One of the questions on the CP tech sheet asks about the owner's most memorable experience with their car. When you get a response like Fred Bartoli's, "Staring at it-finished," you know you've got the right man. Fred is 38 years old and runs Altronics, Inc. in Schaumburg, Illinois. His company specializes in instruments and systems for automotive data acquisition, weather systems for race cars, reaction timers, and a lot more. It's been his company and his passion for the last 15 years.
When it comes to cars like these, Bartoli builds or installs all the mechanical properties, getting dirty and doing everything himself except for the pretty work. To hear him tell it: "I always loved early Camaros, especially the '69 model, as do many. I grew up drag racing and always remember my father's '67 Camaro. Now I deal with race cars on a daily basis running my company, where I design and manufacture electronics for racing and also with Super Stock drag racing. My father and I run two cars-an '86 Camaro and his '00 Firebird. In my high school days, my father and I built a back-halved '84 Pro Street Camaro, which still sits in my garage. This time, I wanted a car that could go straight and turn.
I didn't care much for the stock interior and chassis in the '69. I liked what I saw going on with the Pro Touring movement, but I still wanted more than just the handling aspect. So I decided to try and build a modern-appearing and functioning '69 Camaro. I found a decent Arizona car on eBay for about $15K. I was hoping the body was in good shape and would not require a lot of new metal. When I got it naked, I saw it would need a quarter-panel, floors, and some of the trunk. I guess not too much, but I would have been better off paying a little less for the car and just figured on more body work since everything else on the car would be replaced anyway."
What were Fred's motives? He wanted to build a nice driver, "but ended up with something that is so nice I am afraid to drive it. Not sure how or when that happened." He worked diligently on the project in the evenings and on the weekends that he wasn't racing. The whole thing flowed along nicely and he thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing.
"Hoping to utilize my electrical engineering education, the game plan was to modify and transplant all of the wiring and electronics from a late-model [Gen-4] along with the dash and steering column. And with a lot of massaging, that's what I did," Fred said. "Everything functions, including the airbags, I assume. Hopefully, I won't ever find out if they work or not."
Fred stripped the car to shell and used a lot of bolt-on parts, but nearly none of it bolted on. "Strangely, the stuff that was not supposed to fit, like the interior components and wiring harness, were sometimes easier to modify to make them work properly. I went along and completely assembled the car before sending it off for paint." So all was well, or was it? "What made the project the hardest was working with the car without stripping the body first. A friend [Tim Alcalde] suggested leaving the paint on until the fabrication was finished to avoid rust. Bad advice. If I did it over again, the first place the car would go is to a media blaster. Fortunately, my friend mixed up the baddest custom blue to redeem himself."
Fred got to chomping on the machine work and gathering the items for the furnace. He found a '04 LS6 and made some limited but very pertinent modifications. Though freshened, the rotating assembly is factory. Fred was wise to keep it. Even with the nodular iron crank, pressed metal rods, and hypereutectic pistons, it will take all the abuse this engine has to give without fail. The compression ratio is at least 10.5:1. In stock form, this engine was rated at 405 hp at 6,000 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. By choosing his equipment wisely and discreetly, he brought the power figures at the flywheel to an estimated 525 hp at 6,500 rpm and 463 lb-ft at 4,900 rpm.
The Air Flow Research 205 cylinder heads do a superlative job moving air in a small-displacement LS engine and are good for a solid 40 hp bump at the tire. Low-end torque is snappy and the power continues to build throughout the rpm range. The Com XR281 hydraulic roller is joined by other Comp valve train equipment, save for the Harland Sharp 1.8:1 roller rockers. Fred fortified the lower end with an SLP oil pump and cam timing chain and a Canton sheetmetal oil pan and remote filter arrangement.
Induction is accomplished with a ported FAST intake manifold and a 90mm Nick Williams throttle body. Fuel is transported via a Rick's stainless steel EFI fuel cell fitted with an in-tank Aeromotive A1000 pump, filters, regulator, and #8 and #10 braided lines and fittings. Helping to cool and recycle are an AFCO aluminum radiator and a single large-diameter pusher fan. Noxious stuff is extracted through Jet-Hot coated Hooker long-tubes with a 1.75-inch primaries and a 3-inch collector. Fred merged them with a Magnaflow 3-inch custom stainless steel exhaust system, mufflers, and X-pipe. Katech coil mounts hold stock zappers that push juice through MSD leads. Fred adapted the late-model block to the early-model Camaro with Street & Performance engine plates and Energy Suspension polygraphite motor mounts.
To transfer torque to the rear wheels, the intermediaries are composed of T56 six-speed fitted with ATS hydraulic throwout bearing. An LS7 clutch assembly rotates torque through a 3-inch aluminum driveshaft to a DSE 9-inch fitted with a Strange Engineering aluminum pumpkin, 4.11:1 gears, and a Detroit Truetrac differential. Fred set the chassis up as rigid as possible with DSE mini-tubs, QUADRALink 4-bar system, Koni adjustable shock absorbers, and the ubiquitous subframe connectors. At the prow, he turned to an Art Morrison/Wayne Due subframe equipped with C5 spindles and control arms-the works. He can easily set ride height and finesse valving with the QA1 coilover adjustables.
Fred custom bent his stainless steel brake lines and hooked them to Wilwood 14-inch, six-piston front brakes and 13-inch drilled and slotted rotors on the 9-inch. A Wilwood master cylinder and parking brake kit are also included. Force emitted by the Hydra Tech brake booster is ferocious enough to pitch someone through the windshield. A Turn One pump feeds the AGR power steering rack. To dig deep and long into a turn, Boze Five Speed forged wheels (18x9, 20x11.5) carry the tenacity (and forgiveness) found in 265/35 and 335/30 Michelin Pilot Sport gummies.
At first glance, the exterior looks like stock. Closer inspection reveals body seams that have been filled and marker lights that have been removed. The door pulls fell off somewhere along the way and the drip rails were eradicated. These exterior changes and the dead-nuts stance of NUNYA exhibit a subtle, clean, streamlined appearance that other builders sometimes miss. From the full side view, the car is spectacular, polarizing. Fred added DSE hideaway headlamps and inserted Morris fog bulbs in the lower valance. And there's more; the back of the Camaro sports Marquez Design billet taillights and the front and rear bumpers were fitted closer to the body, smoothed out, and sprayed to match to the sheetmetal. Alcalde Customs (alcaldecustoms.com) mixed the "Nunyablu" (DuPont) custom pearl blue, applied by Kevin and Joe at Nostalgic Autobody (nostalgicautobody.com) over a metallic silver base. (NUNYA is a colloquialism that means "none of your business.")
Fred loves creature comforts, especially ones that he can dissect, modify, and reattach in his mind's eye before he lifts the first finger to do it. How do you stuff a complete Gen-4 Camaro dashboard (air bags included) into a car that was never meant to have it? Thing looks like it grew there like moonlight mushrooms. Would its generous proportions help or hinder the car's appearance and impact? You tell us. We think it looks grand and is a milestone of sorts. The bundles of wiring seemed endless. It's probably got three times as much as the stock configuration, a daunting task to say the least (check out the build on www.altronics.com/camaro).
He took the power seats from a late-model GTO and gave them to "Stitch" at Voodoo Larry Customs in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Voodoo also did the rear seat with the same black leather. Rod Doors (roddoors.com) came across with a new headliner that Voodoo stretched in place. Fred and Marquez Design worked on the streamlined door and side panels. Electric Life enabled power window lifts and remote door locks. Lokar pedals give some spark to the density in the foot well and Fred pushes and pulls a McLeod shifter wagging from the customized '02 console. Cool air wafting? Right, a Vintage Air Gen-4 Magnum HVAC system.
We think that Fred may be a bit more smitten with his audio hall, his specialty. First, he hid the radio antenna under the dash. A DSE battery mount kit sits in the trunk, filled with an Optima Red Top. Good thing-Fred's to-the-moon Kenwood sound system includes a head unit, 4-channel and mono amps, 6-inch speakers in the doors and custom-built pillars, 6x9 speakers in the deck, and 10-inch sub-woofers in a custom-built box. At this time, Fred also secreted the PCM in the front wheel housing.
It took our protagonist two and half years to bring his car together. Has he any plans for the future? As Fred might say, "That's nunya business."