Eric Agase's 1968 Camaro isn't your average Pro Street car built solely to cruise the fairgrounds. It’s a car with a long racing history that hasn’t left its Illinois residence for the last 47 years. As early as the 1970s, this car was tearing up the strip with a killer small-block. It changed hands a few times and eventually ended up in the hands of famed former Pro Stock racer Willie Devore. Willie transformed it into a back-half car for Super Stock competition, and he raced it through the early 1980s. From there, it moved upstate and the car was run through up until the mid-1980s in the E Modified class with a high-winding, 288ci, naturally aspirated small-block. This is where that track-ripping personality of the beast was developed and still holds true in its current life.
Eric gave the car a complete makeover in the late-1980s to celebrate the street-car roots the car can trace as its origin. He also designed the custom paint job, which was laid down around 1988. That was followed by a few chassis updates at the historic S&D Racecars of Zion, Illinois (now known as Pit Pal Products), and it was ready to go. To this day, the skillfully crafted chrome-moly rollcage still passes NHRA tech specs for an 8.50 certification.
Eric’s primary goal was to have a fast hot rod on the track, but be able to jump in and drive it anywhere. Eric decided he needed big-block power to help make that happen. MPG Racing Engines out of highland Park, Illinois, was entrusted to put together the pump-gas 540 Chevy. Rick from MPG started with a Dart block and then filled it with an impressive list of parts, including a Callies DragonSlayer crank and rods, a Comp cam, and Cloyes timing pieces. ARP bolts hold everything together. He topped this all with a pair of CNC-machined Brodix heads, some sheetmetal valve covers, and a Kinsler Dragon Claw stack injection unit.
Even with mild 10.6:1 compression, this still adds up to an easy, naturally aspirated, 825 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel. That is good enough to propel this Camaro to 9.0-second e.t.’s in the quarter-mile at 140 mph. By day, Eric, a tree service operator, spends a lot of his time up in the air. During race season, he spends his free time chopping trees down at the strip. And and he does it all while pulling the levers on his street Lenco. That’s right, a badass 9-second street car with a McLeod clutch and man shifters, and it gets 9 mpg cruising on the street. Helping put that power down comes from another Illinois-based company, Strange Engineering. One of its 9-inch Ford rearends was fitted with 4.10 gears, and the Moser axles are being controlled by Koni double-adjustable shocks and a custom antiroll bar.
While quick on the strip, Eric really enjoys the streetability of this all-steel car, which he puts to the test on local cruise nights, as well as on the Hot Rod Power Tour. Backroad cruising is made more comfortable by the repurposed Porsche seats in the otherwise original interior. Equipped with Lamb brakes all around, this 3,300-pound Ccamaro has no problem slowing down in a hurry, if needed. Sitting on classic American Racing Torque Thrust wheels wrapped in 31x18.5 Mickey Thompson tires in the rear round out the menacing look and give it the period stance.
These days, Eric puts about 1,000street miles on the Camaro every year. After countless awards and years of reliability, it’s safe to say Eric accomplished everything he set out to do with his throwback-themed Camaro, and he plans to hold on to it for a long time to come.