When Jonathan Farrell clicked his Camaro on, everyone knew it. The car was coming off his trailer in a wide, brick-lined alley east of the 110 Freeway in what the city council doesn't want you to call South Central Los Angeles. The open headers dusted the area with a race-gas blast as the car slipped onto the street. The alternating percussions sounded like you were standing between two artillery batteries.
This Camaro makes money under the name Bow Down. The interior is set up with the singular purpose of killing rivals and taking their stack of hundreds in a place where there are no red lights to keep it fair or timing beams to record speeds and e.t.'s. If a part doesn't make the car faster or more controllable, it isn't on the car. It's a business tool in a business that is seldom seen by the average hot-dog-loving ShamWow slinger.
Apart from the insane speed, what makes this car so good is the environment in which it's driven. An abandoned warehouse-access road or an empty, high-desert highway provides a lot less traction and stability than a sanctioned track, yet the Camaro can hold the wheels in the air as long as necessary to get the cash payout.
You might think this car gets Jonathan and his brothers in trouble, but the truth is just the opposite. There are gangs in his neighborhood, and after their eldest brother, Daniel, was shot, their father, Charles Sr., handed them the keys to his Camaro and taught them how to build and race it.
For the next 10 years, the car kept all three brothers away from gangs, drugs, and the hereafter. Each member had a job to do to keep the car competitive, and it served as a healthy distraction from the realities of the L.A. streets. The guys are now in their late twenties and, traffic-related paperwork aside, have stayed out of trouble.
Lately, as the last of the local dragstrips in the L.A. area have closed, there has been a lot of focus on this car and on street racing in general. Jonathan, alongside the owners of Custom Performance Racing (CPR), was contacted by producers at National Geographic to film a documentary called L.A. Street Racers. This introduced the world to the inner-city street-racing culture and Jonathan's cash-cow Camaro. Check out the EthelKilledFred YouTube page to see the show.
Who: Jonathan Farrell
What: '73 Chevrolet Camaro
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Engine: Jonathan's father, Charles IV, assembled the 406-inch iron small-block with AFR 220 aluminum heads and a Probe rotator. It has a race-gas compression ratio and runs on C14 Plus normally and C16 when the nitrous is applied. The cam is an Isky solid roller with 284/284 duration at 0.050 and 0.690 lift.
Power: The Wilson intake has a Nitrous Supply plate on it with Pro Power solenoids. Jonathan tells us it's good for a 275hp shot through the 1050 Holley Dominator.
Electronics: The ignition consists of a MSD billet distributor and a Pro Power coil. Controlling the power is a NOS digital nitrous controller and an MSD timing retard.
Hook: Using "a lot of VHT" on the 29.5/10.5-15 M/T ET Drags and a set of CalTracs bars and springs gets the car to stick virtually anywhere. It isn't tubbed. The inside of the body was pounded flat and the outside lip of the fender was rolled to fit the meats. The 12-bolt has a set of 4.56:1 gears.
Trans: Yes, this thing explodes like a North Korean rocket off the transbrake. The TH400 was prepped by Steve Sharp from Torrance, CA. The 3,000-rpm converter is from Continental.
How Fast: Jonathan tells us the car ran 9.80 at 142 with "half-track squeeze" in Vegas. If you want to find out exactly how fast, it will cost as much money as you care to count.