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This 1968 Camaro Fuses Sports Car Handling with Muscle Car Power

Red Right Hand: A philistine among the chosen ones

Ro McGonegal Jan 10, 2017
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California was once the mecca of fearless hot rods, and was a champion of all things liberal and laid-back. Now, the center has moved mightily away to all parts of the nation where things aren’t so liberal and some of the hot rods are ferocious, and most metro areas have at least one custom-car building emporium within spitting distance. Such proliferation naturally attracts a wider, broader customer base, and a lot of those buyers are apt to not be hands-on hot rodders themselves. They want one of them, though, maybe to add a schizoid streak to their polished collection.

Take the case of Tom Mazzetta. Though reticent to reveal anything of a personal nature or exact geographical location, we were told that even though he favors exotics, it occurred to him that a “classic” muscle car would fit his puzzle and complement his collection as well.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Front 2/73
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Side 3/73

According to car builder Jeremy Gerber, “He wanted to fuse together a cross between American muscle and exotic sports car. His idea was to build a bullet he could thrash the bejeezus out of and have plenty of horsepower for the street. He came to us looking to build a car that blended modern style, performance, and creature comforts with an original muscle car. To encapsulate the project, he called the car Fused.” No strangers to CHP, Jeremy and his brother Phil run the Roadster Shop (RS) in Mundelein, Illinois, and have a well-beaten path to their door.

Prime vendors in this endeavor include the engine guys at Wegner Motorsports and the poets at Paul Atkins Interiors. Besides being a savvy shop, RS keeps tabs on cars and parts and it already stocks spare stuff to be used at will. They began the project with a solid ’68 Camaro shell that was already stripped to the metal.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Suspension 4/73

With high-rate handling in mind, the Camaro was a natural for a sturdy, rigid RS Fast Track chassis to give it parity with Tom’s Porsches, and this version features an independent rear suspension system. Though the brand of the components is arbitrary, Tom’s Pro Tourer went top-shelf with Penske dampers surrounded by Hypercoil springs, splined antisway bars, and Driveshaft Shop 300M halfshafts built specially for the IRS. The front of the Fast Track is supported by C6 Corvette spindles; the remainder of the bits are the same as those used at the rear of the car. The Roadster Shop has since gravitated to contrasting yellow Baer six-piston “RS Edition” calipers over 14-inch discs.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Engine Bay 5/73
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Engine 6/73

Wegner Motorsports built the 7.0-liter engine with a Callies forged crankshaft and connecting rods and Mahle 11.0:1 pistons. They capped the block with CNC-ported LSA cylinder heads fitted with Manley valves, PSI springs, and Trend pushrods. As is their policy, Wegner declines to reveal either the maker of the hydraulic camshaft or the phasing therein. A FAST LSX intake manifold hosts a 102mm throttle body. The ECU is a Holley HP Dominator. An automatic transmission would be anathema, so RS had Bowler Performance blueprint a T-56 Magnum.

 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Wheel 7/73

The paint and exaggerated stance is powerful and the style of the wheels and their treatment absolutely bond the image, creating a Camaro distinctly different from any other of the overdone first-gen series. No mean feat, that. Those ADV.1 ADV08 Track Spec hoops are three-piece 19x9.5 and 19x12, hugged by 265/30 and 345/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

On the styling side, that sensational shell just didn’t up and do itself. RS sectioned and tucked the bumpers and fabbed front and rear lower valances to accommodate. They built the air dam and the spoiler out of aluminum sheet and they pocketed the door handles. They worked up the honeycomb grille section on the CNC axis. Illumination lasers from Adjure Ice headlights and Marquez Design Rally Sport 3D rear lights. They split the line in the front fenders with a machined emblem and they customized the body further, machining “Camaro” in the rear panel. The outside mirrors were pirated from a second-gen F-body. They finished it off with BMW Sakhir Orange that looks good enough to nuzzle.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Interior 8/73
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Interior 9/73

In the man-pit, the atmosphere is subdued, elegant, and as finely detailed as any of the spaces in Tom’s rare-metal imports. The cats in Hanceville, Alabama, ran an American Autowire loom, blanketed the floor in Boom Mat, and finished it off in German square-weave carpeting. They crafted the door panels. They began with the stock dashboard and added vents and a central stereo niche by filling in the ashtray and area surrounding. Atkins iced it with a custom, leather-wrapped dashpad and Recaro Sportster seats swathed in leather.

There are probably more exciting places to be than in the cockpit of Fused, but we can’t think where they might be.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Rear Side 10/73

Tech Check
Owner: Tom Mazzetta, Illinois
Vehicle: 1968 Camaro
Engine
Type: LS7
Displacement: 427 ci
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Bore: 4.125 inches
Stroke: 4.000 inches
Cylinder Heads: LSA, CNC-ported, Manley 2.160/1.590 valves, 68cc combustion chambers
Rotating Assembly: Callies Compstar 4340 crankshaft, Callies Ultra connecting rods, Mahle forged pistons
Valvetrain: OE 1.7:1 rocker arms w/ upgraded trunnions, PSI valvesprings, Trend pushrods, Wegner Motorsports (hidden coil) rocker covers
Camshaft: Hydraulic roller (specs proprietary)
Induction: FAST LSX intake manifold, 102mm throttle body, K&N air cleaner, Rock Valley 20-gallon fuel tank
Ignition: Holley HP ECM
Exhaust: Ultimate Headers 1 7/8-inch primary pipes, 3-inch stainless, Borla XR-1 mufflers
Ancillaries: Ron Davis aluminum core, Wegner accessory drive
Output (est.): 640 hp
Machine Work: Wegner Motorsports (Markesan, WI)
Built by: Wegner Motorsports
Tuner: Wegner Motorsports
Drivetrain
Transmission: TREMEC Magnum T-56, LS7 pressure plate and flywheel
Rear Axle: Roadster Shop (RS), Strange Engineering centersection and 3.90:1 gearset, Eaton Truetrac differential, Driveshaft Shop 300M halfshafts, VRN aluminum driveshaft
Chassis
Front Suspension: RS Fast Track chassis, C6 spindles, Hypercoil coilover springs, Penske Racing shocks, splined antisway bar
Rear Suspension: RS Fast Track independent system, Hypercoil coilover springs, Penske Racing shocks, RS splined antisway bar
Brakes: Baer RS Edition 14-inch rotors, six-piston calipers front and rear
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: ADV.1 ADV08 Track Spec 19x9.5 front, 19x12 rear
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/30 front, 345/30 rear
Interior
Upholstery: Paul Atkins Interiors (Hanceville, AL)
Material: Leather
Seats: Recaro Sportster
Steering: ididit column, Momo Prototipo wheel
Shifter: Roadster Shop
Dash: Stock with vents and center stereo location, Paul Atkins custom leather dashpad
Instrumentation: Dakota Digital VHX
Audio: Alpine head unit, MB Quartz 6-inch front and 6x9-inch rear speakers
HVAC: Vintage Air
Exterior
Bodywork: RS
Paint by: RS
Paint: PPG BMW Sakhir Orange
Hood: OE
Grille: Custom honeycomb
Bumpers: Sectioned and tucked front and rear

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