“I always liked the big-tire look,” Allen Rasmussen told us when asked why he built his Camaro this way. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that. In this job, we meet all kinds of people motivated by a myriad of reasons for why they own the cars they do. Some are purely nostalgic: “It was my first car” or “My dad had one like this.” Other times, the car choice and build style are necessities to meet class rules for whichever version of motorsports the driver competes in. But it is always refreshing to hear someone say he built his car this way because that’s how he likes it.
Allen did that with his Camaro, and it stood out enough for us to grab him out of the crowd at the Car Craft Summer Nationals and do a shoot on the car. He and his Camaro have had a rough road together. He bought the car in 2001 while on a trip to Phoenix, and his wife and father-in-law drove the car home to Minnesota in a three-day marathon session in the winter with no heater. After driving it around for a while, Allen decided to have it restored at a local body shop. They charged him a very hefty fee, but never worked on the car. In fact, it got bashed around while it was there. Allen had to get a court order to get it back. He and a friend fixed all the damage and finally got it back on the road six years later. Since we took these pictures, Allen was involved in a terrible car crash (not in the Camaro) that has left him with limited mobility. He can still drive his Camaro, but he hasn’t been able to race it.
In spite of all this, Allen was optimistic when we spoke to him, describing a plan to get the car into the 9s with some nitrous tuning and carb tweaking. At the time of the shoot, his best pass was 10.18 at 132, so this car is far from a fairground cruiser. Those wheeltubs and huge tires aren’t just there for looks.
’69 Chevrolet Camaro
Engine: A few different engines have taken up residence within the engine compartment. When Allen bought it, the Camaro had a 350/Powerglide combination. He quickly chucked that for a 400 and a TH400 he yanked out his old mud truck. That combo was good enough to destroy the 10-bolt rear axle, necessitating the switch to a Moser 9-inch. After that, Allen wanted more power, so he bought a 0.100-over 454 block from a seller on Craigslist and took it to Baire’s Engine Service, where it was built with 10.25:1 JE pistons, a 4.25-inch stroker crank, a big Lunati roller cam, and ported Patriot cylinder heads. All the fasteners are from ARP, there are Isky valvesprings, titanium retainers, and Harland Sharp roller rocker arms under the fabbed aluminum valve covers. With a 1,095-cfm King Demon carburetor on top of a Dart single-plane intake, this combination is potent enough, but Allen also added a 200 shot Nitrous Express plate to the mix that helps motivate the car to low 10-second passes at the dragstrip.
Ignition: The distributor is MSD’s Pro Billet 8360. The coil is a Blaster 2 with a Digital 6-Plus in control.
Exhaust: Hooker 21⁄8-inch Super Competition headers lead to a 3-inch exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers.
Transmission: Still running the TH400 from his mud truck, this trans has been upgraded with a Hughes Performance valvebody and shift kit, a transbrake, an ATI 4,000-rpm-stall torque converter, and a TCI ratcheting shifter.
Suspension: For superior weight transfer, Allen installed Moroso front springs and Jeg’s 90/10 shocks. The rear suspension consists of Chassisworks Pro Street four-link kit with VariShock coilovers.
Brakes: Wilwood Dynalite brake kits are located front and rear.
Wheels/Tires: The wheels are Weld Draglites with Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires measuring 26x7.5-15 and 32x17-15, front and rear.
Paint/Body: Allen’s friend, Don Henderson, helped straighten the body and sprayed the Sunset Orange paint. The body is all steel except for the Harwood fiberglass hood.