Like you, Kyle Busch is a car guy. He digs muscle cars, and is particularly fond of 1969 Camaros. Now, unlike you, Kyle spends a few weekends a year in his company car banging fenders, doors, and quarter-panels with 42 of his “favorite” colleagues at upwards of 200 mph in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. One can only hope his company covers the cost of fuel and tires, not to mention offering one hell of an auto insurance policy.
When he’s not hanging lefts in his 725hp Toyota Camry-bodied Cup Car around the most famous racetracks in America at around 9,000 rpm, he prefers to slow life down a little when driving his immaculate Detroit Speed-built 1969 Camaro.
We’d like to give you a low-down, dirty tale about how Kyle found this car behind a broken-down shack rotting away under an old apricot tree near some backroad in South Carolina, but we’d be lying to spice up this here story.
The reality is that Kyle had previously owned a stock 1969 Camaro, but the poor handling, lack of braking and acceleration eventually overshadowed the initial excitement of driving a cool vintage muscle car. “I wanted to drive a classic muscle car that would keep my attention,” informs Kyle. “So I searched the Internet for another ’69 that I could build and upgrade with modern LS power and aftermarket suspension. Although barn finds are becoming a more rare occurrence these days, this was exactly what I came across. It sounds totally cliché, but this car had been sitting in a barn in Terre Haute, Indiana, for over 20 years with only 37,000 original miles on it. No rust or dents, just a thick layer of dust. The car was in immaculate condition. If I had to say anything negative about the car it would have to be the fact that it was blue – blue exterior, blue interior, blue wheels – just a sea of blue,” Kyle continues with a half-cracked smile. “I hate blue.”
To drive the cliché even further, the car was being sold by an older lady whose husband had passed away and left her the car. Having no idea of its worth, she had her son research how much money immaculate, dent-free, ’69 Camaros were going for at the time. She shyly threw out a price tag of $30,000. Top dollar? Maybe so, but attraction had already set in – Kyle laid down the “Benjamins.” “When I counted out the money,” Kyle remembers, “the lady told me she had never seen than much cash before.”
Nether have most of us…
“First thing I did was take the car to Kyle Tucker at Detroit Speed Inc. in Mooresville, North Carolina, and told him I wanted to totally gut it and have his team do it up right,” tells Kyle (Busch). “Kyle (Tucker) quietly walked around the car, carefully surveying its condition and realizing the quality before him. He then questioned my sanity just to make sure I absolutely wanted to cut into a car this nice. I did. Besides, I couldn’t wait to get rid of the blue. I always wanted a silver Camaro with flat-black stripes. Oh, and it had to be fast.”
Tucker and the DSE crew fired up the welders and cutters and got busy on a two-year journey of slicing, stitching, and upgrading their way through one more killer Pro Touring F-body. The streets of North Carolina, also known as NASCAR Country, would soon be home to one more kick-ass classic Camaro.
A bored (4.125) and stroked (4.00) supercharged Katech 427ci LS7 was employed to power the menacing street machine. The Katech mill is armed with GM aluminum heads and a custom-ground cam, while 9.1:1-compression pistons hang from a Callies rotating assembly. A polished M122HH Magnuson supercharger force-feeds the GM fuel-injection system while waste runs its course through a pair of DSE 1 7/8-inch Calico internally coated headers. A custom DSE exhaust and Borla XR-1 muffler system attempt to suppress the controlled mayhem.
Straight from the DSE playbook, the coil packs are mounted near the oil pan, contributing to the engine bay’s clean appearance. A custom-built DSE accessory drive system resides up front tucked neatly behind an aluminum Be Cool radiator.
DSE takes great pride in quality and performance, so an engine that looks this good had better to speak volumes. This one does. We’re talking about an asphalt-melting 706 hp and 674 lb-ft of torque. We’d venture to say this tire fryer shouts its presence among its peers.
RPM Transmissions (Anderson, Indiana) massaged the Tremec T-56 six-speed, while a Centerforce DYAD twin-disc clutch ensures seamless high-rpm gear changes. A 3-inch Dynotech driveshaft brings the twist to a DSE-prepped 9-inch rearend loaded with a Truetrac differential and 3.89 cogs.
To further keep Kyle’s driving attention, he went top shelf in the suspension department. Namely, a DSE hydroformed front subframe armed with their spindles and A-arms, while the business end consists of a QUADRALink rear suspension system. The coilover arrangement is damped with JRi double-adjustable shocks and DSE springs. Subframe connectors were torched between for additional structural composure, and solid body mounts offer more compliant handling and near instant feedback to the driver.
Rushforth polished Livewire wheels set the exterior stage (18x10 front; 18x12 rear) while BFG KDW rubber ensures clutch cornering performance (275/35 front and 335/30 rear). A pair of mini-tubs broadens the landscape to accommodate the intrusive rear skins.
Wilwood stoppers join the outfit featuring 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers on the front side and 14-inchers and four-piston clampers don the rear.
Kyle conducts business via a captain’s quarters comprised of form, function, and style. The performance scene begins with black and gray leather Recaro Specialist seats fashioned with Schroth Racing’s five-point harnesses anchored by a DSE shoulder harness bar built into the quarter-panel area. Hot Rod Interiors’ Chuck Hanna laid the foundation with black Daytona weave carpet while working in the custom black and gray door panels. With the center console deleted, a titanium DSE shifter protrudes from the custom-fabbed trans tunnel. Black-faced, recessed Auto Meter Sport Comp II gauges and Vintage Air control panel reside within the custom steel dash insert just beyond the Budnik steering wheel.
Rocking the cab is a potent audio system featuring a Kenwood head unit while a JL Audio four-channel 150-watt amp juices pair of JL Audio 6-inch speakers in the kick panels and 6.5-inch two-ways in the package tray. A trunk-hidden 10-inch sub contributes to the rolling thunder.
DSE’s Michael Neighbors prepped the body and doused the sheetmetal with PPG Silver and matte-black stripes, while fabricators Aaron Elenbaum and Paul Morgan tucked and smoothed the front and rear bumpers. Advanced Plating brought them back to life.
So, did Kyle Busch take a perfectly sound survivor and upset the restoration tribes? No doubt about it. Like many of us, Kyle Busch doesn’t pay much attention to 100-point grading systems or matching numbers. He’s more concerned with horsepower and torque numbers … and the 42 other cars he’s tracking in his rearview mirror.