1969 Chevy Camaro - Red Devil

Stielow Ups The Ante On Pro Touring.

Ro McGonegal Jan 1, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Robert McGaffin

Mark Stielow has been at the leading edge of the Pro Touring genre since it began. Quite likely, it was one of Mark's cars that tipped the whole thing over. Anyone who's followed the 45-year-old's progress knows that Mark is smitten by the 1969 Chevy Camaro, so it has become the car to build for road race, slalom, 0-100-0 rips, and burning up the quarter-mile. Though his cars can be driven daily, they aren't-but that has always been Stielow's mindset when planning and building. It's the whole enchilada in one trick bag, or it's nothing.

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Stielow: "The Red Devil was supposed to be my economical build after I had to sell Camaro X. I had a plan and was working to it: a basic Pro Touring '69 with DSE chassis and an LS7 engine. I was able to piece most of it together at a reasonable cost. I almost had all the pieces together and then went to SEMA last year. After I drove [Charlie Lillard's] Jackass at the Optima Street Car Challenge and saw the reaction of people to that car, I knew I needed more power than an LS7. I called my engine builder Brian Thomson and asked him about an LS9. He said that he'd done a 427 LS9 for a customer and asked me if I wanted to drive it. Well, like the [street] dealers say in Detroit, the first one is free ... I was hooked. I needed a 427 LS9. I told Brian to build me one."

Mark found the car he wanted in Sacramento, California. He's the third owner. He was able to retain every bit of the stock sheetmetal but lightened the front end a bit with an aluminum cowl hood and aluminum front bumper. Reiter Metal Craft in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, did the initial metal repair, DSE mini-tubs, subframe connectors, and QUADRALink install. Joe Borschke at Stenod Performance in Troy installed the roll cage and exhaust cutouts in the floorpan. Mark couldn't have done this in the prescribed time frame without some help. He credits Ryan Kuhlenbeck for wiring the engine, chassis, and the antilock braking system. Dave Mikels tuned the package and, with Kyle Tucker's (DSE) pointers, Kevin Zelenka tuned the chassis.

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Thomson Automotive is in Redford, Michigan. Thomson Automotive makes serious power with LS engines (their dual-turbo 454 LSX makes a minimum of 2,000 hp). Proprietor Brian Thomson built the Devil's whiz-bang based on the LS7 cylinder block, which is 51 ci larger than the LS9. His plan included a Callies crankshaft, Oliver aluminum connecting rods, and Diamond 9.0:1 forgings. Do you need premium parts for a mere 10 psi of positive manifold pressure from the LS9 supercharger? Certainly not, but if you turn up the wick somewhere down the road, it's always better to be laughing than crying when the smoke clears.

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Thomson readied the block with ARP studs instead of torque-to-yield bolts. He installed one of his blower cams (specs proprietary) with the LS9 rollers, pushrods, and every other bit of the LS9 valvetrain. The LS9 cylinder heads carry 2.160 titanium intake and 1.590-inch sodium-filled exhaust valves. Combustion chamber volume is an as-cast 68cc. For reasons of durability, reliability, and ground clearance, Thomson retained the LS7's 8-quart dry sump oiling and consummated the deal with a Peterson Fluid Systems tank (Henderson, Colorado). The top of the engine is piled with a 1.9-liter Eaton supercharger that cranks out 10 psi maximum with a 3:1 drive ratio.

The petrol supply trail begins at the Rick's stainless fuel cell that was modified to accept a Cadillac CTS-V fuel-sending module. A GMPP crate engine controller is teamed with Kinsler high-capacity fuel injectors, and monitored by a Kinsler FMU. Cooling is a very big deal for a car that does some very big things. A Griffin custom two-row radiator core is plied with fast-moving air via an electrically driven GM fan. The transmission and differential fluid temps rise exponentially on the road course and the 0-100-0 rips, so stop trouble before it starts, Stielow went with immaculate Weldon pumps for both issues.

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