1972 Chevy Camaro SS - Conservatively Crazy

The result of Rich Taylor’s first all-out build

Ro McGonegal Jun 1, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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In ’06, Kim and Rich reared back big and exhibited at the Detroit Autorama. They took Second Place against a Hemi Cuda, a car that hadn’t been driven in four years and built on a $120,000 “investment.” Rich quipped, “Not bad for a home-built Camaro that gets driven every week.”

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But all was not copasetic. The Weiand got weary on I-75 one day and imploded. The bearings skizzed, destroying the rotors and sending shards of excited aluminum through the heads and down to the bottom end. Serendipity maybe? Gee, since we have to pull the motor, might as well make it bigger and nastier. Rich sent the remains to Graham Racing Engines in Bowling Green, Ohio, for machine work, boring, blueprinting, and balancing on the “new” 383. He assembled the short-block with Scat forged crank and H-beam rods. The SRP blower pistons provide an 8.5:1 compression ratio when joined with the Dart Pro 1 aluminum heads. He used ARP bolts and studs throughout and bolted up the bottom end with a Moroso 6-quart sump and a Mellings high-volume oil pump.

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COMP Cams made him a custom-ground hydraulic roller and accompanying lifters. Rich craved an engine sound not of this earth, so he could not ignore the sweet whine of a Pete Jackson gear drive. He covered the weapon with a Summit stamping and moved on to the top end. He laid down an Edelbrock Victor Jr. Air Gap and crowned it with a 750cfm Quick Fuel Technology 4150, all the while envisioning a Vortech pressure box covering the contraption. Before installation, he wriggled an NOS plate (100hp shot) between manifold flange and carb bottom. The pressure-producer is a V2 SQ Si programmed with a mild 11psi positive manifold pressure. In lieu of a heat-exchanging intercooler, the nitrous is more likely a fuel coolant aid than a pure power popper. To gather the correct amount of fuel, he pursued an Aeromotive 1100 electric pump. The accessory drive incorporates a Summit water pump that converges with a Modine brass/copper four-row core radiator. The alternator is a Tuff Stuff 160 amp. A power steering reservoir is on the circuit, but an air conditioning compressor is non-existent.

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Since positive manifold pressure was imminent, Rich chose an MSD 6AL box with Boost Timing Master. He got some 1 5/8-inch primary pipe Hedman angle-plug headers and had them Jet-Hot coated. Then he dragged the bundle ten miles up the road to RDP Motorsports in Painesville, Ohio, for the mandrel-bent stainless steel exhaust system. RDP put in 3-inch pipes, an X-pipe, and RDP race mufflers. On the pump, the 383 broke out 753 hp at 6,300 rpm and 713 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.

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All that grunt is consumed by a Turbo 400 assembled at Gearhead Transmissions in Toledo. It includes a TCI converter with a 3,500rpm stall speed and a manual valve body tweaked by a B&M Quick Silver shifter. Torque is channeled through a 4-inch diameter aluminum shaft from Rich’s friends at Dana Corporation. At the end of the line, Rich assembled a Moser 12-bolt holding a positive traction differential and 3.42:1 gears.

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At first, Rich rode on “mechanical” suspension changes. Now his Camaro can belly flop (literally) with a custom-built air shock system. Rather buy something ready-made, RDP framed a 4-link set-up to showcase the Firestone bags and modified the front control arms to accept the same. They held the car together with Comp Engineering sub-frame connectors and then went to town. The shocks are Edelbrock all around. Total suspension drop is 6 inches. Total reaction is: Wow! The rollers are campy Foose Nitrous II, 18 and 20 inches, respectively. The round black things on them are Cooper Zeon, conservatively sized at 245/40 all around. We suspect that the stock disc/drum brakes may certainly be replaced by a more capable system in the near future.

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