It's a common story: Boy meets car, boy falls in love, gets his first magazine feature with his first love, sells the car, and then regrets that decision for the rest of his life. But this story has a feel-good ending because once Randy Johnson realized his error, the prodigal Camaro showed up on eBay virtually on cue. Randy's first brush with glory was back in 1998 at the Car Craft Summer Nationals when we shot a feature on the Rat-powered TH400 car that ran in the Nov. '98 issue ("Orange Peeler"). Randy let it go to make way for the blue '66 Chevelle that eventually won the CC Real Street competition in 2008. But after starting D&Z Customs, Randy's focus turned back toward the '70 Camaro. You know it's really all about family when you discover his company's name is derived from his children's first names, Dylan and Zoey. Randy says the Camaro is "in the family for life," and there's no reason to doubt him.
So far, the Camaro has done well waving the D&Z flag. After winning a Goodguys' autocross event, the Camaro was invited to the prestigious '09 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational, and amid some 40-odd competitors, Randy performed admirably with a near-new car. Before winning Car Craft's '10 Real Street Eliminator Muscle Car title, Randy also competed in the Optima Street Car Faceoff at the Road America road course and placed favorably against the best Pro Touring cars in the country. With two RSE-winning cars in three years, he's on his way to creating his own little dynasty.
Who: Randy Johnson
What: '70 Camaro
Where: Kewaskum, WI
Engine: Wegner Automotive did the machine work and assembly for this 4x4-inch bore and stroke iron block LS engine that now displaces 402 ci. The engine started life as a bone-stock LQ4 6.0L truck motor, but Wegner wrangled in a K1 crankshaft and connecting rods, attached them to a set of Wiseco 9.4:1-compression pistons, and added a set of Wiseco rings, and the short-block came together pretty quickly. Since the plan involved a Magnuson TVS 2300 blower, Randy chose a conservative Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) 215/247-degrees-at-0.050-spec hydraulic roller cam that offers 0.629/0.656-inch lift and sits on a 121-degree lobe-separation angle. The wider lobe spread helps part-throttle driveability. The heads are Wegner CNC-ported rectangle-port L92 castings fitted with good springs and pushrods along with a GM F-body oil pan and a set of Hedman Hustler headers. The Magnuson supercharger employs its own built-in aftercooler and relies on a set of 65-lb/hr injectors to supply sufficient fuel for somewhere around 750 flywheel horsepower.
Transmission: Because Randy fully intends to drive this Camaro all over the place, the best choice was the Tremec T56 Magnum version six-speed using a Spec twin-disc clutch and splined on the other end to a Machine Services 3-inch steel driveshaft.
Rearend: This might be the most exotic part of Randy's Camaro. Working with Heidts, the company used the Camaro as the prototype mule for this independent rear suspension package. One slight advantage, as one Summer Nationals spectator noticed: "That car doesn't have any rear brakes!" In reality, the Baer caliper and rotors have been moved inboard to minimize the effect of unsprung weight. In addition, the Heidts 9-inch centersection housing uses a Randy's Ring and Pinion 3.70:1 ratio along with a Truetrac limited slip.
Suspension: We've already touched on the Heidts IRS that is damped with a pair of double-adjustable QA1 shocks with 500-lb/in springs. In the front, Randy started with a Heidts Pro-G subframe that mounts a set of tubular upper and lower control arms and lowered spindles along with a splined 11/4-inch front sway bar. The system is damped with a pair of coilover QA1 shocks with 650-lb/in springs while steering is supplied by rack-and-pinion.
Brakes: Up front are 14-inch drilled and slotted rotors with Baer six-piston 6P calipers, while out back is a 10.5-inch rotor package.
Wheels/Tires: Pulling a decent g number in the corner means sticky rubber and lots of it. Randy opted for a set of 275/35ZR18 front and monster footprint 315/30ZR18 rear Nitto NT01 gumballs mounted on Forgeline 9x18-inch fronts and 11.5x18-inch rears.
Interior: Ace Auto Trim in West Bend, Wisconsin, whipped up the black with orange stitching seat covers that complement the Cerullo seats, Grant steering wheel, and Auto Meter Phantom II gauge package. RideTech supplied the stainless steel Tiger Cage safety gear, and Vintage Air makes those Midwest summers bearable.
Body: Once the Camaro was back in Randy's hands, he immediately began its reconstruction, pulling the F-body down to bare sheetmetal. Randy did most of the grunt work with help from Jeff Miller and Darrel Whitman, who laid down the PPG orange-and-white paint scheme, and then it was back to Randy's D&Z shop to final fit all the little details.
Performance: The Camaro knocked down the top RSE horsepower number with a solid 605-rwhp achievement, and he has seen as much as 623 rwhp.