1968 Chevy Camaro - Blu Balz

JCG Restoration’s Cris Gonzales Perfects the Fat Bottom

Ro McGonegal Sep 1, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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Karl stifled the tendency for mega-power and gave the Camaro a nice blend of balls and grunt with a modified LS7 conversion, including the 11-quart OE dry-sump oiling system and a ZL1 oil pump. QMP Racing Engines in Chatsworth, California, glommed an ’07 427. On top of the requisite balance and blueprint, QMP replaced the factory fasteners with ARP hardware, the cast pistons with Mahle 11.0:1 forgings, and the pushrods, lifters and camshaft with COMP equipment. Estimated output is 600 hp at 6,800 rpm and 550 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm—a powerful and very drivable combination. Ancillaries include 17/8-inch primary-pipe DSE stainless headers feeding a 3-inch JCG stainless system, an X-pipe crossover and Dynomax silencers. For cooling, JCG instituted a two-row Auto Rad aluminum core and mounted a Setrab oil cooler at the front of the vehicle. A JCG accessory drive ties the A/C compressor, alternator, and steering pump together, and in the slick-bits department, we see carbon-fiber rocker covers and the following JCG equipment: coil pack relocators, air-cleaner housing holding K&N element, a vented power steering tank, and a coolant catch can.

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Getting grunt to the wheels begins with the OE flywheel and an ACT pressure plate and disc whirling inside a Quick Time bellhousing. The six-gear Tremec twists a Coast Driveline aluminum propeller shaft at the Moser 9-inch with 3.89 gears gnashing on the Detroit TrueTrac differential.

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For the chassis/suspension combination, Cris collected all that DSE offers. He installed the hydroformed subframe and all that comes with it (control arms, steering rack, antisway bar, etc.). AFCO coilover adjustable dampers control wheel movement and establish a 3-inch drop in ride height. At the other end, a QUADRALink four-bar system locates the axle, includes an antisway bar and is damped by AFCO coilovers that lower the body 4 inches. DSE subframe connectors bring both ends of the car together as well as giving the car increased resistance to torsional and lateral bending. JCG fortified the car further with a DSE abbreviated cage and took opportunity to accommodate the out-sized tires by inserting DSE’s king-size wheeltubs.

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The energy burners are requisite Wilwood, 6- and 4-piston assemblies servicing 14- and 13-inch hats that are all but submerged beneath the blacked-out ZX3R Forgeline wheels. The stretched fenders easily swallow the 18x10 hoops and the 295/35 Nitto NT05 skins in front and the 19x12 wheels and 335/30 NT05s on the business end.

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Moving into the comfort zone, we find black subdued, the work of Eric Thorsen who works out of nearby Agoura Hills, California. Thorsen leathered-up the door and side panels and finished off the storage compartment and the access lids where the rear seat once squatted. Aside from air conditioning, the only other blatant creature comfort is the Kenwood head (with DVD player), the Focal 5½-inch front and 6x9 rear speakers. Sparco seats stand tall, accompanied by four-point Sparco belts. JCG built a custom dashpanel with a second-gen Trans Am flavor to it, and the billet dash insert holds a complement of ProParts Spek gauges. JCG finished the tableau with a custom billet center console. The big round thing on the adjustable steering column is a Sparco item; the shifter is part of the Tremec conversion.

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Overall views of the Camaro aptly illustrate the benefits of being fat. Cris’s superbly hogged-out wheelwells are perfectly aligned and arched and lend immediacy and vibrancy to the overall silhouette. Aside from the considerable work to build the fat fenders, JCG smoothed out the sheetmetal, removed the front bumper and got down with the D-rings, the carbon-fiber spoiler, understated JCG grille, and the featherweight Anvil carbon-fiber hood. They also erased the side marker lights, flushed-mounted the taillights, integrated one of their rolled pans and worked the rear bumper accordingly. Pacific Coast Powder Coating in Palmdale, California, surely did its best to produce contrast where it was needed. Finally, they finished the exterior off with PPG Corvette Jet Stream Blue.

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And any male knows what the name implies and how one arrives at that often-painful state. Steven Rupp put the two together—the frustration from waiting with the blue Camaro—and the name was born.

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