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'Camaro Brothers' ride on

Fri, 23 Dec 2011

It was supposed to be a nice, mild-mannered going-to-school car that twin brothers Tom and Kent Ng would share. But it didn't take long for the Houston residents' hot-rod tendencies to get the better of them and raise the ire of their father.

"We tried to modify it immediately," Tom said. "We got headers and some Cherry Bomb Glass Packs. But Dad drove the car on Tuesdays to go bowling. When he cranked it up the first time, it went wa-bam! He was so mad. He asked me, 'What did you do to the car?' I said, 'I improved it.' "

Thus began the hot-rodding adventures of the Ng brothers, who would soon become known as the "Camaro Brothers" by their pack of car-crazed high school buddies. That 1969 Camaro, bought in 1977 with 60,000 miles for $1,200 from the original owner, was quickly returned to its stock configuration, but Tom and Kent bought their own Camaros and proceeded to turn them into the stuff of cruising legend.

The brothers scraped together $500 to buy a 1968 Camaro, which they had free reign to modify. Tom soon bought the 1969 SS Camaro seen here, while Kent would drive the 1968 through high school before restoring the original 1969 seen here in the 1980s and '90s.

Tom's 1969 SS, in Dover White with black hockey stripes, underwent an extensive restoration, including the engine, from 1993 to 2000.

"The interior is pretty much all original. The headliner, seats and door panels are all original," says Tom, who works for the City of Houston.

The engine is a 350-cubic-inch L48 with an Edelbrock 2101 intake, the original Holley 650 spread-bore carburetor and a competition cam. It still has the original Turbo 350 transmission. "It's pretty healthy," he says smiling.

The sway bar, rear springs and front coil springs have been replaced, but all other suspension parts are original. The BF Goodrich TA Radials have been on the car since about 1983.

The 1969 Camaro that started it all began life with the stock 307-cubic-inch engine, but Kent replaced it in the early 1980s with a 350-cubic-inch short block. "I started experimenting with nitrous and blew up the 307," Kent, a medical technologist, recalls.

In 1993, Kent began a complete restoration but kept the 350 engine and the Turbo 350 transmission and added a Flowmaster dual exhaust. The engine is bolstered by an Edlebrock intake, a Holley 600 carb and a competition cam. The suspension was rebuilt but the interior is mostly original, except for the carpet and the driver's seat. It received the Glacier Blue Metallic with white racing stripes paint job.

Neither car has been placed on a dyno, but the brothers estimate that both make in excess of 300 hp at about 4,800 rpm.

Although both cars are driven infrequently now, they pack plenty of tire-burning punch and are a muscular blast to drive. They are surprisingly well mannered on the road but emit a wonderfully brutish exhaust rumble.

By Rod Evans