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1968 Chevy Camaro - Right Out The Gate

This '68 Was Gone

SC Staff Aug 1, 2006
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When Brad Herberger contracted the build of his dream car-a '68 Camaro g-Machine-he told the Camaro's builder, OPM Customs in Tempe, Arizona, "Guys, I am going to put 60,000 miles on this car next year." When the finished product rolled out of the shop, it didn't take OPM long to realize that Brad was going to make good on his pledge. But that's jumping the gun.

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When the project first began several months ago, Brad had a few must-haves already on his list. First, he wanted his ride to be unique, which seems hard to accomplish with a "bellybutton" car like a First-Generation Camaro. Second, he wanted it to be as reliable as a new car, even though it was going to be heavily modified. Third, he wanted it to have all the modern-day comforts and luxuries to which we have all grown accustomed. For the fourth...we'll get to that later.

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After OPM had its way with the Camaro, Brad got to jump behind the wheel of his Camaro. All it took was one ride, and he was convinced that OPM delivered the goods. With a simple Guttman Scalogram (a test where you check a box next to the question for a "yes" or "no") Brad affirmed that all his "needs" were, in fact, met. What questions were on his scalogram?

* Check 'em out for yourself:
* flawless black paint
* supercharger
* fuel-injection
* six-speed transmission
* four-wheel Wilwood racing disc brakes
* Boze custom billet 18-inch wheels with Z-rated run-flat tires
* rack-and-pinion steering
* racing-derived high-performance front and rear suspension
* Arizen Racing heated leather front seats with matching backseat touchscreen DVD/NAV/CD, with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
* Electric-Life reverse-tilt hood, power windows and door locks
* a complete set of Auto Meter Lunar gauges
* cruise control
* ice-cold A/C (machine-gun turret is extra)

It's pretty plain to see that this Camaro has it all!

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"Driving this car down the freeway," says Brad, "is like riding in an arrow, shot from a bow." Unfortunately for him, he admits that this means the posted speed limit should be doubled. The ability to get up and go is accomplished with an OPM-built, Vortech-supercharged, fuel-injected engine. This boosted pump-gas torque-monster makes a dyno'ed 475 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm, and close to 500 lb-ft of torque nearly all the way to its 6,000-rpm redline. Behind it sits a Tremec six-speed, attached through a custom driveshaft to a built 12-bolt GM 4:10 Posi. This power combination is the key to low-end acceleration, and a pussycat-like 1,800 rpm at 80 mph on the freeway. The motor even averages 20-plus mpg! Imagine what the acceleration at 80 mph feels like when you downshift to Fourth, hit 3,000 rpm, THEN start making all 5 pounds of boost!

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All this power would be useless if not wrangled in an appropriate manner. The base of this car is a fully welded and tied-in rear subframe and crossmember, which was fabricated and attached to the new body mounts using poly bushings. The front suspension is made up of Heidt's narrowed upper and lower tubular control arms, attached by Heidt's new steel spindles, and QA-1 coilovers. A Delphi rack-and-pinion unit does the steering, and rear suspension is aided with custom ladder bars, Detroit Speed and Engineering springs, and Koni adjustable shocks.

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For you automotive audiophiles, the setup is sure not to disappoint. As in the rest of the car, the stereo system was installed with a purpose-to have high-quality sound. A Kenwood Excelon touchscreen DVD/NAV/CD/Sirius head unit, nested in a custom-fabbed console, driving two Phoenix Gold Xenon amps, front and rear mounted separates, accompanied by two trunk-mounted Phoenix Gold 12-inch subs, provides for a sound experience, second only to the blower's whine and an exhaust which are natural by-products of this powerful machine

Oh, remember that fourth must-have? This Camaro is going to be entered in this summer's Silver State Challenge in Nevada, and Brad "has" to beat his dad's '74 Lamborghini. We're thinkin' his dad better head to the speed shop. As for putting 60,000 miles on it? Upon the '68's completion, Brad put 1,000 miles on it in four days! Then, he turned around and put 1,500 miles on it in the next few days that followed. At this point, he's got 57,500 miles to go, and each one is sure to be an experience.



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