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1969 Camaro Street-Driven Dominator ...And Other Divorceable Acts

We couldn't resist Rick Lantz's 1969 Camaro with a bonafide 746hp on the dyno.

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TECH NOTES
What: '69 Chevrolet Camaro
Owner: Rick Lantz
Hometown: Concord, NC. The same state that hosted last year's Cruisin' USA in Oakboro.

Block: It is an all-aluminum 461-inch Donovan small-block with 4.155 bore and a raised cam location to accommodate the 4.25-inch stroke. Rick sent it to LSM after the lifter collapsed and wiped out the bores. LSM repaired them with brass sleeves and opened up the cam journals for big roller bearings. The rest of the assembly was performed by Dave Ebbert at DNE Motorsports Development.

Cage: The 'cage only has four connection points because the old owner never did decide what kind of racing he wanted to do. Rick will go with an NHRA-approved setup.

Cam: The primary problem with the valvetrain is the raised cam location and aggressive profile combined with the stock small-block-style lifters and pushrods. And even though the former owner claimed he never over-revved it (sure, dude!), the stock equipment just couldn't compete. Now the engine has Chrysler dimension lifters (0.904 inch) and a custom-grind solid roller from LSM. Rick thinks it can take 7,200-7,300 rpm, but the shift light is set for 6,800.

Chassis: The original intent was to run the Silver State Classic open road race, so Ray's Fabrication assembled the Chris Alston tube-frame chassis with the help of J Bittle from JBA. At some point, the old owner changed his mind and tried to make it a drag car. The result is a car that is neither top-speed ready nor NHRA approved but is great for the street. Rick says, "With 275s on the front, at low speeds it is a little tough to turn, otherwise it rides good on the freeway with the adjustable shocks. I've never taken it around a corner hard, I am afraid that the rear will step out and I will wreck it."

Dash: Basically, Rick's done nothing to the dash except the backlighting. Nothing else works, and there is no speedo conversion for the Jeffco transmission. He's covered the whole thing up with a Pro Comp tach. It works for us. The wiper switch controls the electric fan and the water pump, and the switch near the shifter toggles between the horn and the line lock.

The Dominator: Only the jets had been tinkered with on the out-of-the-box 1050 Holley Dominator. It was then sent to a DaVinci Performance expatriate for some booster work to get the engine to work on the street. "I think it's really driveable; I can have it at 2,000 rpm in Fourth gear and it will just start to buck a little bit. It hasn't had a burp or hiccup since. It was one of the happy surprises for me."

Exhaust: The headers were custom-made by Bob Butler. They are 2.125 primaries that step to 2.250 with a 3.50-inch collector. The system then dumps into an oval tube for ground clearance and set of MagnaFlow 3.500-inch mufflers.

Fuel: The cell is pretty small in terms of it being a street car, so Rick has to hit the gas station pretty often. There is a fuel cell that holds about 12 gallons, and a piece of foam seems to keep the fuel from sloshing around in there on the street. Rick likes it though: "Part of the appeal is popping the trunk to fill the gas tank, and the battery switch is mounted where the filler neck should be."

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