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1972 Chevy El Camino - Mandrel Bent

Jason Abey's Homebuilt '72 El Camino

Photography by Wes AlIison

Tech Notes
What: A big-block '72 El Camino.
Owner: Jason Abey, who we mistakenly referred to as just "Abey" until he asked what the hell was wrong with us.
Hometown: San Fernando Valley, California, also known as The Valley.

Body mods: Jason likes things looking clean so he shaved and filled everything but the bumpers and the window moldings. He also filled the gaps where the front fender meets the turn-signal housing and removed and filled the bedrail moldings and shaved a 11/44 inch off the bumper brackets so it would slide in toward the body. The hood is a 6-inch cowl from U.S. Body Source. Since the Sri Lanka flag has a lot of yellow in it, Jason painted the entire car Lexus-yellow chrome.

Engine: He bought the short-block after finding it in the classified ads for $200. Since he eventually wanted to add a supercharger, Jason used a set of oval-port heads and forged pistons from P.A.W. The static compression ratio is 8.5:1. "I don't like to wait for parts; I want to see the part and buy it the same day," he says. Valencia Auto Parts did the machining, and Jason assembled the parts at Midas.

Exhaust: One of the techs at the Midas is Tony Tooma. He is an exhaust guy who started tinkering and bending some pipes with an artist's eye. He became the go-to fabricator at the shop and made some "symmetrical" bends on the 211/42-inch tubes running to the Flowmaster mufflers.

Fuel: Jason had always been a Holley guy, but when the Barry Grant 750 Demon came out, he had to have one. "The Demon was just cool looking." He also added an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake; it's his favorite.

Heads: Why not a set of aluminum heads? "Rectangular ports were more popular, but I had a set of iron big-block oval-port heads from a boat that were ready so I used them." Jason also added some 1.7:1 Lunati roller rockers and Crane springs to match the Comp Cams hydraulic flat-tappet cam with 230 degrees at 0.050 and 0.520 lift.

Ignition: It has an MSD HEI with 8mm wires and ACDelco Rapid Fire plugs.

Interior: Remember the flag theme? The yellow is inset into the doors so the interior isn't just all grey. High Quality Upholstery in Santa Clarita, California, works on Ferraris and also Jason's interior. The seats are from a 3 Series BMW that a drifter kid who delivers parts to the shop gave up in favor of a set of Recaros. Jason scooped them up and dropped them in. The dashboard is custom with a rack of Auto Meter gauges, and the mirror switch is from a Toyota. All ideas he picked up from servicing other cars.

Pulleys: Since he had a '96 block, he called the local Chevy dealer and bought the entire serpentine system.

Rearend: He had 4.56 gears but decided 4.11 gears and an Auburn limited-slip unit were much more streetable.

Suspension: He used a spindle from a late-model Caprice and Global West tubular upper and lower control arms for a 1-inch drop in the front and an EMB adjustable tubular four-link with Hotchkis lowering springs for 3 down in the rear. After that, he measured the offset and had American Racing build a set of wheels that would clear.

Transmission: After he put the big-block in he began eating TH350s, so again he went to the classifieds and found a rebuilt TH400. He shortened the driveshaft and added a B&M Holeshot converter, Mega Shifter, and a Shift Improver Kit.

Wheels/Tires: Yes, that is a 20x10 wheel with 511/42-inch backspacing, but it tucks up nicely so he can get away with it. To turn, he uses an 18x8 wheel. Both are Torq-Thrust IIs from American Racing with 275/50R-18 and 20 tires.

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