It’s a sickness I tell you. When I bought my
’68 Camaro I was just going to do a “few” things to it and then enjoy the ride.
But, you can file that away in the cabinet under “good intentions”. Actually I
should have known that I have no self control, but the car just looked so right.
I loved the color, loved the wheels and just got sucked in by the overall vibe
of the car. Once home in my garage the thoughts of how I could improve the car
When I think back about it I should really blame the last car I built, the blue
’69 Camaro. That car came out nice, too nice. Actually it wasn’t that it was too
pretty it was more that the car’s performance didn’t live up to what I wanted in
my weekend warrior. It was more street rod than street fighter and in the end I
realized that my tastes had changed during the build. It was sold, Penny was
bought, and I haven’t looked back.
The first step in the rehab of my ’68 was ditching the 468 big-block engine for
something a little more streetable. The 468 was lucky to get 4.5 mpg and it
required constant tuning and valve adjustments. It was just too much work. What
I wanted was LSx power! Of course since I was replacing the engine it was a
great time to address the front suspension. That meant the fenders came off and
what the hell, we might as well smooth the firewall. It’s a lot like how an
avalanche starts. Next thing I know the car has a C5 ‘Vette based front subframe
installed replete with huge Wilwood binders. With the front suspension tricked
out I started to talk with Mark Majors, of Lateral Dynamics, about the rear
suspension. The Camaro came to me with a home-built four-link deal and was more
for show than go. Several of the brackets were already bending and we decided it
wasn’t up to the task of being pushed hard. In its place went a Lateral Dynamics
three-link with a Watt’s centering device. This meant the Dana 60 was for sale
and I was shelling out cash for a Strange Engineering center section and axles.
What the hell, might as well add matching rear Wilwood brakes to the mix, what’s
another thousand dollars between friends. And that’s how the car progressed, one
change “forced” another and before long she was ready for the road and I was
broke. Hey, at least I didn’t have to repaint the whole car, yet.
Yet happened on Cinco De Mayo, that’s May 5th to us gringos, while many were
swilling down margaritas some guy driving behind me was concentrating on his
morning coffee instead of the stopped ’68 Camaro in front of him. Tires
screeched, metal buckled, and my hopes of a Camaro summer were trashed. I had
the Camaro dragged right back to Best Of Show Coachworks in San Marcos, CA. They
had just finished the car two weeks earlier and I think they took the carnage of
my crashed ride worse than I did. Luckily the guy who hit me had good insurance
and $34,652 later my ’68 was ready for the ’07 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Since
then I’ve been working out the little bugs that pop up after such an extensive
build and soon I hope to have Penny ready for some track testing and a few
open-track days. This is the first car I’ve ever done where I don’t think “I
wish I would have...” Everything is exactly the way I envisioned. It’s a car
that’s nice enough to take to a car show yet not full of un-necessary chromed
out widgets. It’s a ride that looks like wants to be driven. Hard. And if I can
keep the coffee-swillers and cell-phone jabbers from mowing me down that’s
exactly what I plan on doing.
Rear wheel power: 440 HP @ x 6,500 RPM and 397 lb-ft. @ 4,600 RPM (91 octane)
Weight: 3,280 lbs. – with fuel
Color: 2002 Plymouth Prowler Orange (code YVF)
Paint by: www.bestofshowcoachworks.com
Type: Gen IV LS2
Block/Displacement: Aluminum / 6.0 liter / 364 cubic inches
Compression Ratio: 10.25:1
Oiling: Ported stock pump
Rotating Assembly: Stock crank, Stock rods, GM Hypereutectic pistons
Cylinder Heads: AFR, 2.02/1.60-inch stainless steel valves
Camshaft: 232/234 112 LSA COMP
Valvetrain: Comp Cams hardened push rods, stock rockers and lifters
Throttle Body: 90mm GM fly by wire
Intake: 90mm FAST polymer intake with FAST fuel logs and 36 lb. injectors
Fuel Pump: Bosch mounted in tank
Fuel Tank: Fuel Safe 18 gallon racing cell
Ignition: Factory coil on plug with Katech mounts and valve covers
Headers: 1-7/8 stepped long tube headers by 21st Century Street Machines.
Exhaust: Custom system with Magnaflow mufflers and x-pipe.
Wiring Harness: Custom Speartech harness with programmed E40 GM computer.
Cooling: AFCO LSx specific radiator with Meziere electric street water pump.
Balancer: ATI SFI certified Super-dampener
Engine Machining: Don Lee Auto, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Transmission: Tremec T56 six-speed from Classic Chevy 5-Speed
Bellhousing: McLeod SFI certified scatershield
Clutch/Flywheel: McLeod 500 series 11-inch clutch and SFI aluminum flywheel
Rear Axle: Strange 9-inch, 3.70 gears, 31-spline Strange axles, Detroit TruTrac
Driveshaft: 3.5-inch aluminum by Inland Empire Driveline
Steering: AGR 16:1 power rack with Turn One Steering pump and pulley
Front Suspension: 21st Century Street Machines subframe with C5 suspension
Rear Suspension: Lateral Dynamics three-link with Watts-link centering device
Stiffening: DSE weld in subframe connectors and subframe bushings.
Brakes: Front Wilwood 13-inch rotors with 6-piston calipers, Rear four piston
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Forgeline WC3 three piece wheels, 18x9 front, 18x12 rear – titanium
Tires: 255/35/18 Toyo R888 competition tires front, and 335/30/18 Toyo R888s