when his father bought what would be the first of many father-son projects (the two have since restored four other 1967 Camaros).
The car was in decent condition when it first came to them, but they wanted to make sure it was in the best shape possible for competitive racing. It took about a year from when they started working on the car before it was ready to be raced. The car had a full interior with most of the original parts still in it, and the Peotters installed a 454ci crate motor. Although there were tiny arguments along the way, the process of working together flowed smoothly. The first race that the car entered was with Timothy behind the wheel. Since beginning work on the car 15 years ago, the father-son duo continued to tinker with that first project throughout the years to improve the car’s speed.
Five years later, the car was sent to a race shop to get back-halfed and have a four-link suspension installed. The doors, fenders and hood were all changed to fiberglass to lighten up the car. It wasn’t raced competitively until about five years later, when a few other key changes were made. The car was painted black and the front suspension was changed to a tubular front end with struts to lighten the car up even more. After these updates, the car entered the world of competitive racing.
The Camaro races in both Super Gas (9.9-second index) and Super Street (10.9-second index) quarter mile races. It has competed in races throughout the Northeast. Since its first time at the local track, the car has seen a number of different competitions and drivers, including Peotter, his father and a family friend. The car won a number of different races with Peotter’s friend driving in 2010, including a few divisional titles and the championship for Division 1 overall in Super Street.
The car, 15 years in the making, has created lifelong memories for Peotter and is a possession he will always cherish. His father passed away three years ago, leaving behind many memories, including the first restoration they ever performed together. “I will hold onto the car forever,” Peotter says.