The Art of Restraint: LS7-Powered 1970 Z28


When you're building a custom classic car from the ground up, there's a strong temptation to go big and bold. While we certainly appreciate flashy, show-stopping builds with bright paint and aggressive bodywork, there's also something to be said for keeping it simple. For Steve, the owner of this 1970 Camaro Z28, an understated custom was exactly what he wanted from day one. The result took 10 years to achieve, and was recently featured by the YouTube channel AutotopiaLA.

Steve's LS7-Powered Z28


Rather than 1,000+ horsepower, 22-inch billet wheels, and an array of aftermarket body panels, Steve dialed everything back. Aside from a smoother carbon fiber nose, tucked bumpers, and a modified Z28-style rear spoiler, most of the body panels are stock. He even removed an L88-style hood the car came with, favoring a standard flat hood.


The dark gray paint, applied by Palmer's Customs, features a lighter gray stripe that's carried over to the firewall and the underside of the hood — places most people would never notice.


Also under the hood is an LS7 V8 with a Magnuson supercharger, studded heads, and Detroit Speed headers flowing into a full custom stainless exhaust. The setup made 720 horsepower on the dyno. Some people might chase bigger numbers, but Steve says this is more than enough to break the tires loose. It's paired with a Tremec 6-speed manual and narrowed Ford 9-inch rear end.


The Z28 rides on a full Detroit Speed suspension system finished with nickel-colored Wilwood brakes and matching 18-inch Forgeline wheels. The tires are sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 275/35R18 up front and 335/35R18 in the rear.


Great lengths were taken to keep the Z28's appearance as clean as possible. This included hiding all the wiring and fuses on a custom panel behind the backseat, and concealing the brake master cylinder behind the dash with a small access panel for adding fluid.


As for the interior, it was wrapped in burnt red leather by custom upholstery expert Albert Lara. Aftermarket bucket seats, door panels, and an original-style dash pad were all redone to match each other, and the carpet was replaced with luxurious Jaguar black carpet material. A Flaming River tilt column, Momo wheel, and Dakota Digital dash complete the custom look.


Out on the streets of LA, Shawn from AutotopiaLA remarks that the car feels planted and rides well. The custom exhaust with augers instead of traditional mufflers also gives it a nice rumble without being excessively loud. Check out the full video below:

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