Jay Leno Interviews The Ring Brothers About The 1969 Camaro ‘G-Code’ Restoration [Opinion]

Jay Leno and The Ring Brothers’ conversation about the restoration of a 1969 Camaro is an exciting opportunity to learn more about suitable customization for the ultimate classic Camaro. It’s often hard to know how far to go in customizing a classic Camaro or other muscle cars.

The famous G-Code Camaro by the Ring Brothers, shown on the Jay Leno video below, is an excellent example of going just to the edge of far enough and not a step too far. Classic Camaro gets risky, with a valued body style, if one wants to deviate from a classic stock restoration.

Jay Leno says to the Ring Brothers that they knew when to stop.

“The real genius is knowing when to stop… I see so much stuff that is just overdone they’ve just taken it one or two steps too far.”

Jay Leno’s guests, Mike and Jim Ring of Ring Brothers custom auto parts in Spring Green, Wisconsin, build several custom muscle cars every year, according to Hot Rod Magazine. Their work is high quality and their reputation is excellent.

As Jay Leno noted, the Ring Brothers’ client Don Atkinson had much of the machining expertise needed to rebuild the car but sought out the Ring Brothers for assistance in a tasteful customization. It is the ability to know “when to stop,” as Jay Leno points out, that probably brought Don Atkinson to the Ring Brothers.

This 1969 Camaro seems to have a lot of custom parts. There is no information on the starting condition of the original Camaro, but one has to wonder, considering the conversation between the Ring Brothers and Jay Leno. So much has been replaced on this car, especially in spots where rust and body damage are common. If that wasn’t a problem they were facing, it is certainly one that most people encounter in restoration.

Jay Leno and the Ring Brothers discuss machining a new front grille. These are often damaged when one finds a classic Camaro body to restore. Of course, there are stock replacement parts available for most classic muscle cars, but the Ring Brothers seem to be asking, where is the fun in that?

Often a classic muscle car, such as a 1969 Camaro, will be in absolutely horrendous condition. After all, it’s been almost half a century since these classic cars were made.

Classic 1969 Camaro find, in rough shape
This Classic 1969 Camaro find, is in rough shape [Image by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]

The G-Code 1969 Camaro could have been in pretty bad shape before its restoration, but it hardly matters now looking at all those new parts in the Jay Leno video.

Jay Leno soon discovers that the engine is absolutely nothing like what came under the hood of this classic 1969 Camaro originally. Raising the hood of this Camaro is nothing short of shocking to those accustomed to seeing stock restorations.

This 1969 Camaro G-Code features a Wagner motor sports LS-3 416 cubic inch, with a Whipple supercharger on it. The engine was built from the ground up to produce 1,000 horsepower. The video below shows the 1969 G-Code being driven by Matt Farah for GM Authority. Just the sound of the engine winding out is amazing.

The G-Code 1969 Camaro features a six-speed transmission. The Jay Leno video shows this transmission in a rare view of the underside of this 1969 Camaro. The underside is anything but stock. Anyone who has ever been under a classic Camaro will be stunned at the view under this 1969, just as they were when Jay Leno raised the hood.

1969 stock Camaro
1969 stock 1969 Camaro [Image by Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock]

The custom parts such as the steering wheel, gear shift, front grille, and even the wheels are new and custom. They were machined in a machine shop, adding up to hundreds of man hours. The owner Don Atkinson machined the steering wheel and the grille himself, and that alone took more than 200 hours.

Jay Leno weighed the Camaro at 3,953 pounds. That’s a little heavy for a classic Camaro, but a lot of those custom parts including the seats and interior look just a little heavier than the stock equipment, so it adds up. Still, with 1,000 horsepower, it hardly matters.

Jay Leno never asked the Ring Brothers about the original 1969 Camaro, but regardless of its condition, this car is a great example of what anyone who wants to restore a car can do with a seriously wrecked or rusted 1969 Camaro, even if parts are missing.


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Jay Leno shows what it took for the Ring Brothers and Don Atkinson to virtually re-create a 1969 Camaro even if there is little left of the original.

[Featured Image by Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock]