It’s hard to not like the classic lines of the early Chevrolet Camaro. Their popularity has been at an all-time high since the beginning of the musclecar craze. Matt Cron is smitten with the Camaro, and when he found this second-gen version accompanied with a box of parts, he knew he had to have it.
When Matt purchased the car, under the hood was a small-block V8, but he knew that wanted something a little different. When Matt began working on his ’70 Camaro several years ago, he didn’t notice many second-generation models getting treated to an LS power plant swap. Since he was looking to build the ultimate driver, he made the choice to use that modern technology to his advantage. It wasn’t long before he located an LQ9 6.0-liter engine from an ’06 Escalade and a 4L65E transmission. Matt contacted his friend Brad Dixon at American Iron Speed Shop in Loomis, California, who had already done a few LS swaps of this kind. Overall, the swap was pretty straight forward.
Before the engine was situated between the frame rails, it was also treated to a Brian Tooley Stage III camshaft with .553/.553-inch lift, and 218/224-degrees of duration. A Professional Products Typhoon intake directs the air in, while ceramic-coated Hooker Headers direct the spent gasses out through the Borla Pro XS Mufflers.
the car now handles like it’s on rails-Matt Cron
Matt loves the second-generation Camaro, but wanted increased reliability and drivability over the stock configuration. That included more than simply swapping engines. Matt also upgraded the suspension with Classic Performance Products tubular control arms, lowered coil springs from Summit Racing, and 1 1/2-inch-drop Hotchkis rear leaf springs to give the car that perfect stance. A stiffer set of anti-sway bars makes sure that the Camaro keeps its composure when turning. Matt smiled when he said, “The car handles like it’s on rails.”
While the build was underway, he upgraded the braking system with a complete assembly from The Right Stuff Detailing. With the additional performance residing under the hood of Matt’s Camaro, having a braking system that is just as sufficient at pulling the car back from hyper-speeds gives Matt comfort when driving.
With so many modifications going on, it’s worth noting that Matt knows when to keep some original character as well. The color is 1970 Cortez Silver with the accent stripe color coming from a 2014 Cyber Gray Corvette. A set of US Mags Rambler wheels finish out the package with a modern touch on a vintage theme.
We caught up with Matt at the Goodguys event in Pleasanton, but he’s also attended various Cars & Coffee events as well as Hot August Nights in Reno. Matt reports that his Camaro delivers a respectable 16 to 17 mpg when driving around town, and even with the 3.73 rear gears, he can siphon out 20 mpg when on the highway, thanks to the overdrive hidden deep within the automatic transmission. That is exactly what Matt was going for when he started work on his Camaro. His stance on enjoying the car by driving it is best summed up when he says, “trailers are for boats!”