1978 Chevy Camaro - Cup Style

Eleven years in the making, Mark Giles turns a mundane ’78 Camaro into a fierce track player

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An MSD Pro Billet ignition provides the flame while Mark once again relied on experience from his day gig and the help of Mark Linebarrier to dial in a set of custom- fabricated headers capped with 2 1/8-inch merge collectors, which play host to Mark’s own crossover exhaust tubes. To keep on the good side of the local Virginia law enforcement crew, a set of 3 1/2-inch Dr. Gas-style mufflers marginally interrupt the rat motor’s audible fury. A killer road machine needs the proper tools for prompt lap times, so Mark assembled a four-speed Jerico top loader and mated it to a 10 1/2-inch twin-disc McLeod clutch and pressure plate surrounded by a Lakewood bellhousing.

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The Cup Car motif carries throughout the pilot’s quarters starting with Stewart Warner Track Force gauges taking residence in Mark’s one-off aluminum dash. Steve Blevins sketched up the door panels on paper, and Da Tin Man, Jay, brought them to fruitiontwo more items to add to the one-off list.

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Being so consumed by the race car theme, when I put the door bars in I had overlooked the window regulator location, recalls Mark. Instead of moving the bars, I found a pair of electric window regulators that weren’t much heavier than a manual set. Problem solved. Those are the only luxury items in the whole car. This car is all about racing. No carpet, no sound deadening material, and no stereo. And even if it did, I wouldn’t be able to hear it.

Still on the track theme, Mark fabricated the racing seats and Doug Ashley stitched up the snap-on fireproof covers. Simpson Racing harnesses hold Mark in place, but a white-knuckle grip wraps heavy on the Schroeder steering wheel, and the Hurst shifter maintains Mark’s ever-present right hand for constant gear changes.

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Daniel Stidham was called up to smooth the body and meticulously lay the PPG Bahama Blue pigment. Needless to say, he pulled it off nicely. No graphics, no unnecessary frilly stuff here, just a unique, bold color that lets the body mods do the talking.

One of the most notable details on the car is the air dam. It’s basically a stock GM nose piece with an A&A Specialties ground effects piece molded in, explained Mark. The bottoms of the fenders were handcrafted to match the nose. The rear of the fenders also go along with the handmade rockers to give the car a cleaner look. I had planned to use a stock flat hood, but after dyno testing the first motor with a 2-inch carb spacer, it made so much more power that I just couldn’t give it up. So I gutted the stock scoop to clear the air cleaner lid and made a cowl induction just like the Cup cars.

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Mark spent many years working in the racing chassis industry and now runs The Fab Shop Inc. in Pound, Virginia.

We asked Mark if he would do anything different with the build should he do it again. Yes, I wouldn’t sit with a finished chassis for eleven years next time. If I were to build another car, I’m pretty sure I could do it in at least half the time.

This Car Is All About Racing. No Carpet, No Sound Deadening Material, And No Stereo. And Even If It Did, I Wouldn’t Be Able To Hear It.


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