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Horror Stories From The Road

Dead Man's Hood

Photography by Tony Kelly

It was a hot summer day in Northeastern Oklahoma and there I was, cruising down a two-lane road headed to the dump in my grandpa's beat up '88 S10 farm truck--and I mean beat up. The truck is black with a smashed front end due to a run in with a tree, the head liners are ripped out, the bed leans to the side because a cast iron tub was dropped on it, you gotta open the door from the inside 'cause the door handle broke off, and there's more dirt inside the cab then down at the local rodeo. Anyways, I had just jumped on the gas and with my eyes squinted shut to keep the storm of dirt that was building inside the cab out of my eyes; I was off to the dump. Then all of sudden--whoooooof!--the hood came flyin' up at about 40 mph, which also happened to be top speed for the S10. I stuck my head out the side of the truck, kinda like Ace Ventura, and guided myself to the side of the road using the yellow lines. Now the funny thing is, I wasn't scared, mad, or embarrassed. All I could do was laugh, and I couldn't stop laughing. Luckily, I found some rope in the bed so I could tie down the hood and finish what I set off to do in the first place--go to the dump. Ya know, it's nice to know that other people out there have similar experiences.

Bill Kumm had always wanted a true orange '69 Z/28, and on December 26, 1998, he finally got what he wanted. Then about two years ago, Bill was headed home from a Super Chevy Show in his Z/28 and--whooooof!--his hood came flying up just like the good ol' S10's. Now I doubt he was laughing, but it did give him a reason to get started on rebuilding the Z/28.

First thing was first, the second time around, the Camaro had to pack a bigger punch. The 302 was yanked from the engine compartment and sent to Express Racing Engines. The stock 302 was bored and stroked to a 383; now things were getting good. Then ERE added AFR aluminum heads with JE 10.5 to 1 pistons, a Holley 750 carb, and various other performance goodies. The final product was a big improvement. The tired mouse now cranked out an estimated 498 hp at 6,200 rpm and 462 ft-lb of torque at 6,200 rpm. But still something was missing. The car didn't have the true feel of a Z/28 with an automatic transmission in it. Kumm decided to swap the auto for a GM T56 out of a '97 Camaro. The swap turned out to be the most difficult part of the job, but well worth it. To give the car a stock look, the T56 was topped with a Hurst shifter.

Considering the reason that Bill bought the car was due to the fact that it was orange, there was no need to get crazy with the paint. Instead he painted the car in PPG Hugger Orange. For an added bonus, Kumm laid down the PPG Black racing stripes over the Hugger Orange. The interior was also updated with new orange hounds tooth seats, door panels, and carpet.

To give the Camaro a new stance, it was lowered an inch in the rear and 2 inches in the front. In each corner of the car sits a QA1 adjustable shock and an Aerospace Component 12-inch, cross-drilled rotor and caliper. Bill also added sub-frame connectors, sway bars, and a set of traction bars that he got from the Smokey Yunick Garage, which are said to be from 1968. Bill also upped the ante by adding stainless steel brake and fuel lines, and aluminum body mounts. I wonder what will happen the next time the hood blows open.

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