With over three decades of production to select from, many of us who don't own a Camaro would still choose a '69 model over any other. Desirable? Yes! Available? Somewhat. Reasonable? Likely not. However, we can still dream, right?
Charley Lillard of Woodland, California, dreams no more. He's owned this '69 Z/28 Rally Sport since late 1996. Charley was quick to tell us this is not a numbers-matching car. It's more like a really cool showcase of some very rare Chevrolet pieces. More on that later
Somewhere around 1990, this sweetie was restored by Dave's Auto Service, in Edmonton, Kentucky, for Carl Dwiggins (a noted collector). While wearing its Daytona Yellow overcoat proudly, the matching houndstooth interior features the rare heater delete, as well as the radio delete special order request, in keeping with its go-fast theme.
Now, back to that interesting apparatus, as mentioned in our subtitle. If you look closely at the engine photo with this feature, you'll notice something's amiss with the shape of the valve covers. This saucy Z is outfitted with a rare set of "Porcupine" cylinder heads and a matching cross-ram manifold. Developed for Trans-Am racing, this experimental combination was sent to tuner legend Smokey Yunick in Daytona Beach, Florida. Smokey was assigned the task of determining if this new setup was worth the effort to flog and produce (horsepower-wise). As legend has it, Yunick deemed the horsepower gain to be insignificant, so the expense could not be justified.
These cylinder heads are most notable for their equally spaced exhaust ports, unlike the common Siamese small-block ports. What remains unknown is whether or not they were the precursor to today's NASCAR SB2 heads. And though the cross-ram intake resembles its production cousins, only the top plate is similar, due to the port spacing. The engine in question was purchased from one of Smokey Yunick's auctions, some time around 1990. The heads are stamped 70065-98-D, and we're told the "D" designates this to be the fourth engine of its kind built. Likewise, the valve covers are cast with the numbers 12-2-68 (which is a date code), and O-314634 MA, with the letter "O" designating it's an experimental part (or so we're told).
With the great Smokey Yunick having passed on, it's unlikely that we'll be hearing any tall tales in regards to this unusual combination. However, a series of tell-all books were published prior to Yunick's death. Maybe, just maybe, that's where the key to this mystery is told.