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Ray Ziglari’s 1969 Chevy Camaro Sports In-Your-Face K&N Filters on 572 Crate Motor

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1969 Chevy Camaro SS at Cable Airport in Upland

Upon arriving at Cable Airport the folks from the Foothill Flying Club were gracious enough to invite Ray to drive his 1969 Chevy Camaro onto the tarmac, which made for incredible photos

Ray Ziglari has specialized in the service and repair of Japanese autos since 1981, and opened his own shop in 1991. Though Ray’s area of expertise is repairing cars from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and more, it didn’t stop him from pursuing the car he has coveted since childhood. “I’ve wanted a 1969 Camaro since I first saw one as a kid. I love the look of that front end and hidden headlights,” said Ziglari. What makes the story of Ray’s Camaro more interesting, is that he didn’t just run out and buy this car. In fact, with help from his shop-mate Zack Phillips, Ray built his 69 Camaro over the course of approximately 8 years.

K&N Hilborn Injector Air Filters on Chevy ZZ572 Big Block Crate Engine

Ray used four K&N air cleaner assemblies, packaged as part number RD-4669, to provide the superior airflow and superior performance demanded by the monstrous Chevy ZZ572 Crate Big Block

As a one-man repair shop, Ray’s 69 Camaro resto-mod was just a side project that he worked on when he could find the time. However, it wasn’t just time that spread this build out over 8 years, there was also a matter of money. As a working-man, Ray had to buy parts for his car as funds allowed, and with the number of premium parts on this build, it’s no wonder the car took 8 years. Similar to enjoying a fine whiskey that has aged in a cask for years, Ray’s patience in building his childhood dream car paid off.

The Chevy Camaro first went on sale in September of 1966 as direct competitor to the wildly popular first generation Ford Mustang. The first generation Camaro lasted three short year, 1967, 1968, and 1969. Though similar in appearance for those three years, there were distinctly aggressive styling cues, and nearly all-new sheet metal, introduced for the 1969 model year that has made the 69 Camaro the most sought after of the first generation. Breaking it down even further, the Z/28 Camaro was designed as a factory built race car and is extremely rare. But it was the Chevy Camaro SS, with the RS appearance package, that ruled the streets in 1969.

1969 Chevy Camaro SS with Art Morrison chassis

Once up on the lift, the Art Morrison Enterprises 3-piece AME GT Sport Chassis package supported by full air bag suspension becomes visible on Ray’s 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Ray Ziglari’s 1969 Chevy Camaro is an original SS, with the RS appearance package, and is referred to as an RS/SS within the Camaro enthusiast community. At the time Super Sport (SS) models were factory equipped with a 350 cubic-inch small block Chevy V8, or the venerable SS396 cubic-inch Chevy Big Block. Although Ray’s Camaro was originally a small block car, he didn’t hesitate to stuff a big block under the hood. Ray’s engine of choice, a Chevrolet Performance Crate Engine ZZ572 embodies the spirit of “Go Big, or Go Home.” Even Chevrolet’s website describes the ZZ572 as “Our baddest, most powerful Big-Block engine.”

Chevrolet delivers the ZZ572 fully assembled and even includes a Dominator-style 1150-cfm carburetor. But why settle for a carburetor when Hilborn Fuel Injection is manufactured at a facility in Aliso Viejo, California and has been proven to add horsepower as well as increase drivability? Hilborn Fuel Injection systems are unique and recognizable by their distinctive flared velocity stack intake pipes, rising straight up from each cylinder. This makes finding a functional, and attractive, air cleaner system slightly more difficult. Luckily for Ray, and countless racers out there, K&N Filters makes air cleaner assemblies designed specifically for Hilborn Injector Stacks.

ZZ572 powered 1969 Chevy Camaro custom leather interior

The ride and smell of Ray Ziglari’s ZZ572 powered 1969 Chevy Camaro is complemented by a sculpted custom leather upholstered interior with modern gauges and electronics

Ray used four K&N air cleaner assemblies, packaged in one convenient part number RD-4669, to provide the superior airflow and superior performance demanded by the monstrous Chevy 572 cubic inch Big Block. Although K&N makes buying Hilborn Siamese Stack air filters easy, using these filters in a street car presents another set of challenges. The first issue for Ray was hood clearance in his 1969 Camaro. Ray’s car sports an aftermarket steel taller than factory cowl induction hood, but even that provides nowhere near enough hood space. Hence the reason why Ray decided to cut the hood of his Camaro to allow his four K&N air filters to stick above the hood and in your face.

The K&N Hilborn Siamese Injector Stack air cleaners include clear anodized aluminum top plates inside the box. This is typically great for race cars, but didn’t do Ray’s 1969 Camaro justice. So instead of using the supplied air cleaner lids, Ray designed four top plates to match his wheels, and had them machined from billet aluminum. Rather than leaving the windshield end of the extra tall cowl hood wide open, Ray had a custom mesh grill machined to accent his fully custom K&N air filter top plates. It’s these kinds of small details that really add up to create a one of a kind show stopper from a car that is already wildly popular amongst muscle car enthusiasts.

1969 Chevy Camaro with hidden air bag tank and subwoofer

Ray’s Camaro uses C6 Corvette front suspension with a triangulated 3-link rear suspension on airbags with the air tank and fittings, as well as a subwoofer, hidden behind a custom trunk panel

In fact, it’s small details that wouldn’t normally be seen that really sets Ray’s 69 Camaro apart. Lift the car up, and it becomes immediately clear why Ray spent 8 years saving up to buy components for his build. Ray’s 1969 Camaro SS rests upon an Art Morrison Enterprises 3-piece AME GT Sport Chassis package. The kit on Ray’s car uses C6 Corvette front suspension components and an optional triangulated 3-link rear suspension with all four corners supported by airbags. The air tank and fittings for the air suspension are all hidden behind a custom panel in the truck, and can be adjusted on the fly in the center of the custom console. Ray has three pre-set ride heights depending on how the car is being operated. It can tuck those rear 335/30 Ultra High Performance Michelin tires on 20” Intro wheels thanks to the mini tubbed rear end.

It isn’t just the Art Morrison chassis and air suspension that contributes to the stance of Ray’s Camaro. Everything under the car has been positioned to ride flush with the frame rails to ease concerns about ground clearance, and the body was cut and lowered on the AME frame. This detail isn’t easily noticed until one tries to squeeze into the custom built, leather upholstered, rear seat and realizes how little headroom there is in back. Speaking of the back, a custom 9-inch Ford based rear end connects to a body color painted driveshaft being turned by the ZZ572 engine’s 727 HP through a built 4L80-E automatic transmission.

1969 Camaro with narrowed Ford 9-inch and mini tubbed rear end

Ray’s Camaro can tuck massive rear 335/30 Ultra High Performance Michelin tires on 20” Intro wheels thanks to the narrowed Ford 9-inch and mini tubbed rear end

A quick drive in Ray’s beastly Camaro to nearby Cable Airport in Upland, California revealed just how well the AME chassis, air suspension, wheels & tires, and of course that ZZ572 setup works together. Despite a lack of headroom in the rear seat, and ultra-low profile tires, the AME chassis and suspension soaked up rough pavement like a modern luxury car. But what most luxury cars don’t have on Ray’s 69 Camaro is 727 + horsepower on tap. Ray has to ease into the throttle at nearly any speed to avoid breaking the rear end loose. Upon arriving at Cable Airport the folks from the Foothill Flying Club were gracious enough to invite Ray to drive his Camaro onto the tarmac, which made for an incredible photo opp.

Ray is certainly no stranger to cars, but he is quick to credit Zack Phillips of Zack’s Hot Rod Refinery for his help in building the Camaro. Zack ventured out on his own in 2011 after spending years working in Chevrolet and Cadillac dealerships, as well as Fred’s Custom Wiring. For Ray’s sake, it helps that Zack’s shop is conveniently located in the back third of Ray’s Japanese Auto Care Specialist shop. This makes for quite an eclectic mix of cars under one roof. Each bay’s occupants ranged from a faded regular cab Toyota Tacoma, to Ray’s Camaro and even a radical 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air customer car three and a half years in the making.

Use the K&N Search By Vehicle tool to find K&N performance upgrades for your daily driver. For your racing, custom, or hot rod needs, browse a wide array of K&N Racing Air Filters, Custom Air Filter Assemblies, Off-Road Air Filters and K&N Automotive Performance Parts. Then use the K&N Dealer Search tool to find a local authorized K&N dealer.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 50 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.