Features

CARDINAL CAMARO – 1967 Chevrolet Camaro

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GM Scene Magazine®

Erik & Paige Nejman's 1967 Camaro

In the Midwest city of Louisville, a vintage 1967 Camaro sat silently in Richard Palmer’s garage, a relic from the past that held the memories of a family. This Camaro, a base model with a 6-cylinder engine and a 3-speed manual transmission, was more than just a car. It was a time capsule of moments, a piece of history that connected generations.

Richard, Paige Nejman’s father, had purchased the Camaro brand new from the Jim Booher Chevrolet dealership in Louisville. It was the family’s extra car, driven often but always carefully stored in the garage. The champagne brown color reflected the era it came from, a time when muscle cars were emerging as icons of the American road.

With 50,000 miles on the odometer the car remained stationary as there was less need to take it out for joy rides. However, it was saved in the garage as it wasn’t just any car; it was a first-year Camaro, and it held sentimental value beyond measure. This car had witnessed Paige’s first moments in the world, carrying her home from the hospital on her first ride. It was also the vehicle she learned to drive on, an instrument that shaped her early experiences on the road.

Fast forward to the summer of 2019, and Erik, Paige’s husband, found himself in Richard’s garage with a buddy. The plan was to pull the Camaro out of the garage and transport it to Erik’s lake house in New Buffalo, their summer retreat from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Little did they know that this decision would set off a chain of events that would transform the vintage Camaro into a show-stopping masterpiece.

In 2020, tragedy struck when Richard passed away, leaving behind the Camaro as a legacy. Around the same time, Erik grew inspiration by the TV show “Bitchin’ Rides” during the pandemic and decided to take on the challenge of restoring the Camaro. His vision was ambitious, going beyond the capabilities of the original model.

Erik’s dream took root in the driveway of their lake house when a neighbor’s curiosity sparked a conversation. While talking about it, the neighbor asked if Rocky was going to be working on it. That’s when Erik discovered the talents of Rocky Troxell from US 12 Speed and Custom, which is located close to the lake house.

Unsure of the project’s direction initially, Erik was guided by Rocky’s expertise and embarked on a gradual but awe-inspiring rebuild. The restoration involved a meticulous process of repairing the body, addressing rust issues, and adding Detroit Speed tubs for larger wheels. The exterior received a sleek makeover with shaved drip rails, modified bumpers, and a vibrant Glasurit/BASF Devine Red paint job.

Pushing things further, the suspension underwent a complete makeover, featuring Belltech spindles, Performance Online control arms, rear modified mono leaf springs, CalTracs rear traction bars and QA1 coil-overs. Making the most of the new parts, a Chevrolet Performance 6.2L LS3 Connect and Cruise GM crate engine found its new home, paired with a TREMEC TKO 600 6-speed transmission and a rebuilt 12-bolt rear end.

Inside, the dash was upgraded, and the interior received TMI seats, side panels, and a custom sound system that features Memphis Audio equipment. The final touch was a set of Billet Specialties Win Lite (front) and Hydro (rear) wheels along with a custom grille, completing the Cardinal Camaro’s stunning transformation.

After 2 1/2 years of dedication and hard work, the Nejman family finally had the chance to enjoy their meticulously restored ride. The Cardinal Camaro also made its debut at the 2023 SEMA Show, earning special recognition and even securing the TMI Products Trim award for Best Full Interior.

Erik and Paige were not only pleased with the outcome but grateful for Rocky’s fair and upfront approach throughout the entire process. The Camaro had evolved from a simple family car to a symbol of resilience, craftsmanship, and the enduring bond between generations.

GM Scene Magazine®