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Check Out This Outrageous and Unique AWD 1968 Camaro

Terraplane Blues

Ro McGonegal Oct 15, 2018
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Bartek Trojan works at a shop called VTG in Warsaw, Poland. VTG built, modifies, and maintains protagonist Marcin Blauth’s freakin’ all-wheel-drive Camaro. Yes, all-wheel-drive Camaro. Bartek is our guide today.

“All the time we were aware that the USA is the cradle of drag racing,” he said. “And that we needed to copy proven solutions and adapt them to our conditions. It all began by coincidence; the cousin of a friend had a GMC Typhoon for sale, so it was an all-wheel-drive car and also American-built—perfect for our needs. About 10 years ago we found Les Young, who had a great deal of experience racing Syclone/Typhoon platforms, at his site syty.net.”

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Les wanted to help, you know, one hot rodder to another, a simple gesture and very much in the spirit of hot rodding. That’s how the Polish racing Typhoon came to be.

To set the background, Bartek explained. “Let us say that drag racing was not popular here until the beginning of this century. But before that there was always a spirit that would not be blunted. Since there were cars, there were street races at traffic lights but there were no rules and the distance of the race was not always the same.

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“Although it may sound funny, the original The Fast and the Furious movie is what really popularized drag racing in this part of the world. After that, quarter-mile racing appeared at the car meetings, but because of the fatal surface of the old airports where they were organized, the all-wheel-drive cars were the fastest. To better illustrate how far behind we were, we had the first Polish 10-second car, an Audi we built in 2004. We quickly caught up and made the first 9-second pass in 2005.

“The main question about the AWD in the Camaro is ‘why,’ but ‘how’ is in second place. In the absence of tracks in this part of Europe, we race mainly at old airfields, which often are not even swept. In these conditions, AWD cars are just naturally faster.

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“And AWD in the Camaro (that we got from a Norwegian who raced it in Poland) yields very high efficiency, regardless of racing conditions. And compared to the Syclone brick, the Camaro has a superior coefficient of drag, which means it’s a lot slipperier through the air. For a comparison test, we left the tune from the record 7.7-second pass at Santa Pod (Podington, Bedfordshire) for the next competition taking place on the asphalt runway in Poland. Although the Camaro overpowered the wheels, and smoked the tires through Second gear, we still ran an 8.3-second time.”

And when it comes to how it was built, this is all a fairly simple matter—only requiring massive surgery. They cut off the Typhoon frame, welded it in place of the usual Camaro front subframe and strengthened the whole accordingly. A little work on the new floor and transmission tunnel and after a few months they had an AWD Camaro, and ever since they have been changing things to grow its performance.

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“We use Rossler’s TH210 transmissions, which in our case is a close-ratio three-speed automatic based on the GM TH400. Rossler calls them TH210 or Turbo-Glides due to their numerically higher Low gear ratio and because he builds them with so many of his own proprietary parts. We’ve modified the original Typhoon transfer case fitted to the end of the transmission, and torque is distributed through it to the front and rear differentials.”

Inclination comes from a twin-turbo, 409-cubic-inch small-block, the attributes of which are listed thoroughly in the specifications chart. As an ancillary bump, VTG introduces a small squirt of nitrous oxide at the right time to get the Turbonetics twins spooled up quicker. The unorthodox ’09 breaks out an attention-getting 1,730 horsepower at 7,350 rpm.

Bartek: “Cars are often divided into classes depending on the type of drive (FWD, RWD, and AWD). In each country it’s a bit different, but there’s always a class we can race. This year, for example, at Santa Pod in the Doorslammers event the Camaro competed in the Pro Street class. In the Polish Cup event we were in the Profi AWD Turbo class; in the King of Germany competition it was in the 4WD class. In the grand finale for the four fastest cars in each class for the title of King of Germany, we won!”

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Sit still for another minute. There’s more. “In the Ukrainian Cup, the Camaro could run in two classes—Pro AWD and Unlimited (no restrictions)—which we also won. So far, apart from the red light at the Santa Pod race, we’ve had a very successful season,” Bartek said. Then he added: “Even with good racing livery it’s still kind of a sleeper. The spectators didn’t pay it any attention … until they saw how it worked.”

The next big step for Blauth, Bartek, and the VTG combine? Well, to keep stepping up, of course, pulling the Camaro out of Poland to a town near you while trying to rearrange the field on Hot Rod’s Drag Week skirmish. They need to start an international incident. CHP

Tech Check
Owner: Marcin Blauth, Warsaw, Poland
Vehicle: AWD 1968 Camaro

Engine
Type: Dart Little M Pro Series block
Displacement: 409 ci
Compression Ratio: (spec proprietary)
Bore: 4.155 inches
Stroke: 3.750 inches
Cylinder Heads: 235cc Air Flow Research Eliminator (327 cfm/243 cfm at 0.650-inch lift)
Rotating Assembly: Callies Magnum crankshaft, Callies Ultra XD connecting rods, JE Extreme Duty pistons, Clevite bearings
Valvetrain: Harland Sharp 1.6:1 stud-mounted rocker arms, AFR stud girdle, Comp pushrods, PAC springs, Comp Endurex roller lifters
Camshaft: Comp solid roller (0.612/0.638-inch lift; 296/306-deg. duration at 0.050)
Induction: Edelbrock Victor E manifold, Wilson Manifolds elbow and throttle body, Ecumaster EMU Black w/ twin Ecumaster power management units, dual Turbonetics 88mm mid-frame turbochargers, NX nitrous oxide system, Summit plastic fuel cell
Ignition: MSD Pro-Billet distributor, 6AL box, Pro Power coil, 8.5mm primary wires
Exhaust: Stainless Works turbo headers, 3/8-inch thick flanges, 1.875-inch primary pipes, VTG custom exhaust/dump pipes
Ancillaries: Custom six-rib accessory drive, Meziere 300 series 55-gpm water pump, Griffin aluminum radiator, SPAL fan, six-point carbon steel rollcage by Pawel Trela (Warsaw, Poland)
Output: 1,730 hp at 7,350 rpm
Machine Work: VTG (Warsaw, Poland)
Built By: VTG

Drivetrain
Transmission: Rossler TH210 three-speed, 10-inch Neal Chance Racing Pro Mod bolt-together converter
Front Axle: Typhoon frame and differential, 3.08:1 gears
Rear Axle: GM 12-bolt, Strange Engineering spool, 3.08:1 gears, 33-spline axles, VTG-built 3.0-inch chrome-moly driveshaft, Strange Engineering yokes, Spicer 1350 U-joints

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Chassis
Front Suspension: Stock Typhoon control arms, QA1 double-adjustable coilover shocks
Rear Suspension: Competition Engineering four-link (customized to fit) and antisway bar, QA1 double-adjustable coilover shocks
Brakes: Wilwood vented 10.5-inch rotors, single-piston calipers, master cylinder, Wilwood proportioning valve

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Weld Star RT 15x10 front, 15x12 rear
Tires: Hoosier Quick Time Pro 28.0x11.5 front, Mickey Thompson ET Drag 28.0x11.5 rear

Interior
Upholstery: OMP
Material: Cloth
Seats: OMP RS-PT2 fiberglass, G-Force five-point safety harness
Steering: VTG column, upgraded Typhoon box, MOMO wheel
Shifter: B&M Pro Ratchet
Dash: Steel w/ carbon panel inserts
Instrumentation: Defi (Nippon Seiki) gauges

Exterior
Bodywork: Steel body; fiberglass fenders, doors, trunk lid by Daniel “Lelek” Zarzyczny
Paint By: Some local paint shop
Paint: Gray
Hood: Fiberglass built by Daniel Zarzyczny
Grille: Stock
Bumpers: Stock

Photos by Matt Woods

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