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						East Bay 1969 Tenacity Camaro 1


By Steve Temple



Back in the late-Sixties, American cars were all about quick acceleration and sexy sheet metal. Handling? Not so much. If you wanted to turn and stop, the Europeans were way ahead of things back then. They emphasized roadcourse capability over dragstrip dominance.

What if you want your cake and eat it too? Why not build a  world-class Camaro that’s competitive on both sides of The Pond?

That’s exactly what Dave Brandt did with his ’69. “I’ve always been a European car guy,” he admits. While having an appreciation for foreign exotics, he didn’t want to betray his all-American roots, either. So he had Steve Keefer of East Bay Muscle Cars put a staggering array of continental refinements into a Detroit-bred, mean-streets machine, so that it would drive as good as it looks.

Easier said than done, of course, especially when you know that when he purchased this 396, 4-speed Camaro, it was “in an absolute shambles,” Brandt notes. Even so, Keefer took it to an unprecedented level of detail work, with the fit and finish of this motorized masterpiece. It’s subtle and sensational at the same time, with a conservative titanium color scheme.

That approach fits right in with Brandt’s profession as a model for prominent men’s clothing stores, giving him a discerning eye for style and attention to detail. Considering all the performance upgrades underneath, the visual impact of Tenacity (the car’s moniker) is like a well-muscled thug dressed up in a fitted gray flannel suit. You can both dress it up and take it out for a ground-pounding ride.

This thrilling yet dignified experience comes courtesy of a 630hp LS3, a Mast Motorsports’s Black Label SS 6.8L. Balanced and blueprinted, this aluminum LS3 spins a forged Callies crank with H-beam rods and Mahle pistons. The Mast heads are 12-degree CNC ported with ARP bolts and nitrided beehive valve springs. A Hogan’s aluminum intake employs GM’s shorty injectors and 60mm throttle body, along with a Bosch MAP sensor. East Bay Muscle Cars fabricated the custom airbox.

Set back eight inches for an exact 50/50 weight distribution, this mill is mated with a Tremec T-56 Magnum six-speed that funnels all the power to a quick-change Winters rearend with 4:12 Posi gears.

That’s all well and good for a solid punch off the line, but how about the handling? To give the Camaro a truly serious suspension, Keefer customized an Art Morrison MaxG chassis, Designed with FEA (finite element analysis), the front clip is markedly stiffer yet significantly lighter than the bulky OEM unit. It boasts reduced unsprung weight, forged aluminum C6 Corvette control arms, a shortened front-view swing arm, modified caster, and adjustable coil-over shocks. In the rear is a three-link setup with a Watts linkage, all of which makes for a tenacious grip when carving corners, while Exotic Air lifters ensure a glove-soft ride.

All these performance upgrades required a commensurate treatment to the body and cockpit as well. The Camaro’s classic shape was massaged in numerous areas, with a three-inch body drop, custom wheel tubs, wider A-pillars, modified spoiler and rear diffuser, and a unique fuel filler in the center panel. The turn signals flash sequentially, flagging it as a truly unique creation. The doors, quarter panels, front spoiler and valence were all extended as well. Exterior obstructions, such as door handles and drip rails, were shaved off, for a look as smooth as the fit of custom-tailored Italian suit. 

As for the interior, it too received a complete going-over, using a ’67 Camaro dash extended four inches, plus a Cadillac CTS console. Numerous panels were custom molded, and the Recaro seats modifed as well.

All told, “The concept was to incorporate influences from the exotic car world without losing the iconic ‘69 Camaro features,” notes East Bay’s Keefer. “We wanted it to stand out, but at the same time to give it a more refined euro look, kind of a Ferrari-meets-Camaro blend.”

So every square inch of this car received some personal attention and exotic enhancement. Exactly the level of a persistence and passion that you’d expect from a Camaro called Tenacity.


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Camaro Mast Motorsports