Billy Edwards • Columbus, NC
By Ron Wolf
Photography by Pete Sommers
Imagine you’re driving down Highway 74 in Columbus, NC one fine day and you see this cool Camaro with a huge hood scoop coming toward you. You think to yourself, “What a nicely tricked-out, blown ’69.” But as the car passes by you mutter, “That was a ’67, not a ’69.” While your mind is trying to sort out how you misidentified the Camaro from the front and then the side, you check your rearview mirror and see the back end of a ’70 Camaro driving away! About this time, you’re starting to think about alien control of your mind. So in order to preserve your sanity, you whip a quick U-turn and catch up to the Camaro at the next traffic light. The owner, Billy Edwards, assures you that your mind is sound and that his really cool Camaro is actually a hybrid of ’67, ’68, ’69 and ’70 body panels and trim parts!
The above is based on a true story...actually several such similar stories that Billy Edwards has experienced while driving his 1st-2nd Generation Camaro. He says he really enjoys the confused looks on the faces of Camaro buffs he encounters while cruising around his hometown of Columbus.
This car’s rebirth story began in 2002. Although he has built other cars, Billy wasn’t actually looking for another project when he found this one. While rummaging around in the local junkyard for some vintage parts that he likes to collect for future use, he came across a ’67 Camaro. The car needed almost a completely new skin; rust had done its job on the body while being stored outdoors all its life. Although Billy couldn’t say for sure what had happened to the Camaro until he found it, his experience in how cars rust told him that it had probably been a northern car driven on salty winter roads; the VIN showed it had been built in Detroit.
On the way back home from the junkyard with the Camaro, Billy’s plan was to build a drag car. However, as work progressed and friends commented favorably on what he was doing with replaced body panels, the project gradually moved away from a drag car to a modified street car. Evolution of the Camaro was slow over a three-year period because Billy is disabled and funds for lots of new parts were quite limited. In fact, friends donated many parts to help him complete the project. In a way, his project was a lot like a pot luck dinner where everybody brings a little something to the table.
[envira-gallery id="1882"]So Billy’s Camaro ended up as a base ’67 with a ’69 grille set in ’68 front fenders which are mated to ’69 quarter panels ending up joined to ’70 rear panels. He also used 2000 Camaro door handles and seats in the interior, which qualifies it to be called a 1st, 2nd, 4th Gen car. Other mods include shaved roof rails, wipers and heater box and a custom dash panel. That hood scoop I mentioned in the beginning of this story is home to a 1071 GMC blower on top of two fours jamming air and fuel into a 427 big block motor producing 650+ horsepower. That power is controlled by a Borg Warner T-10 transmission and sent to a stock 12-bolt rear end that Billy narrowed four inches. He also fabricated the 3-1/2 inch exhaust pipes himself and mated them to Flowmaster mufflers. The net result is a beautiful car built entirely in a home garage with ingenuity and creativity on a scratch budget. It’s an accomplishment we can all admire.
Billy said, “My car may look expensive, but it was built using all used parts that required a lot of thinking and head scratching to make it look good. My wife Joyce and I love cruising in the car, which we do a lot.”
Billy Edwards • Columbus, NC