Turbocharged 1968 Chevy Camaro - Family Affair

The Duncan Clan Shows It Knows How To Build A Wild Custom Camaro.

Thomas J. Lyman Mar 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Stories about cars sure are interesting, especially within the Super Chevy subculture. It makes you wonder-in 20 years, will the Gen X- and Y-ers be scouring the earth for that long-lost front-drive Impala SS, recreating the rusted heap into what the car originally was back in, say, 2006? Can anyone imagine coming across some forgotten '04 Cobalt mired in a barn somewhere out in the country and thinking, "Hey, that was my first car ... I think I'll try to put it back together for the sake of nostalgia"?

With the new Camaro just over the horizon, such a scenario is probably possible, albeit with a much longer list of OEM parts than today's muscle restorers deal with. The fact is that today it is vastly easier to take an old beat-up Chevy and try to make it what it once was.

That's exactly what Jim Duncan of Sanderson, Florida, did.

When he was 16, Jim rocked a '68 Camaro- back in the day when the Camaro was the car to have, especially as a 16-year-old. Unfortunately, and this is another common theme within the extended Bow Tie family, Jim and his wife sold the car shortly after they married-the Duncans decided they wanted a "more reliable f--orm of transportation." We just hope that didn't mean minivan.

Fast-forward 23 long years of marriage and the Duncans decided they would purchase another '68, but this one would include some modern-day appointments, making it a "dependable" automobile. While on vacation, Jim's wife, Cathy, found the perfect example, a '68 that was in "extremely poor condition," according to the Duncans. The couple paid $5,000 for the car, transported it back to Florida through a multitude of back roads, and 11 hours later the car took up residence in a barn on the Duncan's property.

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As with most Bow Tie builds, this one didn't get off the ground immediately. Let's face it-taking on any project, whether it be building a Pinewood Derby car or a '68 Camaro, takes a good amount of prior planning and setting time aside to complete the job. Cathy came to the rescue once again in that regard, though- she bought Jim a numbers-matching '67 RS/SS Camaro so that the duo could "enjoy driving a Camaro" immediately. The '67 would have to suffice over the next three years as the '68 project came together.

The heart and soul of the '68 that the Duncan family created is a 568ci assembled by none other than legendary Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins. The engine features a ported Weiand Team G intake manifold, a 1,250-cfm Holley carb, and World Products Merlin heads with massive 345cc intake ports. The exhaust system includes Hooker Super Comp headers mated to a custom exhaust with Summit mufflers. Add the sum of all those go-fast parts and Jim figures the car should be good to go into the 9s in the quarter-mile. That thesis has yet to be tested, though. For proven numbers, the 568 makes 858hp on motor, and has plenty of room to move upwards of that number with a NOS fogger system that can bring an extra 150-500hp to the table.

A Turbo Action Powerglide transmission helps the power meet the ground, along with a Turbo Action 3,500-stall torque converter. A rewelded and balanced '68 driveshaft makes its way back to a Chris Alston Chassisworks Fab9 rearend with a 4.10 gear and a Detroit Locker Posi. The suspension components are almost entirely sourced from Chassisworks. Up front, the Camaro has Chassisworks tubular A-arms, improved spindles, springs, and VariShock adjustable shock absorbers.

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In the rear, Jim installed a Chassisworks four-link setup as well as the same VariShock units found in the front suspension arrangement. The car also has Chassisworks custom subframe connectors to keep chassis flex to a minimum on spirited driving excursions. The Camaro rides on Center Line wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber.

Jim installed all the OEM interior pieces himself, but added some killer Corbeau seats, Auto Meter gauges, and a Grant leather steering wheel. Jim also threw in a stereo system, mixing Pioneer and Sony components to make sounds (other than the awesome engine note) echo throughout the cabin.

What better color to adorn the '68 than the iconic Hugger Orange hue that Jimmy, Jim's son, applied to the Camaro? The car also contains some custom touches on the exterior, including deleted front and rear bumpers, and a painted grille from Original Parts Group. All the bodywork was completed at Riddles Body Shop under the eye of Jimmy.

The car wouldn't have been completed without the help of some immediate family members, as is often the case with automotive projects. Jacob, Jim's other son, helped with much of the mechanical work; Cathy, of course, helped with every aspect of the build; and Jim even recruited the services of his nephew, Mike Norrell, to fab up some of the Camaro's tougher parts. In the end, having all the support of his family made the build that much more memorable.

"The entire car is special to me because my family and I built it together," Jim said. "We built a car that is entirely unique and unlike any other Camaro, from the handcrafted specialty pieces to the custom paint."

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