In 1978, Oakridge, Texas, Chevrolet enthusiast Jim Biggs located a white, '68 Camaro about a half mile from his home, and was able to purchase the factory six-cylinder for a mere $500. In short order, Jim converted the Camaro to a genuine, bona fide street machine with the addition of a 355ci small-block backed up by a Lakewood-contained, Centerforce-equipped Borg Warner T 10. Jim also installed a set of 4.10:1 gears in the rear and a set of Centerline Drag Light wheels with BFGoodrich Radial T/A rubber, and he was ready to go!
When it came to preparing the exterior, Jim enlisted the talents of Eric Johnson, the owner of Conroe, Texas' Custom Body Shop. The '68 was re-painted in PPG White and the original black bumble bee stripes were added. With this combination, Jim's "Saturday Night Special" (as it was called) hit the streets racing in Conroe, Houston, and surrounding areas. Between 1981 and 1998 the Camaro was also a regular figure at events like the Waco Street Machine Mini Nationals.
In 1990, Jim upgraded his '68 to "Phase II" with the addition of a Johnson Race Cars-installed Chris Alston Chassisworks front clip complete with QA1 coilover shocks and Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering.
Out back, a Chris Alston Ladder Bar/QA1 coilover rear suspension and narrowed Mark Williams-equipped Dana 60 rearend was also installed, and the car was equipped with a cut-to-fit Camaro gas tank in order to clear the rear springs.
In the engine compartment, Jim installed a 427 Chevrolet big-block covered by a Harwood fiberglass hood, and backed up by an Evans Transmissions GM TH350. In 1998 the Camaro was parked and eventually put up for sale. Enter current owner Evan Bennett.
"I got the opportunity to purchase the '68 in pieces for $3,500," Evan says. "At that point, the Camaro entered into 'Phase III,' when I decided to install a GM Performance Parts ZZ 502 short-block, which I outfitted with a GM Performance Parts forged-steel crank, a set of ARP-equipped ZZ502 connecting rods and a set of 8.9:1 compression JE pistons. While I was at it, I also installed a ZZ502 hydraulic roller cam, and a set of COMP Cams-equipped GM rectangular port cylinder heads featuring 2.25-inch stainless steel intake, and 1.88-inch stainless-steel exhaust valves. The valve covers are also from GM Performance Parts."
Other go-fast items include an Edelbrock Victor 454R hi-rise intake equipped with a K&N filtered 1050 Holley Dominator and 175hp NOS Big Shot nitrous system. The ignition system on this potent mill consists of an MSD Pro Billet setup complete with MSD Blaster coil, and MSD 6AL box firing a set of Champion spark plugs through a set of Taylor wires. The alternator is also MSD while the engine pulleys are from March Performance. The Camaro's exhaust system consists of a set of custom-built 23/8-inch headers dumping into a 3-inch Magna Flow exhaust system. Engine cooling is handled by a CSI electric water pump and a Be Cool aluminum radiator.
Once again, an Evans Transmissions-prepared, Trans Go and TCI-equipped GM TH350 backed by a Gear Vendors overdrive gets the job done along with a Randy's Driveshaft (Houston) custom-fabricated driveshaft.
"I took the Camaro back to Johnson Race Cars to have a set of mini-tubs welded in. We also installed a set of Wilwood disc brakes, front and rear, as well as a set of 15x6 front, and 15x10 rear Weld Aluma-Star wheels running P225/65x15 front and P315/60x15 BFGoodrich Drag Radial tires," Evan informs.
As part of the Phase III rejuvenation process, Evan also changed the color of the Camaro, re-painting it PPG Silver with black Le Mans racing stripes.
Inside, the '68 makes use of a black vinyl houndstooth interior, an Auto Meter-equipped Covan dash, Painless Performance Products LLC wiring, Vintage Air climate control, and a custom console containing a Turbo Action shifter.
Weighing in at 2,950 pounds, Evan's Platinum Performer runs 11.9s in the quarter-mile. It's also won its fair share of trophies at car shows, (Best in Class, Best Engine, Best Paint,) and now it's being featured in Camaro Performers magazine. Heck, it can't get any better than that!