"We could make an argument that it's more environmentally correct to rebuild an old car rather than buy a new one— and we intend to prove that with our Crusher Camaro." That's what we wrote when we first introduced this '67 Camaro in the Feb. '94 issue. That's prophetic considering today's events, but government-encouraged car crushing was a problem in the '90s, too. Back then it was not a handout program but a scam wherein California oil companies could destroy old cars in exchange for smog credits that gave them permission to pollute more from their refineries.
Our retaliation was glorious, so bear with us as we relive it once more. In late 1993, HOT ROD staffers Kinnan and Freiburger went to a Chevron crusher-car collection day, bought a '67 Camaro from the second owner for $700, then had it smogged at a Chevron station to prove that it was not a polluter. It passed by a wide margin, and the six-cylinder and Pow-erglide got 26 mpg, proving the program bogus.
Throughout 1995, Kinnan led the project to revamp the car with a smog-friendly, 420hp, 406ci engine that was even tested at EPA labs. The black-and-white photo shows the car in the process of restoration, and the color reveals what it looked like when it was finished the first time. It traveled on the first Power Tour* and then was very nearly given away in a corporate subscription-drive sweepstakes. A law
yer somewhere stopped that, fearing the company's giving away a modified car.
The Crusher sat until 2003, when then-editor Ro McGonegal had the car reworked with an all-aluminum 632. That engine vanished in 2004, and the car sat untouched until 2007, when we installed an HT383 crate engine.
This month, on page 68, the Crusher is reborn yet again. This time, it has nothing to do with saving the Earth.
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