The next Detroit Autorama Great 8 Finalist came from the mind and most impressively the hands of one man. Yep, one man put the thousands of hours and years of work into this Ridler Contender. The man is Ed Denkenberger and the fruit of his labor is NickleBack, a stunning ’67 Camaro. Ed and NickleBack’s owners Greg & Chris Allen, a father and son duo, had a vision and it came together catapulting this Camaro into the realm of excellence. They thought outside the box and it paid off.
NickleBack was in Ed’s shop for 6 1/2 years and in that time it had many incarnations. But once the owners decided this Camaro was going to be a Ridler build, everything changed. Several design elements of NickleBack were collaborative efforts between Chris, Greg and Ed. But we all know, you’ve got to ultimately put it in the hands of the pros, after all “Builder Knows Best” right? Father and son stepped aside and let Denkenberger “do his thing”. Suffice it to say, this man knows how to elevate a build to Ridler status.
There are several themes to this build. One of them has to do with Mr. Denkenberger’s dislike of square corners. Consequently, he radiused the offending angles in this build. The windshield, rear glass, trunk at all four points, hood, bumpers and rear quarters on the spoiler were all radiused. The finished product is smooth flowing lines throughout NickleBack. Let me illustrate just one example of Dekenbergers commitment to this build. The windshield and rear window now radiused needed trim and Denkenberger wanted it stock, but stock trim has angles. Yet, NickleBack has stock ’67 trim. How did he do that. Well, he took 4 stock ’67 rear window trim kits, cut out the corners, fabricated them to accommodate radiused angles of the windshield and rear window, and then installed and recessed the stock handmade stainless moldings. How about them apples!
Which brings us to another theme, recessed. Everything that can be recessed is, over and out. That takes some time, effort and precision, wouldn’t you say. The flush mounting of the drip rails which even continues under the hood, is yet another element to this build that separates it from the rest of the pack. Denkenberger manipulated the dimensions of the hood to fit his vision. To finish the look, Ed added a little ’68 Camaro flavor to the custom hand fabricated hood with the distinctive flush mounted hood ports.
Under that custom hood, is the engine bay which in itself is a work of art. Molded and smoothed the immaculate bay houses 355c.i. LT1 topped with a Magnuson supercharger that is backed by a Fast XFI fuel injection system. Dare to be different y’all, no LS here. New school blower married to an old school block, let’s talk about some great engineering feats!
The underside of this beauty may just have more detail than the topside. Case in point, Ed integrated the suspension housing into the body. Although it took “some doing”, you can loosen 4 bolts and the suspension will be on the ground. That suspension is from Heidts, both front and rear. The K member, that was molded and rounded is recessed into the body. Can you say theme! There’s a one piece belly pan that runs the entire underside of this beauty. And that underside runs at a level 4 inch plain. No exhaust, brake or fuel lines mucking up the smooth, finished, exquisite presentation.
Denkenberger redesigned the entire rear end of the ’67. Starting with the custom, one off cnc machined flush mounted taillights. He then bumped out the center of the tail panel 3/4 of an inch to achieve the bow he was looking for. Add to that a bow in the spoiler and bumper. It’s that out of the box design that resulted in an overall distinct and unique look to the Camaro.
We’ve covered the outside, let’s move inside. Ed designed the 3 dimensional interior while Steve Holcomb executed his luxuriously functional vision to perfection. Custom chrome molding is front and center in this interior. Those chrome pieces were fabricated from hand sanded plastic, that was fiberglassed, then chromed. Artfully implemented, all that custom trim was recessed throughout the interior, it’s even inlaid into the floor. The gas and brake pedal as well as the custom screened speaker covers were chrome plated. The 2 toned custom leather is insane and covers everything from the headliner to the trunk, which is functional yet elegant.
A true artist, Ed admits “the car kept talking to me.” He maintained the essence of the OEM parts while executing extensive metal work. A blend of modifications and maintenace artfully achieved the smooth elegant same only different look of this Camaro. To take it to that “Detroit” level, Denkenberger used 1,000 one off machined diamond head bolts to put NickleBack together. Each and every one of those bolts, recessed. A custom in house blend of PPG’s finest, covers NickleBack. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and EVOD Industries wheels finish off this impressive package.
We’ll be seeing a lot more of this million dollar baby. NickleBack will be competing on the ISCA circuit, Hot August Nights is on the list and I’ll eat my computer if this baby isn’t in the Battle of the Builders at SEMA this year! Take a look-see for yourself friends, this is a ’67 Camaro like no other. This isn’t a Pro Tourning, G machine or an Autocross build. NickleBack is in a class all it’s own. Streed Rodded elegance in the body of an iconic muscle car. Mr. Dekenberger stepped it up and separated this ’67 from the pack. Don’t take my word for it……
Superior Auto Works is part of our Professional Builder Nation. Check out the Builders Showroom for this incredible one man shop.
Be sure and visit Superior Auto Works site and check out the work from this owner/operator turnkey shop that has turned out 2 Great 8 Finalists in 6 years. Friends, Mr. Dekenbergrer can deliver! And I’ve got to tell you this cat is as nice as they come, down to Earth and totally approachable. A pro all the way around. The tops, just the tops!
Till the next time – Keep on Kruzin!