Every shop owner prays for a customer who wants the best of everything and can pay for it. Only the veterans make stipulations.
The reason everyone wants a dream customer is obvious: they’re the ones who can put capital behind a shop’s creativity, and creativity can really put a shop on the map. But the reasons for the qualified prayers are a little less obvious. It’s because the person who comes in and catalyzes dreams with cash is the same one who has it all. And these aren’t the ones Hammacher Schlemmer is referring to when it’s trying to sell lunging tweezers or air-conditioned shirts. No, the ones who bring god spires across a shop’s threshold already have everything, including hot cars.
Mike Williams knows hot cars. Above and beyond owning an X5 Bimmer and a RUF-prepped Boxster, he has a road-racing background. Just count your blessings you don’t have that guy on your list.
But this project really didn’t start out as a G-machine. No, the car Mike bought in the Carolinas was a preserved barn find. In fact, he decided to restore the car himself, and probably would’ve done so had he not crossed paths with Killer Customs’ Blake Foster. Upon meeting, they came to some conclusions. Among them, Mike admitted he wanted more than a restored Camaro yet didn’t have the time to pull it off. It probably wasn’t long after that Blake realized his shop had its work cut out for it.
Based on his conversations with Mike, Blake and his partner at Killer Customs, Paul Dyck, drafted something radical enough to turn heads, powerful enough to satisfy Mike, and refined enough to take to a nice restaurant if need be. And the result is far from an accident; based on Mike’s input, Blake and the shop’s knowledge of the industry, and Paul’s illustration background, they plotted every element of the car’s construction on paper before a single tool touched the car.
Though highly modified, Mike’s Camaro is largely faithful to its roots. A few panels withstanding, it retains the skin it wore when it left the plant 40 years ago. In a day and age when an LS-series engine is the default setting, it’s almost refreshing to see a Generation 1 small-block between the fender wells. In fact, the car retains its stock subframe.
In a way you could use the subframe as a metaphor to describe the car: stock but extremely modified. That clip, for example sports control arms and an anti-roll bar from Killer’s sister company, Speed Tech, a Unisteer power-assisted steering rack from Maval Manufacturing, and a QA1 coilover conversion. Killer also replaced the GM corporate axle with a Ford 9-inch-style axle. It boasts a Strange Engineering gear case, 3.73:1 gears, and an Auburn cone-type limited-slip differential. Killer hung it from the car with a modified Art Morrison triangulated four-link and QA1s.
The Asanti AF130 wheels aren’t just pretty faces either; they’re true three-piece wheels. Their construction not only opens the door to near infinite offsets and widths, but it lets the company forge the individual parts, which results in an assembly both lighter than castings and stronger than parts machined from billets. They wear Michelin Pilot Sport 2s, and with Speed Tech tubular control arms the front tucks 19x8½s with 245/35ZR-19s. By virtue of wheel tubs and the right offset, Killer stuffed 20x12s with 335/30ZR-20s in the rear wheel houses.
Adapted to the Corvette C4-style two-piece rotor behind each wheel is a four-pot Wilwood caliper. Knowing Mike’s road-racing background, Blake and the boys understood that a conventional master cylinder and auxiliary pressure metering valves wouldn’t have the brake-bias control to satisfy Mike. So they employed a Wilwood forward-swing pedal assembly with parallel master cylinders. Each master commands its own circuit, and by altering a bar between them the driver can manipulate front-to-rear brake bias to a very fine degree.
Most G-machines of this car’s caliber run LS-series engines, but as stated before Mike stayed true to the Generation 1 mill. Kershaw Performance in Port Kells built it as a 383 with Air Flow Research heads, an Edelbrock Victor Junior open-plenum manifold, an 850cfm Barry Grant Speed Demon, and, to give it an edge on the all-alloy injected variety, a shot of nitrous. To trim more weight, Killer dispensed with the copper-core radiator and iron pump for alloy Be Cool and Edelbrock pieces, respectively.