Most engineers don't have nicknames like "Wild Bill," but Bill Bowling's friends bestowed it upon him due to his insatiable need for speed. Bill has owned a lot of fast cars over the years-and also a nitrous-huffing Hayabusa cycle for good measure. During the week, Bill manages an OEM exhaust plant, which makes perfect use of Bill's industrial engineering degree, which he got in his home state of West Virginia. Currently residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Bill prowls around in his immaculate dropped 1995 Camaro Z28 convertible. His brother originally purchased this black beauty from a mutual friend, who had dropped in a built 383ci stroker and installed the Nitrous Express kit. With the opportunity to purchase the car from his brother, Bill didn't hesitate and snapped it up. While already a strong runner, Bill added some other modifications to the car, including a custom rollbar, bent by Bill himself. And being in the exhaust business, it's no surprise he also fabbed a custom Cat-Back. Eibach springs, along with a set of 19-inch HP Design EVO wheels, give the car a slammed, g-Machine stance.
Some readers might recall meeting him or seeing his ride on the Hot Rod Power Tour in 2006. He could be seen having a great time while banging gears or rolling with his buddies from engineering school who had named themselves the Whirling Motion Rubbish Club. Because Bill has a nitrous setup, he is an honorary member of the club, and heads up the Reciprocating Motion Rubbish Club chapter. A little spirited driving made him a member of a new club, named "Honey I Broke the Car and Had to Leave it in Florida." Bill's engine said "negatory" to the 300 shot of nitrous. Quick to hear the death rattle, Bill shut it off, and was able to leave the car with his father who lived nearby. Flying home was a melancholy end for what had otherwise been a great time. Retrieved a few weeks later, the car sat for a while until Bill was able to find time to pull the engine and survey the damage. The engine was eventually freshened, and received a new set of forged slugs. Bill also went for the win/win, and went with a bigger cam. The engine cranked out a highly respectable, naturally aspirated 439 rear-wheel horsepower, and 650 rear-wheel horsepower on the jug.
All back together, and sporting a few new cosmetic upgrades in the form of an SS rear spoiler and an RS front chin spoiler, Bill was able to attend the following year in 2007. Much of the tour passed without incident until the spider gears in the stock posi broke in Springfield. It's inevitable that the factory 10-bolt won't survive long with more than 400 rear-wheel horsepower, but breaking a few states from home is never fun. Because he's a handy DIY guy, Bill quickly pulled the broken posi out in the parking lot of his hotel and drove around with a buddy in a desperate search for a replacement set of spider gears or a complete carrier. A few hours later, he was referred to a guy who was rumored to have a few shelves of rearend parts. Initially the trip was a bust, as the shop owner did not have anything that would work. Dejected, Bill was about to leave when the owner asked him if there were any teeth left on the spider gears. He realized where the guy was going with this; they might be able to weld the gears and make a "Lincoln Locker." Budget racers in times past would weld the gears to lock them, creating a makeshift spool. Two hours later, the shade tree locker was done, so Bill and his buddy raced back and put it together. It worked flawlessly. The car finished the entire event, and made it back home to Michigan.
Bill is quick to credit his wife Judi for putting up with his addiction to speed. When we asked him about the 2008 Power Tour, he says, "I will be going, but I better get a 12-bolt before then."
DATA FILE: 1995 Z28 CONVERTIBLE
|BLOCK:||stock LT1, bored .030 over|
|HEADS:||COMP Cams 236/242, .520/.540 lift, 112 LSA|
|PUSHRODS:||COMP Cams chrome-moly|
|ROCKER ARMS:||OEM 1.6 roller rockers|
|RODS:||Scat H beam|
|THROTTLE BODY:||TPIS 58mm|
|FUEL INJECTORS:||Ford 30 lb/hr|
|FUEL PUMP:||Walbro 255 lph|
|ENGINE MANAGEMENT:||OEM, tuned by PCMForLess|
|POWER ADDER:||Nitrous Express 300hp wet kit|
|EXHAUST SYSTEM:||Hooker long tubes; self-built 3.5-inch Cat-Back, DynoMax bullet|
|TRANSMISSION:||OEM T56, Fidanza flywheel, B&M Ripper shifter|
|FRONT SUSPENSION:||Eibach springs|
|REAR SUSPENSION:||Eibach springs; Spohn Panhard bar, torque arm, subframe connectors and lower control arms|
|REAREND:||OEM, 4.10 gears, with homemade Lincoln Locker|
|BRAKES:||Corvette Z06 front brakes|
|WHEELS:||HP Design EVO 19x8 front/custom-widened 19x11 rear|
|FRONT TIRES:||Toyo Proxes 235/35/19|
|REAR TIRES:||Toyo Proxes 315/25/19|
|RACE WEIGHT:||3,850 lbs|
|BEST ET/MPH:||11.2 at 130 mph|
|MILES DRIVEN WEEKLY:||50|