Want to draw a crowd everywhere you go? Build a pure, dag-nasty evil engine like the one in Tony's Camaro. The racket it made as he pulled into the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds made dead men weep. We threw elbows like hockey players trying to blaze a trail through the gathered crowd to catch a glimpse when Tony popped the hood. Expecting to see a big-block, we blinked hard and fumbled with our camera to get a halfway decent shot of this ultra-potent small-block that sounded every bit like a Pro-Stock/Cup Car hybrid. What made us go gah-gah over yet another small-block Chevy? Read the callouts. You'll get it.
That 820hp figure we listed in the headline is from running naturally aspirated. On top of that, Tony's got a fogger system built by GR. It's been tested to flow as much as a 1,000 shot, but he only runs about a 500 shot through it. “That's about all the bottom end will support,” Tony says.
The obvious star of the show is the Hogan's sheetmetal intake manifold. Tony used to have the old NASCAR manifold on the engine, but this version will ultimately get him to the power levels he was after. The sideways-mounted Dominator carb is effective for cars with really violent launches, minimizing the amount of fore/aft fuel slosh. This is beneficial in Tony's car because he loves to do wheelies, telling us that in its previous configuration, he'd carry the wheels for 350 feet down the track.
C. Heads and Cam:
Those are honest-to-goodness 18-degree cylinder heads from an engine that used to run in Jamie McMurray's Cup car. The compression ratio is a steep, 14.8:1, and this car runs on methanol. The Comp Cams solid roller cam is spun by a Jesel beltdrive system, and Jesel shaft mount rocker arms stabilize the valvetrain. Tony assembled the engine himself several years ago, but for this iteration, he sent it to Dustin Miller of Miller Precision Machine in Topeka, Kansas.
Tony is a long-time street racer, so he needs a foundation that's bulletproof, won't overheat, supports big cubic inches, and is 100 percent reliable. He skipped past the concrete-filled stock block and went straight to Dart. The combination of bore size and the forged Eagle rotating assembly equals 427 ci.
A Moroso motor plate locates the engine in the stock location on the Smithcraft front subframe Tony bought to both lighten and strengthen the front end. The accessories are turned by a Jones Racing cog beltdrive system. You can also see the Moroso vacuum pump drawing crankcase pressure from the passenger-side valve cover.
Tony has owned this Camaro since 1986, and it's always been a fast driver/street racer. He's gone as fast as 5.30s in the eighth-mile, which calculates to low-8s in the quarter-mile—and that was with his old induction setup. Lest you think he's some rich guy, Tony's an autobody technician who makes $12 an hour. It's taken him years to get the car built the way he always wanted it. The Chevelle belongs to Tony's brother, Bob.