Wouldn’t it be great to have a classic car and know its complete history? All too often when we by a used performance car, or any car for that matter, there are skeletons in the trunk that tend to remain hidden until it’s a bit too late. You turn over your hard-earned cash in hopes the ride you just purchased is “all that.” You certainly have to expect that the seller left a few stones unturned, so your only hope is that said stones are just that−a few. Unfortunately, there’s always uncertainty when buying a car from a private seller, so all you can do is hope for the best.
Fortunately for Mark Litavsky, he won’t have to go through any of that with his striking ’82 Camaro−he’s the original owner. No skeletons here. Except for engine assembly, Mark performed most of the modifications himself. “It took 26 years to get the car to this state,” informs Mark. “This car has gone through more than it’s share of changes. As of now it’s on its fifth different set of wheels. It’s seen everything from 14-inch Ralley wheels to the 18-inch Boze Alloys that it has now.”
As a youngster, Mark saved his ducats for an ’81 Z28, but after he saw the new Third-gens, he changed his mind an ordered up an ’82 with all the bells and whistles. “I ordered the car with almost every option but the rear window wiper. I wanted a regular sport coupe; a bit of a sleeper, but with all the options that a Z28 would have, like F-41 suspension, 3:73 posi, four-wheel disc brakes, and a V8. You know, all the good stuff.”
Today, the car has racked up around 36,000 miles and has gone through some gradual changes along the way. Owning the car for as long a Mark has, keeping up with build trends requires a little money and ingenuity. With a background in carpentry, he took it upon himself to handle all the custom work under the hood, including fabricating a cover for the MSD and air conditioning system. He also deserves props for coming up with a stylish radiator support. The tidy engine quarter is complimented with a mix of brushed aluminum, braided lines, and snappy fittings with Vintage Air’s Front Runner Drive System proudly taking residence up front.
With the stage set under the hood, Mark came to recognize the petty V8 that came in the car had run its course–slowly at that. So, Mark upsized the horsepower with a 383-ci stroker. American Speed handled the machining and assembly, and filled the holes with JE’s 8:1 compression pistons and hung a set of Eagle 5.7-inch rods tightly tucked inside Edelbrock’s aluminum RPM Performer heads. The compression ratio was kept relatively low by design as a Weiand 144 Super Charger was called up on to force-feed the Demon Race 750 carburetor. It’s a healthy build that can get pretty thirsty no matter the weather, so Holley’s electric HP-150 pump ensures plenty of flow should Mark’s right foot summons extra swill at a moments notice.
Mark claims his hot rod puts out 522 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, with torque numbers estimated to be about 532 at 4,000 rpm–plenty of muscle to spin the Mickeys at will.
An abundant amount of horsepower requires an adequate cooling system in order to keep engine temps composed. So, Mark called up on a Bee Cool radiator to ensure the Third-gen runs, well … cool.
With as many incarnations this car has been through in it’s lengthy existence, Mark decided to settle on a suspension package set for handling. Chassis-flex is an issue with these cars, so the T-top ride has been stiffened up with Spohn sub-frame connectors. A Spohn panhard bar, Hotchkis trailing arms and IROC sway bars keep the ride predictive through twist and turns. Guldstrand 2-inch drop springs reside up front and attribute to the improved ride quality and stance, as Air Lift and Bell Tech do their job out back.
Mark prefers power off the line, so the Strange Engineering 12-bolt carries 4:11 cogs and is secured with 33-splined axles. With the torque numbers peaking relatively low, this thing launches with extreme attitude. TPI assembled and beefed up the 700-R4 to handle the aggressive twist, while the overdrive makes highway driving bearable.
Mark pointed out, “I still have all the original parts tucked away in boxes just in case I ever want to return the car back to stock.” It’s a safe bet dust will continue to accumulate on those garage-kept boxes.
When we asked Mark if he’s finally finished with the car, he hesitated a bit, and went on to say, “I’ve been considering putting in an LS7. I think that would be cool.”
We think so too…
Mark’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed as he took The Best Third-gen at the 40th Anniversary of the Camaro car show from GM’s Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. It was also featured in SLP’s 2004 Calendar. Sure, winning awards is a nice token for recognition of a job well done, but this hot rod is a true testament as to the limitless modifications that can be done to a Third-generation Camaro without going too far.
As mentioned earlier, this ride has seen several sets of wheels come and go. Today, 18x9-inch Boze Tach wheels take residence up front while the same make in 18X10-inch reside out back. BFGoodrich wrap the attractive 5-spokes on the front end and Mickey Thompson ET Street provide grip in the rear.
Even to car guys, the melody of an eight-piston symphony can get a little repetitious after time, so Mark lights up the JVC head unit backed by a couple of Rockford Fosgate amps wired to a set of 6X9’s and a 12” sub woofer. Autometer Ultra Lite LED gauges are loaded into a Covan’s Classic dash, setting the performance theme into overdrive while monitoring the all-important temps and vitals. Recaro seats provide driver and co-pilot the necessary security should Mark feel the need to let loose on the track or slightly curved highway onramps. Long drives aren’t completely out of the norm so a Vintage Air system keeps the interior climate on the comfortable side.
With the interior tone set on “kill,” the exterior keeps pace with a set of pearl white SS stripes resting old school-like on the deep metallic blue. The cowl hood? It’s not just for looks. It means business, providing the necessary clearance for the aforementioned blower.