1969 Chevrolet Camaro-Bodied Funny Car

Connecting Rod

Ro McGonegal Aug 1, 2013 0 Comment(s)
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This is a race car. It has everything it needs and nothing it doesn't. It doesn't resemble your Camaro in any way. It swills exotic nitromethane by the gallon. It is a self-contained capsule that Jason Rupert pilots literally by the skin of his teeth. There is no tachometer, nothing monitoring the engine save an oil pressure gauge that wags in front of him like an accusing finger.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Inspired Funny Car Exhaust 2/20

You think your Camaro accelerates hard? Rupert fairly shimmers inside this booster rocket. Like a man who has experienced clinical death, he recounted his first brush with mortality. "I slammed the gas down. It was like a hammer hit me in the back of the head, it was so fast. I thought if something happens I'm going to crash. It was much more than I thought it was going to be. With these cars, you never know what is going to happen."

His motivation had nothing to do with braking or handling. Like some of you, he built the car to do one thing extremely well. It was about going as fast as hell in a straight line. He wanted to capture the NHRA Heritage Series, all the while having a good time with his family and friends. Briefly, the Heritage is the embodiment of Nostalgia Funny Car ('79 and earlier body style), whose constituents actually replicate the cars they shadow, unlike contemporary Funny Cars that look the same, each one a pitiful monstrosity that bears little resemblance to the car they are supposed to mimic. It's difficult to identify with them when they are difficult to identify.

When asked about the unique feature of his car, Rupert said, "How much the body resembles a '69 Camaro even though it sits on a modern Fuel Funny Car chassis." In fact, the body was constructed in 2010 and bound to the newest and latest safety equipment, like dual 'chutes, hood burst panels, and an escape hatch on the roof. The rest of the "rules" are loose, much the same as they were in the old days. One of the mandates is the capacity of the fuel system. The belt-driven (1:1) Sid Waterman pump delivers 21 gallons at 8,000 rpm to the Enderle bird catcher.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Inspired Funny Car Rear Right 6/20

Jason's circle of family and friends form a broad palette that includes dad, Frank, (majority of the machine work); Ed Vanderwoude; Matt Bynum; Devery Howard; Brad Littlefield; Felipe Jiminez; Phillip Cook; Billy Payne; Dave Schwartz; James Hughes; Greg Vanderwende; Danny Douglas; Jack Rainwater; Matthew Rupert; and Craig McKee, who did all the fabrication and assembly.

Jason didn't come by his avocation accidently. Dad raced Top Fuel in the '60s when his son was 5. Dad teamed with Richard Bays to field Black Plague, the first Vega-bodied Funny Car. Years later, Rupert the younger went to Australia with Gary Densham and they operated Densham's AA/FC. On his return, Jason sought his license and progressed to Top Alcohol Dragster. A couple of cars later, he ran the Camaro you see here but on alcohol, not nitromethane. He qualified for the show at the NHRA Winternationals but went out in the first round. Concurrently, Infineon Raceway's Dave Schwartz was trying to throw a bright light on the Nostalgia form and aspect. Jason fell for it like a ton, kissed nitro on both cheeks, and has never looked back.

Given its purpose, this Camaro wouldn't be able to take a corner at 40 mph, but it'll skin quarter-mile tarmac in a whisker over 5.5 seconds. And it takes an engine with hemispherical cylinder heads and a big, fat roots-type supercharger to make that happen. Brad Anderson Enterprises (BAE) figures heavily in this project.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Inspired Funny Car Front 7/20




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