A Race Car for the Streets
Mark Hogstad, 44, has a history with the Chevy Camaro. In his high school days, he was the owner of a 1967 Camaro, only to part ways with the car when he got married. Decades later, a Craigslist post advertising a ’67 pro-street Camaro caught Hogstad’s eye. He made an offer, but the owner didn’t bite. As luck would have it, the owner relisted the car last year, and this time, he let the car go to Hogstad for $4,500.
The Camaro had been used as a drag car in the 1980s, which was right up Hogstad’s alley. Growing up, his dad frequently built and raced street rods, a passion he passed on to Hogstad. As the owner of Cedar Diffley BP Auto Repair in Eagan, Minn., Hogstad has worked on about a dozen classic cars.
By the time he acquired the Camaro, the engine, transmission, and all of the lights were long gone. To evaluate the condition, Hogstad started by taking off the front clip and cleaning up the entire car.
“This car was in pretty good shape compared to most [restorations],” he says.
He had another car with a Chevrolet big-block engine in it, so he installed that engine in the Camaro, rebuilt the transmission tunnel and put in a turbo-hydramatic 400 transmission.
“It’s more durable, and the car was already set up for it,” he says.
He also upgraded the leaf spring suspension to a ladder bar suspension, installed front disk brakes, and converted to rack-and-pinion steering.
The interior of the car was almost completely worn out, so Hogstad replaced the cracked floor pans with a thicker aluminum, carpeted the floor, installed front and rear seats, and added all new gauges.
During its racing days, all of the vehicle’s lighting had been completely taken out. Using a Painless wiring harness kit and lights purchased from Classic Industries, Hogstad rewired all of the lighting, including the head and taillights, brake lights and turn signals.
The Camaro was already equipped with 4.80:1 gears in an Olds rear end. The car also had a tube chassis, which required no modification on Hogstad’s part. He installed new wheels and Mickey Thompson tires—fat ones out back and skinnies up front—typical of the pro-street style that was popular in the 1980s.
“They’re basically the only company that still makes those bigger tires for the street,” Hogstad says.
The 468ci engine is topped with a 750 CFM 4-barrel carburetor. The engine has a hydraulic flat tappet camshaft and makes 550 horsepower, but nearly doubles that with a 450 horsepower shot of nitrous.
All in all, Hogstad only had to put in 60 hours of work and $20,000 (including purchase price) over a six-month period to get the car up and running again. The only step left now is to repaint the car; Hogstad plans to keep the bright red, but add white rally stripes.
The car is confined to the garage during the long Minnesota winters, but once the weather gets nice, Hogstad lets it loose—and he hopes to make an appearance at a track sometime soon.
“I’ll probably take it to the drag strip to see what it will run,” he says.