In most engine build-ups you read about in magazines (including a couple in this issue) you have to read through three or four pages of how to torque a main cap and select a cam before you get the meat of the story, if at all. There’s really nothing wrong with these types of build-ups, but we’ve decided to cut to the chase. We gathered up four real-world street-driven First-Gen Camaros and threw them on the Primedia Tech Center’s chassis dyno with the help of Tech Center manager Dominic Conti just to see exactly what kind of power they were actually making.
There were some surprises and maybe a few disappointments as we found out how hard it really is to get the high-horsepower numbers magazines make sound so easy. None of these engines had been on a dyno before, and in most cases the carburetors were right out of the box. We are sure that with some time playing with ignition curves and carb jets all of them would pick up some more power.
Gerry Winkler’s Super Sport
Gerry took a factory SS 396 and built it his way, putting aside the comments from the resto crowd. The ’67 swallowed up the Merlin 540ci big-block and still retains the original A/C system which Gerry says comes in quite handy on warm Summer days when he takes the Camaro out cruising. His best quarter-mile times to date are 11.80s which got him kicked off the track for not having a roll cage.
Al Thomson’s ’69 Z/28
Al’s Z/28 is one of the nicest Camaros we have ever seen. Everywhere we looked, top or bottom, was detailed to perfection. When we first heard about it we thought, “Oh great, another Hugger Orange and white ’69 Z/28.” Boy were we wrong! The stance was perfect as was the wheel and tire choice. Be sure to check out the Winter 2002 issue of CAMARO PERFORMERS for a full feature.
Donald Bigbie’s ’69 Sport Coupe
Donald built his ’69 to be more-show-than-go since he did not intend to race it. He instructed his engine builder to make a strong street engine with torque down low. The finished car turned out just as he wanted, it looks great and has plenty of power where he needs it (torque comes on strong early and stays flat). You can get a better look at it on the cover and inside the October 2002 issue of Super Chevy as well as inside the next issue of CAMARO PERFORMERS.