Story: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography: William Stern
Scoring a spot for your car at SEMA is an admirable accomplishment—it’s certainly on every custom-car guy’s bucket list. But let’s face it: Being wedged between a bagged mini-truck and a matte-wrapped Bimmer outside next to that horrendous taxi line and being featured in a top-tier booth in the performance hall are completely different animals. This past year at SEMA, Ultimate Auto of Orlando finally got their opportunity to hit the big stage, and they left owning a piece of it with their Ultimate ’67 Camaro.
Roughly two years ago, SEMA aspirations were the furthest from anyone’s mind at Ultimate Auto. They merely had a VIP client yearning to jump into the muscle-car game. “We do mostly exotics for him,” explains UA owner and head honcho Joe Labon. “He’s always been into muscle cars, and when he saw the green Camaro [RIDES July/August 2012] we did, it got him excited to do a Camaro build himself.” As all projects tend to do, the Camaro evolved into something grander than initially anticipated. Never losing sight of their original initiative—taking care of a good customer—UA also seized the opportunity to prove to the custom-car world they were a legit contender and could compete on the world’s biggest stage.
Roughly four months before SEMA 2013, Joe was contacted by the guys at BASF in regards to a spot in their booth. To put this type of opportunity into perspective, the BASF booth is a coveted slot typically filled by builds from Chip Foose and other top builders. On top of that, it’s quite unheard of for a ride with larger wheels and a trunk full of audio to be basking under the green BASF banner at SEMA.
Once Joe and the UA team had committed to the deadline, they hunkered down for a strenuous final stretch. To quantify the actual effort put forth, UA has a 50,000-square-foot facility (an old Pontiac dealership) where they do everything in-house. And as opposed to other “one-stop shops,” there are no weak links in the chains, something they certainly take pride in. For the Camaro, at one point or another, every single member of the 25-person UA team had some sort of involvement, and for the last few months, a 15-man crew stayed on the car nonstop, putting in 100-hour workweeks.
What that boils down to is roughly 13,000 man-hours and a boatload of cash. The list of modifications is extensive and mind-boggling; we’d need another 10 pages to give the build its justice. That being said, the moral of the story is that virtually every part of this sexy ’67 has been handcrafted in-house at Ultimate Auto—and it shows.
What makes this captivating Camaro so appealing varies from person to person. The obvious attention grabber is that this ’67 is the closest to a 2013 Camaro as you can possibly get without actually purchasing one off the lot. From the 2013 Camaro’s LS9 up front to the 2013 Camaro interior, including working gauges and electronic system, you could almost fool someone into thinking it’s some sort of retro-fitted shell placed over a fifth-generation ’Maro. Beyond the components that smack you in the face, additions like the modest widebody, Frenched-in bumpers and real carbon-fiber roof are enough to make even the biggest critic bow down.
Spec The Technique:
Year/Make/Model: 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
Performance: 700 HP GM Performance supercharged LS9; Tremec T-56 transmission; custom Borla exhaust system; Mast Motorsports engine management system; Detroit Speed complete front sub frame with coil over suspension and rack and pinion steering, QuadraLink rear suspension, serpentine belt system; Baer brakes
Exterior: BASF R-M Carizzma “Ruthless Red”; hand-laid carbon fiber accents, hand-fabricated, widened rear fenders; sectioned and recessed bumpers; new front valance and carbon fiber splitter; custom grille; LED headlights; ‘67-style gas filler and inverted ‘69 Camaro taillights; carbon fiber roof, rear diffuser
Interior: Leather and suede interior; carbon fiber accents; 2013 Camaro steering wheel, center console, dashboard, and front seats; hand-fabricated composite door panels wrapped in Italian leather to mimic the look of the 2013 Camaro with ‘67 Camaro proportions
Ice: Pioneer AVIC-Z150BH head unit; JL Audio 600/4 amplifier, 1000/1 amplifier, ZR650 speakers in front doors, ZR525 speakers in rear pillars, two 10-inch W3v3 subwoofers
Wheels/Tires: Vellano VKS wheels 20×9-inch front, 21×13-inch rear; Pirelli PZero tires, 265/30/20 front, 355/25/21 rear