1968 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible - What It Was Like

Jimmy Jackson and The Bad ’68

Ro McGonegal May 1, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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What it was like is still the way it is. Power, power, and even more of it, only now the gross output is emissions-legal, clean, if not sweet, but quite undeniable all the same. Jimmy Jackson knows this better than some. He has the wherewithal to create the embodiment of his vision, to make it materialize, and he thrives in the midst of it. Put bluntly, you could say that Jimmy likes to go fast, and his mode and method isn’t always confined to four wheels.

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He found his crafters. Jeff Greening and son Jesse run Greening Auto Company (GAC) out of Nashville, Tennessee. Don’t be misled by the unassuming title or lack of spiky neon light. The Greenings’ bent is primarily high-end rods, early stuff, muscle car joints, and tricks like the occasional Toyota FJ Cruiser paddling around in the mix. And if they are able to build just two or three cars a year, they’re happy boys. Call them open-minded, non-denominational, certified neutral. They say bring it. And, yes, they know J. Jackson.

Jesse on Jimmy’s predilection: “Jimmy is a speed freak. He currently owns an MTI Twin Hull that’ll eat more than 150 mph. It takes a pair of 1,200hp motors to do that. [And your assumption is correct; toys this formidable run in the half-million-dollar range.] His ’68 Camaro coupe [bought at Barrett-Jackson a few years ago] he calls the brother car to the convertible. It’s got an injected 572. Somehow, this all led to the 454 in the convertible.

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“There was a time when he asked about twin turbochargers for it,” said Jesse with a wink. “I told him to save that for a car with a rollcage and a roof. Needless to say, the convertible is very fast without any assistance. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he had the LS motor in his Boss Hoss bike rebuilt to make it faster!”

Jimmy’s got favorite Camaro parts but maybe not the ones you’d expect from a power-monger. To him, the car’s most luscious bits are the interior and the engine compartment, not the LSX engine. We, on the other hand, can’t get away from the perfect paint and wheels. Sure, it’s just paint and powdercoat but there’s something mysterious about them and the aura they provide. It provokes thought, like sliding down a fire pole that turns into a razor blade.

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In contrast to the expensive conversions from other places on the map, the Greenings seem to do a little more with a little less. It’s about understatement and cleanliness and the outside world couldn’t be more aware. Right off the mark, Jimmy’s car nailed the 2011 Builders Choice award at Goodguys Columbus.

Jimmy and the Greenings knew they’d have to fortify the chassis. Detroit Speed offers some well-integrated bits that become simple bolt-ins when the car is in a state of disassembly. GAC began with Detroit spindles and complete subframe (tubular upper and lower control arms; rack steering; adjustable coilover shocks; and a splined, adjustable antisway bar). The no-man’s-land between the front and rear axles is fortified with frame connectors and abetted by a GAC-built transmission mount/crossover. The rear complement includes the patented QUADRALink suspension and along with it, four-link geometry, adjustable antisway bar and coilovers, upper shock-mount crossmember and, in this instance, standard-width wheeltubs.

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Reducing unsprung weight is sure to enhance the handling and braking spheres. At the same time, you’ll be running the largest rubber and brakes possible. To that end, GAC put Baer 6P stoppers at each corner (14-inch rotors, six-piston calipers). Rather than the straight 18-inch combination that is currently the rage, GAC jigged things up a little with HRE C95 19x9 and 20x10 modulars and 255/35 and 295/35 Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tires. Somewhere in the process, the hoops were powdercoated satin black. GAC’s Rick Harris drew the orange stripes and detailed the brake calipers as well.

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