Since 2003, Camaro lovers everywhere have been living in a state of mild depression-at least I have. No longer can you walk into a dealership and see the latest and greatest 'maro to come off the General Motors production line. On top of that, we have been teased with beautiful concepts depicting a throwback to 1969 that have simply been fairy tales-until now. GM will be producing the Camaro for 2010, out in January 2009. But for two speed freaks down in the Louisiana Bayou, that was just too long. Tony Baudier and Darrell Devenny took matters into their own hands and custom-built their NOPI/NMCA Pro Street 2010 Camaro from the ground up.
Tony, a longtime drag racer, has spent countless dollars ensuring he was the first to wheel a fifth-generation F-body down the quarter-mile. After hearing that Richard Earle of Suncoast Race Cars was working on designing a shell modeled after the Camaro concept coupe, he caught the next flight to Florida.
"I went to his shop to check it out. I loved what I saw and had to convince Richard to sell us the first one. It took a lot of negotiations, but we finally came to terms," said Tony.
Growing up, Tony was a huge fan of the Transformers television show, and though he said he knew the words, he would not recite the original theme song for me. After going to the Transformers film in 2007, he decided his new race car should draw on the theme of "Bumblebee," the pearl yellow concept Camaro/Autobot from the movie. (Many Pro Mod and Pro Street racers have turned out to be cartoon fans, with themes ranging from Batman to The Incredible Hulk.)
Tony has been in the automobile business for many years now, owning and operating Baudier Graphix in New Orleans. His graphics and wrapping work can be seen on many drag cars and haulers across the U.S. This made for easy work applying Bumblebee, in robot form, on both sides of the hot rod.
When creating a car like this, visual appeal will only get you so far. It's all about horsepower in the drag racing world, and Tony was well aware of that fact. "We wanted it to be the baddest car on the planet, so we contacted Mike Moran about building a badass motor," he said.
Mike Moran of Moran Motorsports is probably best known for his quad-turbo '95 Camaro that rewrote the rules of speed for a Pro Street drag car running under 7 seconds in 2004. For Tony's Camaro, he started with a bare GM DRCE3 crate engine and added a Cam Motion camshaft from Sonny Bryant, Jesel valvetrain parts, and a Wilson sheetmetal intake. He also installed low-compression CPE pistons and a custom Big Stuff Gen 3 fuel-injection system. To complete the build, twin Precision 88mm turbochargers force 50 psi of boost into a 510ci fuel-injected engine producing more than 2,600 horsepower and capable of revs over 10,000 rpm.
Stomping the power to the ground is a mind-blowing footprint totaling 34 inches in the form of two 34x17-inch Hoosiers. All four skins are mounted on American Racing Wheels; 16x16 out back and 15x3.5 in front. With 2,600 horsepower pushing 2,500 pounds, rubber is the name of the game; the more you can get on the ground, the better chance you have of making a clean pass. To be competitive, the car will need to run in the mid-to-high 6s at around 230 mph, and with all this Bow Tie power, we don't see that as being an issue. In testing, the car has gone 4.43 at 178 in the eighth-mile, which would equate to about a 6.90 at over 205 mph.
Tony and Darrell saw an opportunity to have something that no one else in the world does. With only pictures to work from, they have custom-built a first-of-its-kind drag racing Camaro. In the upcoming year, they plan on running a full schedule at NMCA Pro Street events, as well as NOPI Pro Street races. Look for "Bumblebee" whistling by at racetracks all across the country.