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1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 - Making His Bones

When Jim "Bones" Bassett Lit Up The Tires Of His Supercharged '69 Camaro, He Ended Up With A Little More Than He Bargained For With The Local Police.

By , Photography by

The revs from the 400ci small-block bounced off the limiter as the raucous growl from the 3.5-inch exhaust and Spintech mufflers bounced off the adjacent buildings. The Camaro's enormous rear tires broke loose, and soon thereafter a thick plume of smoke curled up from underneath the chassis.

An exhibition of speed is not something that Super Chevy magazine insists upon when we photograph a car. If the subject at hand is as gorgeous as the one you see before you, with full tubs, 20-inch rear meats, and 660 supercharged rear-wheel horses underhood just waiting to break loose, well then, we might suggest a little smoke show. But what happens after the mechanical violence takes place is beyond our control.

More on our little confrontation with the law later; for now, let's hear how this diabolical collusion of sheetmetal, tubing, gauges and a supercharger the size of a horse's head came to fruition. Jim Bassett is the proprietor of Bones Fab in Camarillo, California. Bassett or "Bones" as he is sometimes referred to, has (like many hot rodders) been around cars most of his life.

"I worked at a speed shop selling parts for 12 years and doing the occasional side job," said Bassett. "I finally had enough of my boss so I quit and opened up my own shop." This was circa 2002. Around that time Bassett, who is tall and lean in stature, wore a skeleton costume to a Halloween party. The name Bones stuck after the debut of that original costume and morphed into his company name, Bones Fab-as in fabricating.

Even before Bones Fab sprung to life, a customer of Bassett's previous place of employment had started the build of this car. While the project started about 10 years ago, Jim acquired it much more recently after the customer moved out of state.

"As with most projects like this, it went a little sideways. It went from a nitrous car to a supercharged car, to a twin-turbo set up," said Jim. "Needless to say, it never got done in any of those combos and sat for quite a while."

The customer wanted something to play with so he went out and got another running '69 Camaro that they built up for him in four months. While the customer was out ripping around in his new ride, he also ended up moving out of the state, at which point the half-finished Camaro and its adjacent pile of parts became a thorn in his side. Well, you know what they say: In Japanese, "crisis" is the same word as "opportunity" and in this case, the customer's crisis became Bassett's.

"He had to get rid of the Pro Street car so we made a deal," said Jim. "From sitting around all those years the paint had suffered some ill effects. But the pile of parts that came with it more than made up for that."

The deal sweeteners included such items as a GM Bow-Tie block with full race-prep and 4.125 bore, 65-pound fuel injectors, Coast Machine heavy duty 1350 driveshaft, Wilwood disc brakes, and a Vortech reverse rotation YS-I blower.

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