You’ve probably heard of muscle cars referred to as Pro Street, Street/Strip, Pro Touring, and Street Machines, but we bet you’ve never heard of Show/Strip. What is Show/Strip? Glad you asked. If you looked it up in your handy-dandy muscle car dictionary you would find a picture of Kathy Hoover’s 1969 Camaro Z/28. Her Chevy was built to handle a lot more than just the local car show—it was also built to race.
Each person builds their muscle car with varying degrees of versatility, but typically they only have one purpose in mind, whether that’s going fast in a straight line, cruising the boulevard on a Friday night, or wowing the crowds at a show. Inevitably, muscle cars of the late ’60s check at least a couple of those boxes, but they really don’t excel in more than one area. Kathy’s car, on the other hand, placed First in the Pro Street category at both the Detroit Autorama and the World of Wheels car shows while also competing in the grueling Hot Rod Drag Week all within the first year after the car was built. The fact that her Camaro is so capable in the car show arena and at the dragstrip means we saw no other option than to create a new category in which to place it. Hence, Show/Strip.
Now that that’s all out of the way, we can move on to how this car gained such impressive qualities. It all started way back when at the now-closed U.S. 30 Dragstrip outside Gary, Indiana, where Kathy started working as a 15-year-old. “I loved the look of the race cars and the speed,” says Kathy. That’s also where she ended up meeting her husband, Don, who bought her the ’69 at the end of his bracket racing season in 1981. The car was an 11.80-second bracket racer that just finished its season also. They put the Camaro into storage in November of that year with plans to install a Powerglide—replacing a four-speed—for Kathy. Unfortunately, just two months later the facility caught fire. The Camaro was fine, but they were forced to put it into another storage unit, where it sat for the next 35 years.
“I finally told him,” Kathy said, “that we need to do something with the car.” It had been too long and she had two things left on her bucket list to complete. First, she wanted to finish the car she had hoped to build so long ago and second, she wanted to compete in Hot Rod Drag Week.
Kathy and Don searched around for a place to have her dream Camaro built and eventually landed on Rocky Troxell and his shop called US12 Speed & Custom. They took care of everything, from the drivetrain install to paint and body.
The shop didn’t have free rein to do whatever they wanted with the car though. Kathy did her homework beforehand and knew exactly how she wanted the car to turn out. “My husband said I wouldn’t be able to change my mind, so I had to think everything through,” Kathy said. And think everything through she did.
For the purpose of reliable power, Kathy decided to use a Chevrolet Performance Connect and Cruise package complete with a 525-horse LS3 tied to a 4L70E transmission. Transferring power to the wheels is taken care of via a 9-inch with 4.88 gears and a 35-spline spool. To bring the Camaro down from speed, Kathy went with 14-inch, two-piston Wilwood disc brakes all around.
She had US12 convert the front suspension to struts with rack-and-pinion steering and the rear to a four-link setup. To complete the new suspension, Kathy went to Strange Engineering for spindles, shocks, and springs in the front and shocks and springs in the rear. US12 also fabricated a 12-point rollbar out of 1 1/2-inch chromoly tubing for the ’69 Camaro to make sure it met on-track safety requirements.
Kathy spent days going back and forth in her head about all the little details trying to make sure everything would be just right. But there was only one detail that she never had to worry about from the very beginning: the paint. She always knew that deep, dark green was the right color and PPG delivered with their Fathom Green paint.
US12 took care of cleaning up the rest of the exterior and helping it complement the car’s deep, dark pigment. This was achieved by trimming, narrowing, and removing the factory bolts, which protrude out of the front and rear factory bumpers and styling them up in brushed nickel. They also painted the grille satin black and made custom blackout taillights to bring everything together. Kathy and US12 got creative in the front and yanked out the stock headlights and instead used a pair of Harley Davidson lights. Last but certainly not least, the wheels. She scored a set of one-off wheels from Hot Rods by Boyd measuring 18x7 in the front and a sizeable 20x12 out back. Obviously, there was no way Kathy would be able to find a matching set of tires for the fronts and rears, so she used Mickey Thompsons in the front and Nittos in the rear.
Inside the Z/28, Kathy kept things pretty minimalistic—it is a race car after all. The main talking points include the aforementioned rollcage, Kirkey Racing Fabrication seats, Auto Meter gauges, and a B&M Stealth Pro Ratchet shifter.
Throughout the entire build process, the guys at US12 would joke around saying the car was really for Don. Having none of it, Kathy convinced them it would really be hers so they nicknamed the Camaro the “She 28.”
After the 18-month build was complete she saw the car for the very first time at the 2016 Detroit Autorama. The guys from US12 Speed & Custom had asked Kathy if they could hold onto her Camaro until the Autorama for a big reveal. “It was hard not to see the car,” Kathy remembers, “but I couldn’t say no to this great group of guys who worked so hard on this project.” On the Friday before the show, shop fabricator Billy Dinges met her at the entrance and with Rocky in front, led her to the She 28. Before even seeing the car, Kathy started crying. But once the car was in front of her, she recalls, “Through all the tears, I could see her beauty.”
|Owner:||Kathy Hoover, Hobart, Indiana|
|Vehicle:||1969 Camaro Z/28|
|Type:||Chevrolet Performance LS3|
|Cylinder Heads:||GM aluminum L92-style|
|Rotating Assembly:||Nodular iron GM crankshaft, powdered metal connecting rods, hypereutectic aluminum pistons|
|Valvetrain:||OE, cast roller 1.7:1 rocker arms|
|Camshaft:||OE steel hydraulic roller (226/236-deg. duration at 0.050; 0.525/0.525-inch lift)|
|Exhaust:||3-inch custom fabricated by US12 Speed & Custom (New Buffalo, MI)|
|Ancillaries:||Aluminum water pump, 1,227-cfm 12-inch straight-blade fan, aluminum radiator, OE serpentine belt drive system|
|Machine Work:||United Auto Workers (Detroit, MI)|
|Transmission:||2015 GM 4L70E, 3,500-stall FTI Competition torque converter|
|Rear Axle:||9-inch, 4.88 gearset, 35-spline spool|
|Frame:||12-point chromoly rollbar by US12 Speed & Custom|
|Front Suspension:||Strange Engineering spindles, shocks, and springs|
|Rear Suspension:||Strange Engineering shocks and springs|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 14-inch rotors and two-piston calipers front and rear|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||Hot Rods by Boyd 18x7 front, 20x12 rear|
|Tires:||Mickey Thompson Sport SR 26x8.00 front, Nitto NT420S 305/50 rear|
|Upholstery:||US12 Speed & Custom|
|Seats:||Kirkey Racing Fabrication Pro Street|
|Shifter:||B&M Stealth Pro Ratchet|
|Bodywork:||Brett Miller at US12 Speed & Custom|
|Paint by:||Brett Miller|
|Paint:||PPG Fathom Green|
|Hood:||OE with Billet Specialties aluminum hinges|
|Grille:||OE painted satin black|
|Bumpers:||Trimmed and narrowed with bolts removed, brushed nickel|