Mitchell Rando’s first automotive love was an HZ Holden ute, and he’s had a few of them over the years, including one he’s building for Drag Challenge with a turbo LS. His dad turned him onto EHs, too, and Mitchell eventually ended up with a pretty tidy V8-powered one. It’s been off the road for almost 10 years now getting a complete rebuild, and Mitchell got sick of not having something cool to cruise around in, so he did what any proper street machiner would and bought another project.
First published in the October 2023 issue of Street Machine
Sleek indeed. The custom triple-pearl blue pops in all light conditions, and those trademark ’69 Camaro speed lines have been made razor-sharp by the team at Aise Restorations. Thanks to the Detroit Speed mini-tub kit, the 20×12 Intros with 325/30R20 tyres sit perfectly under the back, while the narrowed 9in sits on offset leaf springs with CalTracs
“I bought the Camaro off a mate, Dave Preedy, who has had some pretty cool cars over the years, including a really nice orange Camaro,” Mitchell begins. “Then he brought in this Camaro with all-new panels and all the components brand new in a container, unassembled. He did a right-hand-drive conversion but never quite got it finished, and then it went to Melbourne to get the body gapped. That didn’t get done, so it sat on the hoist in Dave’s workshop for almost eight years.”
While chatting with Dave one day, Mitchell rued the fact that he hadn’t bought the former’s old orange Camaro: “Dave said, ‘I’ll sell you the primered one if you want.’ That’s where it all started.”
A Heidts front subframe with Pro-G control arms gets the Camaro nice and low. Brakes are 13in drilled rotors up front and 11in counterparts out back, clamped by six- and four-piston Wilwood calipers respectively. The colour-coded bumper and RS grille package complements the sleek look of the rest of the car perfectly, while the front spoiler and wheel centres were painted the same grey as the stripes
Amazingly, once Mitchell got his hands on the Camaro, the build was done in just two years. It had pretty good bones to start with – there was no rust as Dave had bought all-new panels as well as all of the chrome work for the car – but unlike many builds, everything just seemed to line up and there weren’t any delays getting work done.
Mitchell still had plenty to do though, as he planned to take the car in a completely different direction. Dave’s plan had been chromed bumpers and 15-inch wheels for more of a tough streeter look, but Mitchell wanted to build a pro tourer. “I bought the RS front, painted the bumpers and got the 20-inch wheels,” he says.
While many US shops will put a full chassis underneath Camaros – and any other unibody muscle car – it’s tricky to get away with that in Western Australia without going through the ICV (Individually Constructed Vehicle) process, so Mitchell has connected the Heidts front subframe and the Detroit Speed & Engineering rear end with welded-in chassis connectors.
As you would expect, there are some pretty decent brakes tucked behind the 20×9 and 20×12 Intro ID350 rims, with 13-inch Wilwood rotors and six-spot calipers up front and 11-inch rotors with four-spot calipers bolted to the nine-inch out back. Of course, none of that is worth a damn if you don’t have anything to grip the road when you jump on the stop pedal, but Mitchell’s Camaro definitely comes to the party with 255/35R20 and 325/30R20 Continental rubber.
They also help in the go department when Mitchell tries to get 520hp to the ground courtesy of the stroked 408ci LS in the engine bay. The mill has been nicely detailed and topped with a very cool twin-throttlebody Edelbrock Cross-Ram intake. “I just wanted to run something a bit different, and not many people use them,” says Mitch of the intake. “I thought the performance would be shit, but it performs pretty well and looks pretty different from a standard engine bay. It makes it look like it’s got a bit more going on.”
But while the engine looks pretty flash on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts. A K1 forged crank, X2 H-beam rods, CP Bullet pistons and a Cam Motion 244/256 bumpstick make for a stout and reliable naturally aspirated combo. All that grunt goes back through a built 4L80 with a Compushift controller, a 3500rpm TCI billet converter, and finally to the nine-inch that came with the Detroit Speed rear-end package.
The 408ci stroker LS is topped with an Edelbrock Cross-Ram intake and twin drive-by-wire throttlebodies. With some simple paint detailing to match the body and stripes, it’s a very tidy look. Pacemaker 17/8in headers for an HQ were modified to suit the Camaro, while the CPP master cylinder gets assistance from a Hydro-Boost system to clamp those big Wilwood calipers
The interior is a pretty luxurious environment. While the car has been designed and built to go fast, stop smartly and go around corners, that doesn’t mean Mitch had to give up all the creature comforts. There’s a set of Recaro SR3 seats trimmed by Phil Wall at Old Skool Custom Trimming, integrated air conditioning, a custom-built console housing the Alpine iLX-F309E touchscreen audio system, and a dash full of Auto Meter gauges.
When it comes to muscle cars, and especially pro tourers, many people favour bright and bold colours – your reds, yellows and oranges. The triple-layered pearl blue on Mitchell’s Camaro is a little more subtle than that, but it still pops in just about any lighting situation. The gorgeous hue also covers the bumpers, and it’s broken up by grey stripes colour-matched to the wheel centres.
All in all, this sounds like a near-perfect street machine to us, but Mitchell has plans afoot. “I’ve got a new motor about to go in,” he says. “[The current motor] was built for boost, so it’s going into the ute. Then I’m going back to an aluminium block for weight, but it will get a bigger cam, AFR heads, a bit more compression and have the same stroker kit. It will look the same but should perform a bit different.”
Well, everyone better hope that Mitchell doesn’t go for Motorvation Grand Champ again next year, because it sounds like this Camaro will be even quicker in the driving events!
The interior has been modernised slightly but still retains most of the Camaro DNA from 1969. Auto Meter gauges keep an eye on the engine, while an Alpine iLX-F309E audio-visual system adds some current tech
After being crowned Motorvation 2023 Grand Champ, Mitchell celebrated in true street machiner style, smoking up those expensive Continental tyres, chucking a doughnut and then peeling out of the Snakepit.
And unlike many people who would have driven their cars onto a trailer to get them home, Mitchell capped off a great weekend by shoving his Grand Champ trophy in the Camaro’s back seat and driving out the gate!
1969 CHEVROLET CAMARO SS
|Sikkens custom triple-pearl blue/Mazda grey stripes
|408ci LS stroker
|Edelbrock Cross-Ram, twin GM drive-by-wire throttlebodies
|GM E38 with Torque Rush Performance X2 twin-throttle controller
|AFR Mongoose LS3
|2.165in (in), 1.600in (ex)
|Cam Motion 244/256
|K1 forged 4.00in
|Custom aluminium with Spal fans
|4L80E with Compushift controller
|TCI 3500rpm stall
|Detroit Speed & Engineering 9in, Truetrac, 31-spline axles
|Heidts subframe, rack-and-pinion steering, billet adjustable coil-overs
|Billet adjustable coil-overs
|Wilwood 13in discs and six-piston calipers (f), Wilwood 11in discs and four-piston calipers (r)
|Intro ID350 Exposed; 20×9 (f), 20×12 (r)
|Continental; 255/35R20 (f), 325/30R20 (r)
Tim Woodward at Derby Electrical; Lea Welch at Reveng Motorsport; Rob Frahn for the engine loom and ECU set-up; Simon, Ben and Rodney for the panel and paint; Phil Wall at Old Skool Custom Trimming; Chis Robson at Robson Performance; Applied Automotive and Brett McMillan; Shannon at Tune Corp; Adam Spiteri at Cronic Customs.