1968 Chevy Camaro – Conversion Factor

Larry Woo was busy making imports go faster when the V-8 muscle car bug bit him hard. It’s not that he found the imports to be slow, he just realized that there’s no replacement for power generated by the displacement of a big eight-cylinder mill. He and his business partner, John Haugh, were known for building and selling high-end rides out of their Ohio-based R&H Motor Car Group. As the story goes, Larry’s wife spotted a classic Camaro in a parking lot at a muscle car show and the seed was planted. Soon, a ’68 Camaro was purchased and Larry solidified his conversion to our side of the automotive spectrum. Larry set two aspects of the build in stone; one, it had to be fast, and two, it had to have tremendous handling capabilities. To that end, just about every facet of the ’68 was tweaked, tuned, and modified to achieve his performance goals.

In terms of power, Larry pulled out all the stops. A 427ci (that’s 7,000cc for the import crowd) engine based around a C5R LS block was sourced from Lingenfelter. Fitted with Wiseco pistons, Callies crank, COMP valvetrain, and ARP fasteners, it’s a bulletproof base to support the intercooled Magnuson TVS1800 supercharger. The engine was dialed to 9:1 compression to allow an easy 7 psi of boost to be stuffed into the power mix. To control engine bay heat, the custom headers were Jet-Hot coated then wrapped, along with the pipes, all the way down to the custom side-exit exhaust that’s topped off with Flowmaster mufflers. It’s a combination good for 590 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of twist to the tires. Backing up this boosted LS engine is a Tremec T56 Magnum six-speed fitted with a SPEC twin-disc clutch spinning safely inside a Quicktime bellhousing. The power transitions to the rearend, which features 4.30 gears and an Eaton Truetrac limited-slip diff.

The drivetrain ensured that the Camaro would be fast. To nail down the handling side of the performance equation, Larry turned to the wares of Detroit Speed Inc. Custom 1-inch-drop spindles ride on a DSE subframe fitted with four-way adjustable JRi shocks. The rear of the car received a DSE QUADRALink four-bar with another pair of four-way adjustable JRi shocks. StopTech calipers bite down on the massive 14-inch front and 13-inch rear rotors. All that braking prowess rides inside 19×11 and 19×12 Forgeline wheels wrapped in 305/35-19 front and 335/30-19 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber.

Coming from an import background, Larry holds killer tunes in high regard, so the Camaro has a rockin’ audio system with bits from Rockford Fosgate and Morel. The Recaro seats were custom-stitched in red and black leather, as were the door panels. A Racepak digital dash keeps track of velocity and engine vitals while a suede Sparco wheel helps Larry jink around the cones. A comfortable ride to the track is also ensured by the Vintage Air A/C system.

The Camaro was shot in PPG Black at R&H Motor Car Group, and it’s also where they twisted up the headers and fabbed the killer inner fenderwells and rollcage. The Camaro’s exterior kept its classic look. The trim is all there, including the emblems, but the door handles vanished. Still, the vintage vibe lulls the competition into dropping its guard and not noticing all the high-tech performance lurking beneath.

With the Camaro being on the road for a relatively short amount of time, it’s already kicked some major butt at events around the country. On the autocross, it knocked down times good enough to land in the Goodguys Scottsdale finals as well as scoring a 2013 Goodguys Muscle Machine of the Year finalist spot. He also snatched up a coveted spot in the 2013 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational held in Pahrump, Nevada.

Larry couldn’t be happier with how the Camaro turned out, but there’s always room for improvement. So this killer F-body is also used as a testbed for their company’s new parts. In fact, since we snapped these pictures, the Camaro has moved over to a bigger blower, different wheels, reworked gauges, a floater rearend, and a ton of other modifications, both big and small. One thing that hasn’t changed is Larry’s love of all things automotive, regardless of which realm in the performance world the ride sprang from.

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