We’re a bit spoiled here in the states compared to the rest of the world, at least when it comes to hot rodding. You see, the U.S. is the birthplace of custom car building and all things hot-rod-related, so while we might complain about how long it takes to get a part it’s still insanely easy compared to what overseas hot rodders, who have way more hoops to jump through just to get what we take for granted, have to put up with. A case in point is Bram Rook’s 1968 Camaro which was built in Kampen, Netherlands.
As Bram told us, “My first American muscle car was a 1972 Chevelle I bought in 1995 from a relative in San Francisco for only $1,000. Of course, it needed some work but not very much. I sold the car for good money in 2002 and started searching for a first-gen Camaro since it had become my favorite bodystyle after an article about a 1968 Camaro I saw in the Chroom & Vlammen, a German U.S. car magazine.”
Bram continued: “In 2004 my buddy Luke and I went to the USA to find me a nice first-gen. I saw at least eight in the Los Angeles area and I went home with a nice black 1968 Camaro, or at least it looked nice. When it got it over here to the Netherlands what started with a small spot repair turned into a seven-year full restoration. New quarter panels, door skins, floorboards, and a front fender were replaced. I guess some Californian cars aren’t as ‘rust free’ as they say. Then it was time for four years of ‘paint prison.’ The third shop I found went for it and completed a super nice and shiny paint job in just four months. I couldn’t settle on a color, but after I saw some pictures of Steven Rupp’s 1969 Camaro I was convinced this was the best color for my ’68 Camaro. I contacted Steven and he was very helpful to tell me the exact colors.” That ’69 Camaro was one of my earlier builds and it was painted in Subaru WRX World Rally Blue with smoked silver stripes in a color from an Infiniti G35.
After escaping paint jail it took Bram another three years to complete the Camaro build. It’s really hard to get American speed parts where Bram lives and it’s extremely expensive to have them shipped overseas. Bram made frequent trips to the U.S. and each time he came home he would bring some parts with him. He also made sure to visit the SEMA show each year to gather both ideas for his car and more parts to make it all happen.
The engine in the car is the same 400ci small-block that came with the car. It has a few small performance upgrades and makes enough torque to easily smoke the tires. Bram dressed it up a bit and the 400 is backed up by a TH400 transmission. Future plans call for an LS swap, but for now the drivetrain gets the job done of propelling the Camaro around town.
The Camaro sits on a Ridetech suspension and is stopped via Baer disc brakes. The Ridetech Shockwaves let Bram slam his Camaro when parked and still give a great ride. The interior is a mix of modern and classic with Konig seats and a center console that Bram made from wood. And yes, that shifter is from a 2005 Mustang. Autometer Sport-Comp gauges tracks the vitals and a Schutt steering wheel keeps him moving in the right direction.
For now, the Camaro is done and Bram has been enjoying it for the last 10 years. And while he does plan on continuing his upgrades it’s nice to not be constantly battling to get parts for the pearl blue Camaro. –Photos By: Bram Rook
Watch: 1968 Pro Touring Camaro in action
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