The cost of everything is becoming worrisome at least and absolutely frightening at best and there is certainly no realm that has not been affected. You name it; it costs grievously more today than it did just a year ago. So when discretionary income is at stake, the stakes will escalate like Jack’s beanstalk.
You want to make an “investment” but you need to know every possible nit and pitfall. You want to visit the venue. You want to experience the ride. You want to talk to as many involved parties as possible before committing your soul and your bankroll (or maybe the kids’ college funds). That is exactly what 46-year-old DeWayne Spiess did when he contemplated building his ’69 Camaro. Luckily, the college fund wasn’t an issue.
DeWayne wanted something very fast and very evil, not for straight-line antics, but for autocross annihilation. He did his field-work and found himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Detroit Speed’s Stacy Tucker in one of her Camaros at a Goodguys Kansas City event. The snake ride jazzed him. The hook arced in deeply. Detroit’s products would grace his Camaro. Then, there was some reminiscence.
A few years prior, DeWayne had worked with Bobby Schumacher finishing a car at Vintage Fabrication in Independence, Missouri. The experience was so satisfying that DeWayne had no compunction about doing it again. Bobby’s enthusiasm and attention to detail were without parallel, as you will see. There’s not much that didn’t get massaged; some details are obvious but many are not, the succinct mark of a mature builder who trashed the cookie-cutter mentality a long time ago.
DeWayne found a worthy candidate and Vintage made it whole with new sheetmetal. Then they did the custom work, shaving, splicing, and fabricating to make subtle, thought-provoking changes that will keep this Camaro fresh, crisp, and cogent for decades. The paint is a small story in itself. Originally, Bobby loosely based his idea for the scheme on the ’10 Hurst Camaro—matte white with black stripes. Meanwhile, at a Barrett-Jackson soiree in Scottsdale, Arizona, he was polarized by a Galpin Auto Sports rides cloaked in a complete custom orange mix. He was sold. Galpin was reluctant (several times) to divulge the paint codes over the phone, so when DeWayne visited his son in San Diego he side-tripped north to Van Nuys, met a very nice group of enthusiasts, made nice … and departed with the hallowed soup recipe.
That is one of the Camaro’s distinctions. Another is the trademark shape of its seats. While being comfortable as well as supportive, the buckets don’t look like anything a serious autocrosser might wear. Maybe it’s because they actually look like seats rather than the spare, unyielding, hard-spine units found in most specialty performance cars, but the rollbar adds credence.
The advent of Chevrolet Performance LS crate motors has been a boon to the car builder. Has all the good stuff in an aluminum cylinder case and in several strengths and varieties. DeWayne chose an LS9. Red Line Racing stretched the original 376-inch displacement to a rosy 427, enabled by a forged rotating assembly. In real life, the LS9 is supercharged but it wasn’t enough for our protagonist. He wanted fast andevil. He found it ready to leap vicious from a pair of turbochargers—easy on the engine, quiet in operation, and capable of terrifying power.
So how did this all work out? Since the one-and-half-year build was completed in October ’13, DeWayne ran the autocross at the Goodguys Indy event and received Best Street Machine at the ’13 World of Wheels. That’s putting his best big foot forward.