Mike Fadel and His 1967 Camaro; Bona Fide American
I’ve said it a few hundred times, and I’ll say it again, history is the future. That being said, as long as we have people like Mike Fadel who have a long history of collecting, restoring and selling classics, the future of the nostalgic automobile is safe and sound. Mike is one of those guys that takes it to the next level; he not only owns a small fleet of classics, he’s also the Sales Manager at Streetside Classics in Charlotte, NC, but before we see where Mike is at, let’s see where it all began. The gasoline that runs though Mike’s veins was passed to him by this father. Leo Fadel, a proud man from Utica, NY, has a collection of 20(ish) vehicles of his own. Ya read me correct, I said 20 man toys…. It’s safe to say that hot rods are a staple in the Fadel family. It was this family passion that sparked Mike’s love affair with his Gen 1 – 1967 Camaro that’s lasted nearly 25 years.
Mike purchased this tired old girl from the back of a trailer, in a junk yard where he grew up in Upstate, NY. The summer of his Freshmen year in high school, Mike drained all of the $500 from his savings account that he had earned from throwing hay for a local farmer to make the acquisition. Attention hipsters, this is how you get ahead in life, you work for it! The 67 was a wreck, literally, it had been wadded from a previous owners version of a ‘fun time’ and hadn’t been registered since the early/mid 70’s. Creampuff!
It was barely a roller, no motor, the entire front clip was awol, and the sub-frame, well, you get the picture. Over the next 6 years, Mike and Leo spent countless hours driving all over NY to swap meets and to scrap yards in search of parts. Ahh yes, life of a parts hunter before Al Gore’s interweb! Part by part, side by side, Mike and his old man slowly brought her back to life. They dropped in a 327 that the car would have been outfitted with from the factory and bolted it to a powerglide trans they ‘borrowed’ from an Impala. Finally, in his Junior year of college, Mike sat behind the wheel of his ’67.
Fun Fact: Mike built the motor in his high school shop class with the help and supervision of late shop teacher, Don Moore (RIP).
After college, Mike moved to NC and even with the beautiful weather, still only drove it sparingly. He went back to work, putting a set of staggered, Riddler 5-spoke wheels and converting to front power disc brakes. This helped their relationship, but Mike didn’t stop there, enter LS fever! As previously stated, Mike is the Sales Manager at Streetside Classics in Charlotte, NC and also owns his own shop. Living in these two environments, Mike took notice of all the high end builds that were going with the LS power-plant. Knowing that he wouldn’t be parting with the car, Mike purchased a wrecked 2003 Corvette for the engine, parted out the extras and Mike and Leo went back to work once again.