Again On The Avenue & Badder Than Ever: The Hardcore Pandem ’70 Camaro

When a automobile has an excellent backstory connected to it, it actually provides it some character. Not {that a} 1970 Pandem-kitted Chevy Camaro actually wants any assist in that division.

Its proprietor, and head honcho of Hardcore Tokyo, Junichi Takahashi (higher generally known as Jun) additionally oozes character. The Camaro is Jun-san’s private challenge influenced by a lifetime digesting Japanese and American punk tradition. It’s about as removed from his R33 drift car as you could possibly get, however each are incarnations of Jun-san’s eclectic tastes and appreciation of all automobile tradition.


Jun-san spent his 30s dwelling in New York Metropolis, returning to Japan each three months to resume his passport. Whereas primarily based stateside, he turned closely influenced by the US drag racing scene, and have become significantly excited by an 1/eighth mile Outlaw class for muscle vehicles, which had been restricted to small 26×8.5 rear tyres.


This was again within the mid-2000s, when drag racing was nonetheless huge in Japan, so when Jun-san lastly returned to his homeland, he wasted no time searching for out a third era 1990 Camaro Z28, after which headed for the closest drag strip.

After a 10-year run, the Z28 was sentenced to the scrappers and Jun-san picked up the second-gen ’70 Camaro you see right here. However that is the place the story takes a flip. Name it destiny if you’ll, however there’s each risk that if issues had of gone in a different way, the automobile could not have materialised into the beast it’s at this time.


All of it went bitter the second after Jun bought the Camaro. As in most nations, a switch of possession must be accomplished when a sale is made, however unbeknownst to Jun-san on the time, the Camaro wasn’t coming with any official documentation – it had been misplaced. He and the vendor had a direct diversion of parallel views and subsequently misplaced any line of communication, primarily leaving Jun-san with an enormous muscle car-shaped paperweight.


To ensure that Jun-san to register the Camaro in his title, it was now as much as him to trace down the automobile’s final registered proprietor and have them reissue new paperwork. This finally occurred – it simply took 10 lengthy years!

All through this time although, Jun-san by no means misplaced religion and began rebuilding the automobile anyway – one thing his good good friend Kei Miura from TRA Kyoto – the corporate behind Rocket Bunny/Pandem – in the end performed a giant half in it.


Each Jun-san and Miura-san have spent appreciable time exterior Japan, accumulating experiences, views and concepts from the world over. The Camaro is simply as nicely travelled, and having lived in Japan virtually half its life now, you could possibly say it’s in all probability extra Japanese than it’s American.


Because the paired lounged round TRA Kyoto occupied with what to construct for the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon, Jun-san confessed he had a Camaro stashed away. Miura-san additionally had a confession: He had lengthy admired Trans Am and NASCAR racers, and had all the time needed to design and manufacture Pandem physique kits for choose muscle vehicles. The pair agreed on the theme and Miura-san bought a Pontiac Firebird the very subsequent day.


Over the subsequent 12 months, over fenders, spoilers and lips had been designed for a minimum of 4 American muscle vehicles – Miura-san’s Firebird, Jun-san’s Camaro, plus a Mustang and Corvette, all of which made their debut at TAS 2023.


Each the Firebird and the Camaro characteristic smoothly-contoured fender flares, one thing a bit of totally different to the bolt-on model everyone knows. Jun-san says that they needed to pay homage to the extensive and clean model of ’70s muscle automobile racers, which is timeless, and I believe we will all agree that it’s labored very nicely.


The ‘Pandem 70 Camaro’ went beneath the knife at J.Beat Customized Store in Saitama, who carefully blended the Pandem FRP onto the body earlier than respraying the entire automobile pure white.


Beneath the hood, old fashioned drag-spec muscle automobile vibes are sturdy. The 402ci huge block V8 is mated to a Muncie 4-speed transmission and a 12-bolt diff with an LSD and three.97 closing drive. Customized valve covers are completed off with laser-etched logos, simply in case you overlook what you’re taking a look at.


After I first noticed photos of the automobile, I questioned why the roll cage was so tight in opposition to the steering wheel. ‘Certainly that have to be a ache?’ I believed. It seems, that is one other nod to muscle automobile historical past, because the roll cages in previous Trans Am race vehicles had been constructed this fashion. It’s important to love the authenticity.


The Camaro seems to be nothing wanting menacing. An up to date Heidts 4-link suspension equipment and the traditional, crazy-wide RS Watanabe Eight Spoke wheels – measuring 15×10.5-inch and 15×12-inch entrance and rear respectively, and wrapped up in Mickey Thompson rubber – enhance the look and drivability of the automobile significantly.


The whole lot about Jun-san’s Camaro is excellent – its new proportions, its stance, the wheel and tyre fitment, and the sound.

It is a modified American muscle automobile with a customized Japanese twist, and after 15 years of possession – however simply two years of registration – Jun-san is lastly making up for misplaced time – behind the wheel in fact.

Toby Thyer
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