“Prove all things – hold fast that which is good” 1 Thessalonians Ch. 5 Vs. 21
I called my buddy Chad Carothers back in August with my idea to turn the Camaro, inside out. The good thing about a good friend is that you don’t have to go overboard explaining yourself. I wanted to reverse the previous black/white theme of the car, and put into art form everything that I “Hold Fast” too. Namely; God, Amber, Family, America, my pets…and maybe a little old skool nautical theme thrown in for good measure.
Chad got here last Thursday night…put in 12 hrs Friday, then worked straight through from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon…putting in 30+ hours with no sleep, while pushing his flight back in order to get everything done. I’m not going to put in a bunch of words here to take away from his masterpiece…but I will tell you that when we were standing there, completely exhausted and staring at the last little area of open space up near the front fender, he looked at me and said we’re out of time…and that he was out of ideas. I looked back at him and said, write the word JESUS on there as big as you can, and be done with it….since that was who I’d been praying to all night and morning that it would get finished in time and we’d make his next flight!!!
PS- Chad’s going to paint the hood scoop in Cali…I’ll get a pick of that up next time.
So far, January has been a long month, and it’s not even half way over yet. In Tennessee, the days have been gray and damp…and the nights have been spent under the fluorescent lights thrashing away on my trusty old battle horse ’69 Camaro. If you’ll recall, the only thing we’ve changed is everything in an effort to step up to the much faster outlaw 4.70 class. I cut my season short back in September and got the car over to my buddy Steven Farrow of Farrow Motorsports, where we’ve been dissecting, lightening, and adding extra juice ever since. The list of improvements is long, with regard to the chassis; new round tube back-half, 4-link, narrowed/reinforced rear differential with 4.56 pro gear, sfi 25.5 roll cage, and carbon fiber wheel tubs. As for the engine, it’s been completely freshened with Comp Cams valve train components, new bearings, rings, and hopped up with a Lunati 4.500 crank and “I” beam rods to make an all aluminum 598 CID thumper. As impressive as this may sound, we’re still going to be outgunned relative to other cars/engines in the class where dual carb, 632 CID and larger displacement is the norm. Therefore added motivation in the form of an additional ZEX nitrous kit will have to get the job done. TCI has also freshened my pro-x transmission/convertor with the right combination to get the most out of the new engine/chassis combination.
Last Fri night/Sat morning, the engine short block was finished and we breathed a very short sigh of relief….
….then gulped more air before going below the surface of the Camaro to mate the short block engine to the trans/driveshaft/rear-end. The reason we were holding our breath, was that I had a dead line to deliver the car to the body shop on Monday, and we could ill-afford any complications at this point. Luckily, and I mean very luckily, we were able to keep the existing OEM trans tunnel location as the driveshaft cleared without any problem….this was a big deal because it saved fabrication time, and now we would be able to concentrate on setting the new ride height and new front clip.
Saturday night, the new clip was mocked up on the front of the car and I couldn’t believe my eyes as the clip, doors and hood all fit very well, requiring only minimal cutting, adjusting, shimming, etc….I would much rather be lucky than good…or in my particular case; better to be blessed than not. I left the shop Saturday night with a feeling of confidence that we’d meet our deadline, and now it was time to focus on Sunday morning’s worship service at my church, Oakwood Baptist.
Pastor Ken was preaching a sermon about how God can change a heart, and asked me to give my Christian testimony, which I was honored to do….but I was about as nervous and stressed out as a scarred, tattoo’d guy can be standing up in front of a congregation, lol! It’s not a natural thing for me to do…I’m not a polished public speaker, and I’m not proud of a lot of things in my past….however I KNOW that God will fight the battles, all I have to do is show up and let Him. All said and done, it was a wonderful experience, and one that definitely helped strengthen my walk, and hopefully blessed a few others along the way.
After the Church service, my wife and I enjoyed a quick plate of leftovers, and then it was back to the shop for final fit-fabrication. New front mounting brackets would have to be built to accommodate the fuel cells, radiator, and longer, lower front end…so Sunday evening rolled into Monday evening, and at about 8 p.m., we rolled Project 4.70 out the door and onto the trailer. Tuesday morning I delivered the car to Troy Byrd’s body shop in Dayton, TN where it will remain for the next couple of weeks, getting a thorough body message, and fresh coat of paint. My old buddy Chad Carothers is going to fly in from So. Cal on the 26th of this month and then it’s time to get serious with our new “Hold-Fast” graphics/paint scheme…
We still have a ways to go with plumbing, wiring, etc., but if everything stays on course, I figure we stand a strong chance of testing the new ride towards the end of February or first of March…for now it’s time to take a breather and concentrate on all the other little things that go into making sure we’re set up for a successful season; scheduling, budgeting, updating safety equipment, etc.
I also want to pause and give credit to everybody who continues to make racing a reality; namely my employer Coker Tire, Dart Machinery, Comp Cams, Lunati, TCI, Zex, Joe Gibbs Racing Oil, Holeshot Wheels, Lizard Skin, Andy McCoy Race Cars, Dupont Performance Coatings, Farrow Racing Engines, and above all, God, who is the ultimate sponsor of everything I do!
Ps- look for the first of a three-part article written by Tommy Lee Byrd on project 4.70 in next month’s issue of RPM Magazine!!!