As you might guess, the very first Nickey/Thomas 427 Camaro was a red, SS350 four-speed built at Bill Thomas Race Cars. As such, it had smaller anti-roll bars and a small-block A/C radiator. The slated 427 had a wild camshaft, 12.0:1 compression, Thomas-built tube headers, and traction bars plus a dual four-barrel intake manifold with a pair of D-series Carter AFB carbs. The stock 12-bolt Posi had 4.56 gear ratio. Bill Thomas declared that it was a bona-fide street machine. Car magazines drove it everywhere, including Lions, Orange County, and Irwindale dragstrips. With Casler cheater slicks, it was not for the timid or inexperienced. The magazines recorded 11.40 e.t.'s at 126 mph. Just before the '68s were introduced, Dick Harrell tweaked it further with Chevy's new L89 aluminum heads and recorded 10.80s at 128 miles per hour.
The base price for a 1967 Nickey/Thomas SS427 Camaro was said to be $3,711.65. But this Nickey/Thomas red rocket bottom-lined at $4,300 without aluminum heads. No one to date knows where it ended up. Perhaps there is still someone out there who might. Speed & Supercar magazine said it was "too much to handle on the street." And it was—with the tractionless Wide Oval tires of the day. Most 427 Camaros with L72, 425hp 427, 3.73:1 gearing, and redline G60 Wide Oval tires ran mid-low 13s at 105 to 108 mph. Why so slow? Traction was absolutely nil until well into Third gear. Thomas' first SS427 was unbelievable. Next up: One of Nickey/Thomas' many real-world, retail, special-order sales—this very SS427.
It is, in fact, this magnificent, hugely original, Bolero Red SS427 Camaro owned by Texas' Delmer McAfee. He is said to be the car's sixth documented owner. Delmer was a feared west Texas Modified Production Chevy racer as a young man in the '60s, and the car you see here is believed to be the first Thomas-built SS427 customer car. I classify his Nickey/Thomas SS427 as a "mint semi-survivor." It was originally special-ordered through Nickey with L78 396 engine and delivered to the buyer via a local California Chevy dealer. Thomas Race Cars performed the entire buildup. The original owner drove it and took great care of it. So did following owners. The engine and driveline are said to be original. Its last owner, Barrington, Illinois' Mike Guarise, repainted it and detailed everything from stem to stern for a superb concourse-type presentation effort.
Many believe the majority of Nickey/Thomas SS427 Camaros were raced in AHRA Stock Eliminator or NHRA Super Stock Eliminator. Then as months and years flew by, engines broke, classes changed, and cars were sold. Most Camaros drag raced early on stayed that way. Not everyone read about or knew about Nickey/Thomas SS427 Camaros when they were new. So in due time, these gems and their record-shattering drag tests were forgotten about—but not here at Super Chevy. Credit Stefano Bimbi, CEO at Nickey Chicago, current builders and sellers of today's latest generation of 600-1,000hp supercar Camaros for some of the historics.
Delmer McAfee has enjoyed attending the Dana Mecum auctions in Illinois, Indiana, Florida, and Texas and has made many good buys, including this SS427 Camaro at Mecum – Indy '11.