With stock fourth-gen Camaros capable of running in the 12-second e.t. zone, it’s not uncommon to find a large amount of these cars at most any local dragstrip. But what is uncommon is finding the quicker of this specimen in show quality condition. Now, coming across an 8-second 2000 Chevrolet Camaro SS lurking in the back row of a local car show; well, this scenario falls under the guise of highly improbable. But that was exactly the case when we came upon Beau Buie’s immaculate SS at the annual Sycamore cruise in Illinois a few months back. The sheer viciousness grabbed our attention, but further inspection revealed that Beau’s passion for fast cars is equaled only by his devotion to detail. “Having a fast car is one thing,” revealed Beau. “But I also prefer my cars look good, too.”
Beau, an ironworker from Gilberts, Illinois, bought the car used and in stock trim. He began drag racing the car, running in the 12.40-second range. And now, six years later, he’s screaming down the quarter-mile in about 8.5 seconds.
Beau and his brother Rod, gearheads from early on, handle all the work in Beau’s garage. “I’ve done a ton of fab work in the engine bay and would guess I’ve spent easily over 50 hours welding holes and smoothing the framerails. A good amount of that time was spent notching the cowl in order to make room for the carburetor,” boasts Beau. “I also relocated the radiator for more room.”
The car is nothing short of spectacular and Beau’s hard work shines throughout, both inside and out. But the heart of this extreme ride is what started out as a 6.0L iron truck block and has morphed into 408 cubic inches of killer LS power between the framerails.
Opel Engineering in Streamwood, Illinois, handled the engine machine work, which features a 4.030-inch bore and 4-inch stroke. Beau kept the assembly process “in-house” and bolted up a set of AFR 245cc aluminum heads with Jesel rockers and stuffed in a set of Diamond 13.0:1 gas-ported pistons. An Eagle crank and a solid roller by Bullet Camshafts comes in with a lift of .725/.725 and duration of 267/283 at .050. A Pro Systems 4500 carb rated at 1,050 cfm is perched atop a Mast Motorsports 4500 two-piece intake. An Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump ensures the goliath gets plenty of swill, while an NOS Pro Race Fogger 350-shot forces the issue. Kooks 2-inch stainless headers manage the greenhouse exit strategy. Mufflers? Nope. This a full-blown drag car.
The final tally for Beau's effort is a stout 1,000 hp at 7,800 rpm.
Wreaking havoc with that sort of girth on a well-prepped track will easily turn a stock trans into slivers of shrapnel at the hit, so Beau slapped the trans on his workbench and toughened up the Turbo 400, bolted up an ultra bell and armed it with a Midwest 3,500-stall converter and a TCI valvebody. To manage the mayhem, a Strange 3.5-inch driveshaft ably sends twist to a Strange 12-bolt rearend (narrowed 2 inches) equipped with Strange 33-spline axles and stuffed with 3.73 gears with a posi – all assembled by Rod Buie at Rod’s Shop in Gilberts, Illinois.
In the suspension department, the factory front spindles are accompanied by BMR tubular A-arms and QA1 adjustable shocks. A custom subframe keeps chassis twist to a minimum. Out back, QA1 R Series dampers offer Beau additional tunability to help launch this beast off the line.
Strange drag brakes handle stopping duties on all four corners and reside behind black Weld Alumastar 15x3.5 wheels up front, while a set of custom powdercoated 15x10 RT-S rollers fill the tubbed rear quarters. The slightly odd combination just works. Mickey Thompson ET rubber provides the grip at both ends (26x4 front, 275/60-15 rear).
A peek in the captain’s quarters reveal Beau’s serious business environment. Tweed-covered Kirkey Pro Street saddles set the scene while an Auto Meter Pro Comp 2 tach with shift light cues Beau the exact time to yank on the Cheetah SCS shifter. With oil pressure always being an important factor in any race situation, an Auto Meter oil pressure gauge keeps him well informed. Yes, there’s a passenger seat, but a set of NOS twins fill the void, nullifying any notion of a friendly joyride with a good buddy.
Fast Forward Race Cars in Plainfield, Illinois, fabbed up and installed the ’cage, which not only provides safety compliance ratings for the car’s 8.5 e.t. capabilities but also offers additional chassis stiffness. Powdercoating was left in the hands of the crew at Powder Pros.
Beyond the VFN fiberglass 4-inch cowl hood and the meticulously installed Burkhart chassis chute mount, the well-preserved F-body relies on the factory Navy Blue paint and stock trim. It’s not as though Beau’s SS conforms to a stock appearance, but he consciously managed to keep the fourth-gen’s soul intact.
Rolling in the 275-tire class takes quite a bit of finesse, experience, and a good amount of testing. “So far, the car has run 5.40 e.t. at 130 mph in the eighth-mile with a 1.25 60-ft time on drag radials,” informs Beau. “That’s equivalent to 8.50 at over 160 mph in the quarter. With further testing, I expect to run in the 5.20 – 5.30 range.”
For now, Beau has expressed no major regrets in the direction he’s gone with his super clean fourth-gen, but the ever-looming thought of more cubic inches seems to be a recurring topic of conversation between him and his brother Rod.
We have a feeling the Buie brothers aren’t quite done here, but as is usually the case with speed freaks, the horsepower-laced carrot is dangling just within reach.
It’s not as though Beau’s SS conforms to a stock appearance, but he consciously managed to keep the fourth-gen’s soul intact.