1969 Chevy Camaro - Excitotoxin*

Nathan Powell's Burnished First-Gen Will Bust Your Brains Out Baby!

Ro McGonegal Sep 1, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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The following oval-shaped (21/2x4-inch) stainless exhaust system dumps into Flowmaster Delta Force ARCA race mufflers. JHRS set the dramatic stage for this installation, cleaning up the stock inner fenderwells by filling all superfluous openings, removing the stamping wrinkles, and making custom dust shields that close out the upper control arms. The radiator cover was custom-built to match the valve covers. Both these items are available over the counter directly from Perfection Hot Rod Parts, an Alan Johnson subsidiary.

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Transferring the flywheel output of 721 hp at 6,000 rpm and 693 lb-ft at 4,200 rpm to the driveline begins with a rather uncommon device for a street car. One of Mac Tilton's hydraulic throw-out bearings simplifies the traditional clutch linkage proposition and operates a Tilton 8-inch-diameter pressure plate that sandwiches triple carbon-fiber discs on an aluminum flywheel. A Lakewood blast shield that accepts a six-speed transmission contains the package. Torque stampedes down the aluminum propeller made by the Driveshaft Shop in Salisbury, North Carolina. The terminus is a Currie 9-Plus axle fitted with a limited-slip differential and lightened ring gear as per JHRS. The axle ratio is 3.70:1.

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With such uncommon components at work, you might expect Nathan's Camaro to ride on a custom tube frame. It does not. To support the power system and stiffen the body to eliminate flex and encourage sharp handling characteristics, it does have a 12-point, 15/8-inch rollcage that strengthens and ties the car together. Detroit Speed frame connectors join the front and rear subassemblies carried by the original rails. Rack steering plays out with DSE spindles and tubular upper and lower control arms. Hyperco coils and Bilstein adjustable dampers support the front of the Camaro. The rear of the car and that hefty Currie piece are carried by a DSE Quadra-Link system and companion Hyperco coils and Bilstein adjustables.

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As you are aware, the rim and tire combination can make or break the aura. Here, Johnson's wheels are a composite of Kinesis K19 three-piece modulars, 19x9.5 in front and 20x12 in the rear. Before installing the Michelin PS2 295/30 and 335/35 skins, the K19 centers were painted and flat-cleared like the body stripes and underhood components. Wilwood 14-inch front brakes and 13-inch rear discs are prominent. A booster is not used and the master cylinders are firewall-mounted basically in the stock location.

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JHRS gave as much attention to the interior and its trappings as they did the rest of the rocket. To separate Nathan's Camaro from any other of the same vintage, Johnson's crew built a console, laid in Classic gauges and instruments beneath the custom leather dash pad, crafted the shift mechanism for the six-speed, and topped the Flaming River tilt steering column with a 13-inch-diameter FR Revolution wheel. Different shades of gray form the floor covering and attend the leather-sheathed custom door, side panels, and console, also available through Perfection Hot Rod Parts. Paul Atkins stitched Recaro Topline seats in contrasting red. And somewhere in there hides an Alpine-based audio system.

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"As for the body, we always prefer something that is as close to original as possible," Johnson says. "You pay more for it but have to fix much, much less. This body was the best. It had no rust and very little damage. Tony Inman, Venny and Dino Garcia, and Anthony Myrick removed the side markers, rearview mirrors, antenna, all the original emblems, and performed all the other metalwork and interior panels. They formed the bumpers from 12-gauge steel stock and sent them to John Wright's Custom Chrome in Grafton, Ohio, for the plating detail. To prepare the body to accept the minimal bumpers, the same team also rolled the front and rear pans and infused the body with a custom license tag recess.

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