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Author Topic: Possible '68 DANA Camaro  (Read 6930 times)
crv1943
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« on: June 09, 2009, 10:33:23 PM »

I bought a '68 Camaro coupe about 15 years ago that could be something special. It's an original SS 396 4 speed with 4 piston disc brakes and a positraction 12 bolt. It had a small block in pieces when I bought it and the transmission was not original. It was showing about 70,000 miles with nice deluxe interior and wood wheel. What started me thinking it may be special was when the seller called The console gauges the "California gauge package". I am posting 3 pictures in the hopes that somebody has seen a similar gauge setup that may give me a clue if it was built by a dealer. The car was built in Los Angeles and at the time I wasn't aware of any Super Car dealers on the west coast. Of course I soon discovered that DANA was one of the first to build 427 Camaros in '67 so that perked my interest. My car had a cowl hood installed when it was painted in the 70s or 80s so if it had DANAs fiberglass hood, it was changed at that time. The rear axle was changed to a 4:10 with a ring gear spacer, and there was a small reinforcement plate welded to the rear frame rail on the left side directly above the axle tube where they had a tendency to kink the frame and buckle the quarter panel. It has Mr. Gasket slapper bars and brackets welded on the front spring perch body brackets, possibly for frame connectors. Under the hood it had a small box with a wire running to it that looked like it may have been an early rev limiter. Any information about emblem locations could be helpful. I live in the Kansas City area and feel that Dick Harrell my have played a part in the LA car coming to this area. I have a date correct Corvette 435 horse tripower 427 engine saved for this car but don't want to use it unless I can get a clue that this probably was a DANA car. According to the timing decal on the core support it was a 325 horse car originally. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Clint
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hotrod68
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2009, 11:35:49 PM »

  Seem to recall that the Dana cars--like most others--were 396/375 cars converted with a 427 short block, using the 375hp heads and other stuff. Using 325hp heads on a 427 just doesn't sound right. But then, it was the '60s---anything could have happened! Good luck! 
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HotRod'68  1968 SS350 coupe undergoing frame-off resto/rod. 386/350/4.11s
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crv1943
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009, 01:13:45 AM »

There was a '68 Dana  found in Hawaii in late '07 or '08 that was an air conditioned 350 v/8 that had a full 427 conversion. Dana also converted Camaros and used the L71 Corvette tri power motor, which is the main reason I have kept my '68 L71 around. Dana did order cars for the 427 conversion and did order the 375 motor at times and I have seen pictures of cars with radio, heater, delete with a factory blank wood grain plate that covers the center of the dash with no holes except for maybe the ash tray. I'm pretty sure if they were to upgrade a 325 car they would do at least a 425 horse long block. I'm looking for someone that knows Dana cars enough to verify if they used Mr. Gasket traction bars or only Lakewood or if they reinforced the rear frame rail or installed a rev limiter. I don't think I will be able to document it being a Dana, but I am looking for information that they did or didn't use this part or do that procedure. It was more than likely just a street racer but it can't hurt to get any information available. Clint
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rat pack
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2009, 07:51:03 AM »

All of what you have described is just typical bolt-on parts that could have been added by anyone, and not necessarily a dealer. Not sure what a "California gauge pkg" is, but I have never seen it done by any of the west coast supercar dealers, or any for that matter. That looks more like a home-built job as dealers were not into making custom panels as they wanted to make money quickly, and not have the car sit around waiting for true "custom" work to be done. They would install the aftermarket underdash gauges from Sun, SW, Autometer, RAC, etc. using the gauge manufacturers panels to install them: 2 or 3 screws and you were done. There is only one dealer supercar that I know of that had anykind of custom gauge work and it is a 68 Motion Camaro which had the factory speedo & fuel guage replaced with a Stewart Warner speedo & tach. It was a simple swap done in probably a few hours, nothing like the panel shown in your pictures that required some serious fabrication for proper fitment. I have never heard of any reinforcing plate welded to the driver's side frame-rail for structural reasons, can you post a picture of this item? Also how about some pictures of the other items you are describing: the rev limiter, welded areas on the spring perches, the slapper bars, and maybe some overall pictures of the car. The more information you can provide the better chance that someone will be able to help you identify your car.

If you feel that Dick Harrell had a part in the car also, then you need to contact Valerie Harrell as she has a lot of new found paperwork from her dad's business, and there were two cars that were once undocumented that she found their original paperwork in the boxes. I will send you a private message with her email address .............RatPack......................


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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2009, 09:13:26 AM »

Clint, can you email me the VIN and a picture of the trim tag please? I'd like to add your car to the database. My email address is in my profile to the left.

Thanks
Ed
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CNorton
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2009, 09:14:35 AM »

Do you have a picture of the "rev limiter" box?  Is it possible that the box could have been a tach sending unit?  Such items were standard equipment inside many engine compartments during those days.  

I was pretty heavily involved with door-slammer racing during the 1960's and I can't recall a "rev-limiter" being a frequently seen piece of equipment in those days.  Those things began to be more common when the MSD line of equipment was introduced.  We went from points (which were a rev limiter in their own way), to capacitive discharge systems (pretty much "black magic" to gearheads who were used to seeing how things worked), to proprietary equipment lines (such as Accel and Mallory), to progressively more sophisticated ignition systems in the very late 1960's and early 1970's.  Hotter cars typically used magnetos in serious applications.
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crv1943
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2009, 10:33:53 AM »

I will look for the firewall box at my shop. It is a primitive looking device and very simple although it doesn't look to be very accurate. It is a set of points in a stamped steel housing. One side of the points was heat sensitive spring steel. If I remember right there was one wire hooked to it. It seemed to be like a circuit breaker to the coil. At high RPMs the voltage running through the points would be more constant and the heat generated would break the points in the box and kill the voltage to the distributor or coil. There was an adjustment screw that applied more pressure to keep the points closed longer if I remember right. I will post pics later today of some of the speed parts that are on the car. Most of these parts are the same as you and I could have bought at the local speed shop, as were the parts that Motion and Yenko used on their cars. Most of these dealers found what they liked and used the same brand on most of the cars they worked on. I am looking for the pattern of parts and modifications consistent with my Camaro. My car being built in LA I think Dana would be the only performance dealer who could have built my car. If it doesn't fit their pattern it's no big deal. So far there is no pattern. My computer is down now and my pictures are on it so I will try to post pics this afternoon. Clint   
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rat pack
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2009, 11:48:36 AM »

Dana was not the only west coast supercar builder. Bill Thomas Race Cars out of Anahiem was building them before Dana did. He also built the Nickey 427 converted cars in 67 through early 68, then he and Nickey had a parting of ways. Pictures are going to be a big help here.............RatPack......................
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crv1943
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2009, 09:08:51 PM »

I am going to post a couple of pics of the box I removed from the firewall. There is glue residue on the outside so I assume it had a decal applied that may have said what it was. Clint
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Ed Bertrand
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2009, 09:21:07 PM »

That looks like a motion detector used in car alarms. I had two (one in front and one in the back) on a 67 Camaro I had way back when.

Ed
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vtfb68
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2009, 09:44:54 PM »

Dana was swapping in 427's September 1966 mabye earlier. Peyton Cramer was a Owner and Dick Guldstrand was the head wrench. Traco and Mickey Thomson were somehow in the backround. The building was still there a few years ago. I spoke to a gentlemen about two years ago that was a salesman at dana till it closed. He was still selling cars at Thousand Oaks chevrolet but was not able to remember any details regarding the hi-perf programs.
These Dana cars seem to be the WMD's of the supercar era. If anyone has any information about these cars please share. There is some info on the net, and in old car mags from late '66. Anybody have pictures?
   VTFB68
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crv1943
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2009, 09:53:07 PM »

The motion detector sounds very plausible. I am trying to load more pics of the rear axle area but the pictures may be too small to see once I get them small enough to download. Clint
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crv1943
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2009, 10:22:03 PM »

A few pictures of the car. The Interior is all good and has nice deluxe seat belts, tinted windows all around. The trunk has been drilled for a spoiler and it had a vinyl top originally. The trunk and floor pans are all real nice and the console and dash are real good. I bought new GM quqrters and a new GM right front fender years ago. I have GM door skins and a new GM core support also. I have some nice used SS hoods if it's not a Dana Camaro. It has appliance header decal on the inner fender and a holley decal as well as a holley electric fuel pump bracket mounted in the trunk. Clint
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hotrod68
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2009, 11:32:27 PM »

   ratpack---I have a 1968 Popular Hot Rodding magazine in which they test a Bill Thomas 427 car. They proclaimed it the fastest American car that could be bought by anyone at that time--bar none. It's a fascinating article. They tweaked it from it's "base" 427 as-bought form, and got the car to run 11:30s with 2 Holley 4-barrells and a hydraulic cam. Unreal!
  crv--I also have a Pop Rod magazine in which they swapped the "new" 396 into the magazines's infamous 1967 350 car. It has that funny-looking canister on the firewall--it's a Mallory rev-limiter. Hope this helps!
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HotRod'68  1968 SS350 coupe undergoing frame-off resto/rod. 386/350/4.11s
Butternut Yellow    black standard interior
crv1943
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2009, 01:29:31 AM »

If you are serious about the Mallory rev limiter I would like to see a scan of the article. I have been reading the Yenko.com discussions daily for a couple of years and have learned more about Dana there than anywhere else. I have files of a few of the Dana cars and some articles that I have saved.  I heard some about the Bill Thomas cars but have never seen a picture or an article about any of his cars. I was thinking Bill Thomas had a connection in the Chicago or Inianapolis area. I am going to post a couple of pictures of another one of my '68s that I have awaiting a restoration. I have the history on it so I have no reason to not start on it. It's a car I bought out of Texas around '99. It's an SS RS 375 horse convertible with the console mounted AM FM 8 track stereo. I'm not sure how that will work with the 4 speed. It will need the rear floors replaced but otherwise it is pretty solid and complete. It and the one we have been discussing are both Butternut Yellow with black tops. Thanks for your efforts. Clint
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