Russ J’s 1970 Camaro

Built From The Ground Up

Russ J’s 1970 Camaro

Russ traded a fully dressed Kawasaki 900 Z1, which was in good working order straight across for the 1970 Camaro, which came with no motor. But he did receive the M22 4 Speed. This was in 1978. He was racing motorcycles but the moment he got the car, he started racing it.

Since he was young and didn’t have a lot of money he and his buddies built grenade motors, and they did not last long. He could not afford the big block motors, so they built small blocks. He tried many small blocks: 350, 327, 400, and 377 (de-stroked 400).

He loved driving and racing the 1970 Camaro with the 4 speed, but he blew them up. Both M22 and Borg Warner Super T-10. He changed to an automatic T400 reverse pattern manual shifting. He had NOS, and no timing retard was used. He also had high compression in the 12:1 and 13:1. Also, he would pump gas with 10.4:1 compression.

In 1984 another engine blew up, and a career was calling. So he garaged the car from 1984 to 2011. In 2011 he decided to get the car on the road and paid for his first professionally built engine. An aluminum rod 377 sbc, 10.4:1. It ran amazing until he tried to put an oil cooler and remote oil filter. Long story short the cam went bad shortly thereafter.

He pulled the motor and had the same builder repair the motor but this time with steel rods, and changed the cam to hydraulic. He hurt this motor when he towed it to Colorado from CA and drove it through freezing mountains in the dead of winter. He tried to get it off the trailer by starting it when completely frozen. He was using 50 weight oil and starting a frozen motor hurt the cam or a lifter. The car did not immediately go bad it took a few weeks. That 377 is for sale in parts now.

He moved on and bought a Skip White crate motor: Dart block with sbc with AFR heads and 950 Holley, 434ci; 4.11:1 gearing with 630hp. It is the 10th motor and runs on 20/50 oil. He loves this motor. He took off the NOS and now just runs it with the Holley 950. The 1970 Camaro is running and racing well. No more oil cooler. He has put 3 or more transmissions and 10 motors in the car since 1978.

The 1970 Camaro sat broken for 25 years but runs great now. He doesn’t race it as much as he used to. He wants to preserve it more than he did back in the day. He’s had the car for 43 years and is very glad he never sold it.

He plans to race it a little but not as he used to. Attend car shows as well but has not rebuilt the interior as of yet.

"Well my car is an SS396 originally. So I gravitated to the Ground Up website. I can find many parts I need."

-Russ J

Ground Up Parts Featured In This Build

1969-1972 Camaro SS Fender Emblems

Part #: TQ-69SS
1969-72 camaro ss fender emblem


Best Price Available

1970-1974 Camaro Door Handle Set

Part #: MEH-252K
1970 Camaro Door Handles


You Save: 10%

1970-1973 Camaro RS Bumper Kit Front and Rear

Part #: MKY-70RK


You Save: 10%

1969-1971 Camaro SS Grille Emblem

Part #: TG-921


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