David Burroughs knew what he wanted the minute he laid eyes on it. “My neighbor Donnie Buckler brought home a sweet ’69 Camaro Z/28 with a 302 in it, and from that moment on, that was the car of my dreams,” states David. Well, we can’t say we blame him one bit, as that particular Chevy has turned many a young hot rodder into a true Camaro devotee for the last 50 years.
Over his formative years, David started on his way to becoming a true Camaro devotee. After going to a number of Super Chevy shows, the local tracks, and even the events at the convention center in Washington, D.C., he drew up a mental plan of what he would want in his own Chevy pony ride. So, naturally, when David finally got the chance to score a Camaro of his own, these ideas would meld into his ultimate dream ride.
He loved seeing a big blower through the hood, and he knew that was a “must” on any Camaro he would call his own. Fat tires looked mean, and showed that you had the power to torque and twist them to launch off the starting line. And last but not least, to burn up those fatties out back, he needed big-block power under the hood for his Camaro. And as far as David was concerned, there would be no exceptions.
About 10 years ago, after looking for a suitable starting point for his dream Camaro for some time, David’s brother Dennis spotted an interesting ’69 at Winegardner Chevrolet, a few miles from their home in Fort Washington, Maryland. A new car dealership is usually not the first place you look for a project car for your next build, but the nicely appointed car was brought in on a trade for a new Chevy and was priced right. David knew the minute he laid eyes on it that he could massage this ride into a car he could call his own; and possibly even a show winner. He quickly struck a deal with the sales team; there was no turning back.
The Camaro was in excellent shape, with a fresh paintjob and some substantial rubber out back. It was back-halved by the previous owner and had a ladder bar suspension installed already. So he got on it immediately, cleaning up some aesthetic flaws on the Chevy and putting his touch on some of the pertinent parts. He added a tunnel-ram to the car’s big-block setup, some tubular A-arms up front, and installed some sweet Mickey Thompson meats out back. It was a nice start but David was just trying to avoid the inevitable. What he really wanted was a “Big-Block, Chromed-out, Giant-Sized Blower Motor” sticking out of the hood. It was something he had always dreamed of, and deep down he knew he wouldn’t be happy until he had one for his very own Camaro.
So David did the right thing and sat down with his wife to explain why he needed a 468-cubic-inch engine sticking out of the hood of his car. For some this would not go so well, but luckily David’s wife, JoAnn, is a saint, and agreed that this potent Chevy powerplant would make them both very happy. What a wife! Now armed with her blessing, David quickly made a phone call to Big Al’s Toy Box up in Connecticut and ordered the engine that would put this Camaro over the top … and then some.
The engine started out as a 454, which was then punched out to 468. The four-bolt main block is loaded with an Eagle 4340 steel crank, Eagle H-beam rods, and Probe 8.5:1 forged pistons. A Comp Cam 651/651 roller cam and double roller timing chain get the valves jumping in tune. The cylinders are topped with Chevrolet Performance 115cc rectangular port aluminum heads built up with Manley 2.25/1.88 stainless steel valves, Comp Cams Pro Magnum stainless roller rockers, chrome-moly retainers and locks, and a set of Comp Cams hardened pushrods. ARP screw-in studs and head bolts hold it all together.
A Mallory ignition gets the spark out on this beast. A polished aluminum timing cover and chrome oil pan add a little bling to the build. But the biggest chunk of eye candy here is the polished 8-71 billet supercharger sitting up top, complete with a Funny Car-style 3-inch billet drivebelt guard. Feeding this machine is a pair of 750-cfm Quick Fuel blow-through carburetors. It dyno’d at a healthy 800+ horsepower, and that was before the 200hp shot of nitrous was added. Engine tuning and nitrous work was done by Jim Lumpower. All this muscle car goodness is fed through a rebuilt Turbo 400 to do the shifting.
The ample power is then fed to a hefty Ford 9-inch rear out back, stuffed with 4.30 gears and spinning Moroso axles. They put the power to a pair of super-wide Cragar SS 15x15 wheels (custom built by Cragar through Jegs) shod in 31x18 Mickey Thompson meats to grip the track when they are called on. The car rides on Wilwood disc brakes and QA1 coilover shocks all the way around. Francis Johnson built the Camaro a custom 3-inch stainless exhaust system with Flowmaster 44 Series mufflers. The added wheelie bars are a must when taking this thing out for a quarter-mile spin.
When it came to the interior, David had some interesting ideas, and he smartly followed his first instinct. The upholstery was stitched with top-of-the-line rawhide leather, with beautiful boa skin accents and inlays throughout. Even the rollcage is wrapped in leather, to keep it all consistent. Out back, the trunk was done to match. All work was done by Ace Upholstery in Mechanicsville, Maryland. The leather hues work well with the deep Atlas Red paint scheme, which was laid down by the previous owner.
Today, David can sit back and just take it all in, knowing he built the car of his dreams. Special thanks go out to many people, including his son Joe who helped out on the build. More thanks go out to Rick Gentry, who started the East Coast Pro Street Car Club, an organization that promotes the Pro Street lifestyle through cruise-ins, car shows, and meets. Through this fine association, David shows his radical Camaro with like-minded individuals who share his taste for the extreme.
Photos by Scotty Lachenauer