The Crusty Camaro: Embracing Patina While Packing Modern Power

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It's not rusty, it's powerful.

In a world where pristine, showroom-condition classics are often the stars of the show, the "Crusty Camaro" stands out with its celebration of patina and impressive under-the-hood muscle. Owned by Greg Heinrich and crafted by Rodger Lee of Ironworks Speed and Kustom, this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro redefines what it means to be a restoration.

Unlike typical restoration projects that strive for perfection, Heinrich desired a vehicle that maintained its worn, lived-in look—a car with a story told through its faded paint and surface rust. This aesthetic choice wasn’t just about appearances; it was about functionality and ease. Heinrich wanted a daily driver that could handle the rigors of regular use without the constant worry of minor nicks or scratches.


Ironworks Speed and Kustom took on the challenge, embarking on a 7-month build that would transform the Camaro without stripping it of its character. The project focused on enhancing the vehicle's reliability and performance while preserving its original charm. The only significant rust issue was in the floor pans, which were promptly replaced. The suspension and drivetrain received major upgrades, including a Speedtech Performance Extreme subframe and Torque arm rear suspension, Fox coilovers, Hyperco springs, and a powerful 430 HP LS3 engine paired with a Bowler blue-printed T56 transmission.

Functionality extends to its setup with Michelin tires on all four corners, allowing for regular rotation—emphasizing the car's role as a practical vehicle. The brakes are handled by 13” Wilwood units, ensuring that the Camaro stops as well as it goes. Inside, the cabin initially restored to stock was later upgraded with Recaro seats featuring houndstooth inserts for added comfort and support during spirited drives.

The "Crusty Camaro" is not just a car; it's a part of Heinrich's life, serving as a reliable companion loaned out to friends and even used as a student driver car. With over 8,000 miles covered, including three Goodguys Road Tours, this Camaro exemplifies a successful blend of vintage charm and modern-day reliability, proving that beauty isn't always about being perfect but being passionately functional.

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