Most people would have given up on this cremated Camaro, but not Joe Garcia
Fire is the most destructive force of nature, often leaving nothing but ash in its wake. It’s certainly not an element you want anywhere near your prized car as the destruction often leads to it being irreparable. This fire-damaged 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car fell victim to the flames, but it’s now being restored to its original state.
Joe Garcia bought the wrecked car from his friend Michael Lightbourn, who acquired it from an insurance company at a cutthroat price. The car was a cinder with the interior melted, the bodywork warped and bubbled, not to mention the smoke damage throughout the vehicle. Joe’s restoration isn’t finished yet, but the progress he has made is astonishing.
Considering the great job he's done, and his previous experience of car restoration, Garcia does not consider himself to be a professional at the art.
"I am no professional by all means. I’ve been doing this - I retired two and a half years ago from construction. Doing construction all my life, but all in-between I’ve worked on cars. Cars have always been a part of me."
He might not be a restorer by trade, but the work he has done on the Camaro’s numbers matching 350ci engine is near perfection. It might be hard to believe, but this 300-horsepower motor started first time with a jump. However, something that did need replacing after the fire was the rear quarter panels which were certainly on the ‘over done’ side of cooked.
Michael has a few words of advice for anyone looking to buy a cheap car to restore from insurance companies:
"You’re buying as is, there’s no guarantees. You can’t back out if you don’t want the car any more. You bid on it, you got it. 99% of the time you can’t even go look at them before. You buy them and that’s it."
He also mentions the risk of fake vehicles being advertised as something they are not. The restoration is looking great so far, and we can’t wait to see the end result.