Dana 427 Camaro



Before the Yenko Camaro and the COPO Camaro, the 427 Camaro was built in Los Angeles California, at a dealership by the name of DANA Chevrolet.

Hot Rodding and modifications to new cars had been flourishing in Southern California for decades now. The area was saturated with automotive talent. So it was only natural for the first big block Chevy swap into a Camaro to happen here in the hot rodding mecca of the universe.

High Performance was nothing new to the individuals operating Dana Chevrolet. The owners were gentlemen by the names of Paul Doski and Peyton Cramer. Peyton Cramer was a former Shelby American employee in charge of finances. The chief engineer was a local west coast SCCA hero by the name of Dick Guldstrand.
With this combination, only fabulous cars could emerge from the new performance oriented DANA Chevrolet.

The Factory engines were swapped out in favor of the extremely impressive powerplant of the L72 Corvette 427 big block Chevy rat motor. It was rated at 425 HP with the stock exhaust manifolds! The engines were delivered in crates to DANA, and then installed into these legendary Camaros. This engine would respond beautifully to a free breathing exhaust, so Doug's Headers were standard equipment.

Delivery of one with a Corvette tri-power 3X2 setup was not unusual. Aluminum cylinder heads and even the Corvette L88 427 with it's 12 1/2:1 compression ratio was an option!

 



 

 

As you can see in the photo above, the 780 CFM Holley carb used vacuum secondaries eventhough it was a
dual feed 4 barrel carb. The vacuum advance is still intact providing a smooth, effortless rush of raw power when the gas pedal is placed to the floor! The sweet sound of solid lifters and the roar of that Holley carb sucking in air through the cowl induction at the rear of the hood scoop could only be soothing to the ear of the
high performance minded owner behind the wheel.

Remember, the factory did not offer a cowl induction hood for the Camaro until the 1969 model year.
This Dana Camaro was using a rear induction system with a glassed in wire mesh, in late 1966/ early 1967!! It may not have had the factory style foam or rubber, but it still worked at speed!
The 427 Dana Camaro was built to compete against the Shelby GT500 Mustang.

Dick Guldstrand was very familiar with the 427 big block Chevy motor and the L-88 427 as well. He previously raced the first L-88 Corvette at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona for Roger Penske.
Shortly after these photos were taken, a 1967 factory L-88 Corvette was prepared back at DANA Chevrolet to enter the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans. Dick co-drove with Don Yenko and Bob Bondurant at that legendary race. So setting up a street driven solid lifter 427 or even
the mighty L-88 427, was a piece of cake for Dick Guldstrand.

Dick Guldstrand was known as a chassis tuner. He was able to extract superb handling characteristics
from early Corvettes. Dick applied this same knowledge to the Camaro. Naturally, the suspensions were
set up to handle these massive amounts of power. The Dana Camaros could not only go fast in a
straight line, but they could also corner with the best of what was on the street back in 1967 and 1968.

 



As proven in these pictures, these 427 DANA Camaros defined the meaning of "Laying Rubber".
12 second 1/4 mile elapsed times were common with the standard 3.55 rear end ratio.
11 second time slips were more the norm with 4.11 or 4.56 street/strip gears with slicks!!

When geared properly, top speed could surpass 160 MPH.

These 427 DANA Camros set the stage for other dealerships and eventually the factory to produce other 427 powered Camaros. As a historical note, these Camaros were built months before any other Chevy dealership produced their own. The Dana Camaro was truly the first 427 Camaro conversion that was ever performed, anywhere. This is based on the magazine publication dates and the lead time that is needed prior to their printing. The DANA 427 Camaro conversion was done at their performance center in the fall of 1966.

Dana Chevrolet used Bill Thomas supplied big block motor mounts for their conversions.
Bill Thomas also worked Dick Harrell for years prior to this, and he also supplied these motor mounts to Harrell.
Bill Thomas had a direct connection with Chevrolet at that time, otherwise, there would be absolutely no way
that the engineering dimensions for these mounts would be available 6 months before the release of the
factory SS396 Camaro, both in the 325 horsepower version and in the 375 horsepower L-78 version.

In fact, there is now a belief that most of the Dana Camaros were sold through their dealer sales network in a similar fashion to Don Yenko and his Yenko Camaro dealer network. The big question is: how many were sold, who actually did the modification work, and which dealers participated in the sales of the Dana Camaros??

These Camaros have unique features and modifications that I can identify.

Dana Camaro Update October 2010: Muscle Car Review Magazine printed an article that states a very different conversion number than what was told to the author in 1996 by three principle members of Dana Chevrolet. My research continues each year with these Dana Camaros, and when more of them appear, I will share the info! Many of these Camaros have been sighted over the years as being stored away in garages and parts of the cars are being used for safe storage such as the top of the hood, roof, trunk and the interior for family belongings. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until families decide it's time to sell the old Camaro in the garage before we will ever have the opportunity to see these Camaros once again.

 

 

If you own one of these Camaros or if a family member has one tucked away in their garage, please e-mail me.
If you don't know what type of Camaro your Dad or Grandfather has tucked away, please email me.
I purchase Camaros, but I do not offer appraisals or inspections.

Please e-mail me at brunoscorvettes at yahoo dot com

I have to lay it out without the @ so I don't receive 10,000 spam emails a month! Thanks!!
Just place the @ in place of the "at" and I will receive your email.

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