80C Main Street, Portland, CT 06480 Phone: 860-788-3424
The morning Joe Biega first contacted us here at E-Muscle, LLC, his plan was to have our shop take a look at the 1968 Camaro he’d gotten from his Dad and give him a sense of what would it would take to restore the car to excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition. Having been in storage for many years, Joe knew the car was going to require much more than a new battery and fresh gasoline, but he had no idea that while the car had been parked under a cover, mice had taken up residence in his vehicle.
After arriving at our facility, an inspection revealed the Camaro was not only in much worse shape than originally thought, but the remnants of the mouse infestation. We also discovered issues ranging from poor engine oil pressure and serious rot in the sub frame to a variety of body work related problems. As a result, Joe quickly realized the project was going to be much more involved than first expected, but it was clear he was committed to doing whatever was necessary to restore and improve the car in the high quality manner we were recommending.
With our company’s restorers busily handling everything from rebuilding the factory-original 327 cubic inch engine to installing upgrades that included; large disc brakes, Edelbrock manifold, four barrel carburetor, custom valve covers, exhaust headers, electronic ignition, power windows, Super Sport wheels and more, we also completed the major task of replacing both the corrosion-ravaged sub-frame and the differential. A set of new 3:73.1 gears were also added just to make sure the newly overhauled engine would put its increased horsepower to the ground with authority.
As work proceeded, Joe mentioned to EMC owner Brian Chaffee that his Dad, the one who had purchased the Camaro from a Chevrolet dealership back in 1968, would be traveling from his winter home to Connecticut for the Christmas holidays. Of course, Brian understood Joe very much wanted the car to be completed in time for his father’s visit, so the pace of the project was increased and a deadline was marked on our company calendar in bold letters.
Time, as always, passed quickly and with the upcoming holiday season looming large, Brian and our crew found it necessary to spend nights and weekends completing all of the mechanical work and body repairs before applying a beautiful coat of new paint.
Having a client take delivery of their freshly restored classic automobile is always an exciting occasion here at our shop and the day Joe picked up his Camaro was no exception. Beyond being delighted with the beautiful appearance of his car, he was truly amazed at how well it ran, drove and stopped. The EMC team agreed Joe was a true pleasure to work with throughout the entire project and we couldn’t wait to hear how his father reacted to seeing his vintage Camaro in better-than-new condition.
Shortly after Christmas, Joe was kind enough to give us a call and say his Dad was thrilled to see his old Camaro in such great shape. We’re grateful to Joe for allowing us to restore his beloved car and for the chance to surprise his father in such a special way. Thank you Joe for being the gentleman, friend and loyal client you are!
Given that Joe is the owner and funeral director of Biega Funeral Home in Middletown, Connecticut, Brian Chaffee took great pleasure in purchasing a “Funeral Parking Only” sign that he placed in the windshield of the Camaro before Joe picked it up from our shop. We’re all still laughing about that one!.