What can you say about a car that's this green?
No, it hasn't got a catalytic-equipped, electronically controlled "green" engine that you may have read about but never heard.
Then there's British Racing Green. Then there's green on a race car. Considered bad luck, that. Zach's Camaro is another thing altogether. That inky dark fairly presses down on it, weights it with an authority that is chilling and absolute. It is certainly an extension of the owner's philosophy but not necessarily of his demeanor. Zach's a lover, not a fighter. He's a 46-year-old casting director, blues musician, and he is mechanically minded. He teamed up with friend Kal Treiman at KMF (Kal Metal Fabrication) in Ventura, California, to make this elegantly understated project viable and compelling in its detail and simplicity.
Of course, the story is a long one. Zach bought it from the original owner, "an older blues musician from Mississippi called Scotty. We used to play in a band together and have been friends for many years," offered Zach. "The car was on blocks in South Los Angeles. It was rough and dented and needed everything. It even had a bullet hole in the passenger door, but Scotty could not affirm the date or circumstance. I wanted it bad."
Zach forked over $1,200 and began the disassembly dance at home. "I sandblasted the shell in my garage, which turned into the neighborhood litter box for a while." Then, for whatever the fate, work just stopped and the shell lay in repose for a 'bunch of years.'" We all know how that goes. He's had the car for 16 years.
"Maybe four or five years ago," said Zach, "Kal and I pulled [the car] out for the resurrection. Since it was a 327 non-SS mutt, we had no compunction about modifying it to our taste. I wanted a car I could pound the streets with instead of it staying pristine. And I do."
Part of the modern pastiche is the 376ci L92 engine. Zach plucked his from a crumpled road whale 'Sclade and modified it to taste in the vintage style. Call it a mild hop-up. He attached ARP hardware everywhere, left the rotating internals original, but like it would have been in the day, he gave it a bumpier camshaft, upped the compression a skosh, and put a carburetor on top of it.
The car was on blocks in South Los Angeles. It was rough and dented and needed everything.
The COMP stick (from Scoggin-Dickey) is a custom hydraulic grind and required 7.425-inch long pushrods. Voltage jolts from an MSD box that's mounted behind the dashboard and wired to the motor with a 31-pin aerospace connector through the firewall. Though he could have used just about any configuration here, Zach shot for a single-plane GM intake manifold and an Advanced Engine Design 750 HO carburetor that passes 780 cfm and takes nourishment from an Edelbrock electric pump. The heat-wrapped headers have 1 3/4-inch primaries that dump into a full-length 3-inch system plumbed with a crossover. He dressed the motor out with a trick Ventura Speed Center accessory drive featuring a low-mount A/C compressor. Just in case there's some kinda shoot-'em up, estimated output is 580 hp at 6,800 rpm. Put another way, that would equate to easy mid-11s on street tires.
Since a two-speed automatic would not do, we find another modern touch in the Tremec T56 as assembled by Keisler Engineering. No mention of the pressure plate/flywheel combo, but the bellhousing is a GM item. Keisler helped some more with a custom driveshaft that Zach connected to the Diff Works (Corona, California) 12-bolt fitted with 3.73s and a positive traction device.
Zach wisely determined it would be better to have chassis and brakes matched to power and torque, a combination that would allow him to exploit his output in a rugged, well-balanced package. He started the changes with ATS spindles and conformed them to Specialty Products Company adjustable upper control arms and matching tubular lower members. He fabbed some upper shock mounting points and filled the void with adjustable Alston coilover VariShocks. He set to temper body roll with a hollow 1 1/8-inch diameter bar up front. For the rear real estate he chose Detroit Speed's impeccable QUADRALink setup, Koni coilovers, and tied the car together with through-the-floor subframe connections, firewall-to-subframe rails and a rollbar through the trunk.
At 13 inches in diameter, the six-pot Wilwood energy-burners are the largest that would live happily within the 17-inch E-T Classic V hoops. The rubber is Kumho Ecsta XS. At front, Zach rides with an 8-inch width and 255/40; the backyard hogs are 335/35 on an 11-inch rim. Both have a custom offset. This application is superlative and enhances the look like no other wheel could. As an aside, the dynamic duo spent many, many hours researching on the 'net and assimilating vintage magazines to get the right look with the right parts and application. You will note that Zach and Kal didn't include the usual wheel center cap but machined an outline of the spider and left the center hole open. A la Trans-Am, the wheel studs are extra long, the lugs extra large.
The boys attacked the exterior with subtle gloves. They erased the side markers, custom-built a front valance to house the outsized driving lights, put up a custom valance at the rear to accommodate the exhaust openings, fitted the rear bumper in tight, fashioned a pair of bumperettes for the front and had Ventura Speed Center move the fuel filler to the top of the fender with a quick-release. The grille and the fake-out flat hood have been on the car forever. Faith Plating in Hollywood rejuvenated the chromium and Ajax Welding in Van Nuys did the powdercoating. For the dress-up, the Camaro went south to fabled Lanzini Body Works in Huntington Beach. Proprietor Mitch (a heavy on Overhaulin') smoothed the sheets and applied the two-stage Glen Green coat.
Deep in the green room, Zach is backed by a Competition Engineering 'cage as adapted by Kal Treiman. And aside from the obvious purpose, it forms the anchor for the Simpson harnesses. Dan Borunda at Stitch Works covered the factory seats-part modified and part fabricated-with leather. The OE door and side panels are vinyl. Zach tapped ACC for the floor covering and early on, Ventura Speed had crafted a six-gauge rack for the Stewart-Warner ancillaries. Zach filled the main pods with an Auto Meter speedometer and tach. He did his own audio show with a Custom Autosound head and included an iPod. The critical un-programmed items are the Corvette steering wheel and the Hurst gear changer.
So what about that green car now? As per Zach: "No bling, just a vintage Trans American-type car. My best thoughts about it? There are two. The first time I twisted the key and fired it up, followed very closely by driving it for the first time after all those years of it sitting and going nowhere. Kal and I really did the build, from start to finish." Could you slide that bottleneck one more time, please?