Nickey Chevrolet of Chicago was known as the Original Super Car Headquarters and they were the first to offer the new 427 big-block Corvette engine in the Camaro. Selling more Chevrolets than almost any dealer in in America, the dealer’s high-performance department worked in conjunction with Bill Thomas as soon as the 427 was available in 1966.
The Camaro was built alongside packages for the Chevelle and Nova which Nickey was well known for. Working with Nickey, Bill Thomas and Dickie Harrell created a network for their dealer-built supercars to be sold across America. L88s, L89s and L72s were fitted into anything Chevrolet.
Three levels of preparation were offered on the Camaro. The first known as the Stage I was mild tuning of the engine and subtle styling enhancements. This included exhaust headers, 8000 rpm tachometer, steering wheel, vinyl stripes, Nickey wheels and various chrome bits. Stage II improved on this with a new camshaft, Hurst Shifter and a heavy-duty clutch. For competition use, Stage III listed solid lifters, dual-quad manifolds, a new rear differential and Racemaster tires, but the dual-quad was seldom fitted.
To complement the engine, Nickey typically fitted an M21 Muncie 4-Speed Transmission, 12 Bolt Positraction rear differential, Bill Thomas-designed traction bars and Super Scavenger exhaust headers. Furthermore a wide range of aftermarket accessories were available and no two Nickey-built cars were alike.
With the 427, 1/4 performance came in at 12.3 seconds and 113.21 mph.
In their 1967 edition, Car & Driver said “The Nickey 427 Camaro is no doubt about it, an attention-getter. It looks exactly like what it is–a Camaro with Mr. America musculature. It is a very good attempt at making a dual-purpose vehicle for the Sunday sportsman, though all such creations must, of course, ultimately be a compromise. It is, for openers, a Chevrolet Camaro refitted with a 427 cu. in., 425-hp Corvette engine. It carries the nameplate of Chicago’s Nickey Chevrolet, with some of the development by Nickey-Bill Thomas Co. of Anaheim, California.”
“Just how do you buy one of these machines? After the customer lays down his $3891 at either Thomas’ or Nickey’s counter, the process begins. Each new Camaro is custom remade to the buyer’s own specification, and $3900 usually is only the beginning. Nickey/Thomas has a kit or component for every need, and the wise salesmen stand ready to counsel the customer on what he really should have to go with that big engine.”
Our feature car comes from the collection of Mike Guarise in Bolero Red. It lived most of its life in Southern California and retained is original bodyshell, as well as 427/425 HP engine throughout its life.
Mecum Auctions have the distinct opportunity to offer the Stage III Camaro at their 2011 Original Spring Classic Auction. They say “Included with the car are letters from each of its four owners and priceless photos chronicling its history from new to when it was discovered on a Los Angeles street still wearing its original paint. These pre-restoration photographs verify the exceptional original condition that allowed for a simple strip, repaint and detailing.”
Professionally Tuned Car
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Mark IV L72 Cast Iron V8
Pushrod OHV, 2 Valves per Cyl
Single 4-Barrel Carburetor
6997 cc / 427 in³
335.6 kw / 450 bhp
64.31 bhp per litre
body / frame
Unitary Steel Monocoque
F 35.6 x 17.8 cm / 14 x 7 in
R 35.6 x 17.8 cm / 14 x 7 in
Live Axle w/Leaf Springs
M21 Muncie 4-Speed
0 – 1/4 mile
Auction Sales History
1967 Chevrolet Nickey/Bill Thomas 427 Stage III Camaro – sold for $400,000 Documented and certified Nickey/Bill Thomas 427 Camaro. Ordered new and built at BTR Headquarters, in Anaheim, CA. Started as 1 of only 1,138 4K-code L78 Camaros. Converted into an L72 427/450 HP Stage III. Retains engine built & installed by Bill Thomas Race Cars. Registered and certified by The Nickey Registry, Inc. Affidavit from original owner. Auction Source: 2011 Mecum Indy Spring Classic