Doug Nelson tells you true. What he says comes straight from the heart. No braggadocio. No mean spirit. No middle-finger salute. He could well be the incarnation of the archetypical Hot Rod soldier as envisioned by Editor Wally Parks and the magazine's fathers back in the '50s.
He took an absolute pile of crap and made it whole. He did the work. Some of it he didn't know even how to begin; he just made it happen. He hasn't got a whole lot of loot, but he's got the desire and the willingness to stand and persevere in a hail of potential failure. By the way, his '80 Camaro isn't a purpose-built racer. It's a street car. An 8-second street car, and has been since the first time he brought it out. It's a sled too, weighs more than 3,800 pounds with him in it. How does he do it? Turbochargers unleash manic power.
We love this stuff. Doug could have chosen some hackneyed bitch, something that's been done so many times it no longer piques interest or jacks up the fluid of emotion. It's a Camaro to be sure, but one rarely chosen for a laying-on of hands. Latter-day F-bodies are anathema to most-rubber bumpers, portly, no charisma-therefore they are cheap and plentiful (dig it, there were more Camaros built in '79 than any other production year), and especially so if they're a sheetmetal nightmare to begin with.
Motor/DrivetrainWrenching on behemoths for a living has revealed at least one true fact: They build 'em to last. Doug adopted that creed without hesitation and based his bullet on some really tough parts. The main bearing caps, cylinder heads, and intake and exhaust manifolds are secured with ARP studs. A Dart Little M cylinder block with a 4.155-inch bore is fitted with JE pistons and Hellfire ring packs. The slugs are linked to Oliver 6.125-inch-long rods, thence to an Eagle 4340 crankshaft featuring a 3.500-inch stroke. That wicked little 380ci displacement runs on an 8.4:1 compression ratio, just about optimal for the 22-psi positive manifold pressure that those 76mm Turbonetics snails stuff it with. Intercooled air is cycled through a Spearco core. Doug says the Brodix 10X cylinder heads have a 23-degree angle for the stainless steel 2.125 intake and 1.625 exhaust valves. To quote ol' Dougie about cylinder head modifications before he was willing to use them: "Porting, flow test. More porting. Flow test. Testing. Flowing. Testing. I think you get the picture." He spec'd the Comp Cams solid roller with 250/255 degrees duration at 0.050 inch, 0.625/0.612 inch lift with Jesel 1.65/1.55:1 roller-shaft rocker arms, and a 115-degree lobe separation angle. Comp pushrods work the other side of the Manley valvesprings. Timing gear is also Comp stuff, and Doug put the bottom end to bed with a Melling high-volume pump and a Canton 6-quart steel oil pan. A GM/ Pontiac high-port intake manifold and Force throttle body receive the blow. Spark snakes from an MSD 7AL box, and the engine is directed by an ACCEL Gen 7 controller and an Innovative five-stage boost controller. To manage the small-block's prodigious torque, Doug and Ray Daughty assembled a stock-ratio Turbo 400 with a JW Ultra Bell case and a Neal Chance 10-inch converter. Transmission fluid op temp is checked by a B&M cooler. Torque jams the 3.55:1 gears through a PST driveshaft.