Self-Built Camaro Is A Pro Street Hit At Street Machine Nationals

There was a sea of street machines of every shape and size at the Street Machine Nationals in Du Quoin, Illinois. If you want to see the most amazing Pro Street cars, this is the place to be. It’s where the movement gained its notoriety (and maybe its infamy) and is still alive, well, and highly represented at the event. Even though there are new builds introduced each year, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a modern car done Pro Street style as they did back in the day.

We get it — new cars are expensive — who wants to start cutting up a modern vehicle and hassling with all those electronics. But, back in the Pro Street heyday, there were plenty of cars that were practically brand new when they debuted. The likes of Matt and Debbie Hay’s Thunderbird, Rick Dobbertin’s J-2000, Mark Grimes’ Eurosport, and Rocky Robertson’s Buick LeSabre could still be seen in dealerships when they hit the show circuits. These were all fueled by the excitement around the movement of Pro Street. Though the euphoria of Pro Street has simmered; this year we found something special — and modern.

This well-constructed sixth-generation Camaro is self-built by Shawn Meeks and illustrates that the Pro Street movement is by no means “stuck in the ’90s.”(Photos by Shawn Brereton)

Shawn Meeks purchased this 2010 Camaro SS brand new. After a short stint of driving the car in stock form, the gears in his head began turning when he parked the car beside his first Pro Street project. He still owns the 1967 Mustang fastback he constructed back in the 1990s. As a service engineer by trade for the Caterpillar Corporation, Meeks has the fabrication skills along with a complete shop of equipment to build yet another Pro Street transformation.

“I first went to the Street Machine Nationals back in 1986 when I was 16-years old,” Meeks tells us. “I was hooked from that point but was a young kid with no money. I wanted one of those cars so bad. Over the past ten years, I have created my own fabrication shop by slowly adding equipment. Now my goal was to construct a new Pro Street car that I hoped would be a real attention-getter at Du Quoin. My wife calls the shop my play area, but I like that I’m able to work on cars for friends as well as my own.”

The supercharged 418 cubic-inch LS powerplant is in stark contrast to the original Camaro body still sporting the original VIN tag. Meeks took great care in keeping the original paint in pristine condition despite all of the custom fabrication.

Meeting his own personal challenge, Meeks explains his goal was always to complete the transformation entirely by himself. The one exception he notes is his reluctance to do any paint or bodywork. Something he didn’t want to task on himself. “My intent was to back-half the Camaro and construct the roll cage without touching the original paint or interior.”

He accomplished that goal by only requiring the Camaro hood to be modified to accommodate the massive Supercharger assembly. The Blower Drive Service 8-71 supercharger is combined with an Enderle Fuel Injection “Big and Ugly” injector hat along with a “Rapta Catcha” air enhancer from Alkydigger.

Within his personal shop, Meeks completed all of the modifications himself including the back-half suspension, wheel tubs, and roll cage. He even fabricated the 9-inch Ford sheet metal housing.

Full disassembly of the Camaro interior took place. Meeks explained the wheel tubs were his biggest challenge as not to damage the original paint. “I had to lightly tickle my TIG welder around the tubs, back-half suspension, and some cage bars so I didn’t burn the paint,” he says.

Mission accomplished.

July 30, 2019

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