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Off the Shelf

This '68 is your run-of-the-mill 12-second bruiser, kind of

Andrew Schear Feb 23, 2004

The automotive hobbyist is a perpetuating person and project that is never completed. What may start out as a simple engine overhaul becomes a 2-year labor of love, and then some. The phrase "enough is enough," never seems to hold much water for our readers, and this feature is no different.

Not so far in the past, automotive enthusiast and SCE Gaskets owner, Ryan Hunter, had the itch to build a sweet 383 stroker motor to help promote his company. After a long heart to heart with former PHR editor, Cameron Evans, at the 1999 SEMA convention, Ryan was persuaded to build an entire car, not just a motor. What began as a simple motor assembly turned into an entire restoration.

The spring following the 1999 SEMA show, Ryan began looking for his would be g-machine '68 Camaro. Following a tip from his brother Scott, Ryan was led to a back yard where a dormant '68 Camaro was lying on its last legs. After the $1,000 pile was negotiated upon, Ryan lugged the '68 onto his flatbed and hauled it back to his home in Lancaster, California. Upon tearing apart every last panel and bolt, Ryan realized just what he was in for, the long haul.

As the carcass was torn apart, stripped, and prepped for bodywork, the suspension was simultaneously being installed. To give the F-body a road-race-inspired heartbeat, the '68 was equipped with full PST suspension, giant sway bars and gas shocks. As the bodywork was being completed a four-point rollbar was installed for rigidity and safety. The exterior was dipped in a two-tone blue and white urethane and complemented with all new trim. To help the '68 grip the tarmac, BFG tires were wrapped around American Racing Torque Thrust aluminum rollers. Since power was the name of Ryan's game 475 hp and no less had to make it into his First-Gen. The source of his power was routed through a Richmond six-speed transmission into a custom-cut driveshaft backed by a 10-bolt Posi rearend. The little details were completed by a set of black bucket seats and custom silk-screened instruments.

With the project nearing completion, Ryan was feeling a great camaraderie between his sons, Caleb and Aaron. The finale of the project would feel like the end of an era. In fact, when Ryan visited his doctor nearing the end of the restoration his cardiologist said his hemoglobin were shaped like Bow-Ties, and we believe him.

Just in case Ryan's dyno numbers aren't proof enough of his little performer, we made our way to California Speedway to put Ryan's '68 through the paces of our "Road Rage" testing. Knowing quite well that traction would be a large problem, son Caleb brought along a pair of pizza cutters and M/T ET Streets, which we fried mercilessly per the owner's request. By the end of the day we had Ryan's F-body humming to the tune of 12.1s and pushing mid-.8s on the skidpad. Not too bad for a36-year-old, car that is!









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