Although he's had this '68 Camaro since 1985 when he was a 15-year-old high school kid, you could easily chart the recent progress of Terry Neuville's car by the number of Hot Rod Power Tours he's since run as a long-hauler.
The Camaro original he bought for $400. It had a 327, a clutch, and a three-speed. Not zingy at all. In 1984, he built a 350 and partnered it with a Turbo 350 and things were looking up, but it was still nothing more than a daily driver. Inevitably, that script was modified. In 1988, Terry began thrilling it at the dragstrip. In 1990, the car got its first paint-over, maroon with black stripes. So now, the bullet was in the chamber; Terry's finger steady by the trigger.
"In 2003, we took it on the Hot Rod Power Tour for the long haul. At that time, I saw the Mule [Stielow's silver turbo-twin '69 Camaro]. At that point, I knew I wanted to transform [the Camaro] into a Pro Touring car. The first modifications were a 700-R4 transmission, disc brakes in front, with 17-inch Billet Specialties wheels.
"After my '04 PT, I lowered the car and put QA1 coilovers on the front with Global West control arms. After the 2006 Tour, I decided to upgrade to a 6.0L LQ4 and 4L60E transmission." All the while, he'd been putting time in on his wife Terri's '68 Camaro, building it from the ground up ... and that got him motivated. "... In 2008, I decided to take my car completely apart and do the first overhaul build on it," Terry says.
"My objective was a multipurpose car, one that I could jump in and do anything that I wanted, from car show to drag race to autocross to road course or even drive it across country in comfort. So it wasn't built to be the best at anything but to do well at as many things as possible." Hallelujah! Proves that you don't need a 700hp motor or a double-throw-down six-gear to get the numbers to come out right.
Terry: "I have won car shows and gotten best paint awards, won brake challenges, won autocross events, and have been in the Top 10 on many road courses." A few for instances: He finished 13th overall at the 2011 OUSCI. At the 2011 RTTH, he finished Third overall, and at the 2012 RTTH he took Fourth overall and won the brake challenge. At Holley's LS Fest 2011, he won the brake challenge and won Street Class at the Fall Goodguys Lonestar in 2012. He took Second Place in the Top Ride Shootout at our own CHP Nationals in 2012.
"I have over 31,000 miles on the combination [275,000 on car] since finishing the build while getting 20 mpg on the highway with regular-grade gas. We have been to events all over the country. Now my wife is starting to autocross her Camaro with me instead of just going to car shows with me. We have four Camaros in the family, the two '68s, a '701/2 RS for my older son, and a '10 SS for my wife. Yes, you could say that we love Camaros."
Nothing exotic here, but certainly a solid core and fine foundation for future meddling. The 6.0L motor from an '05 Denali had but 5,000 miles on it when Terry took it. The idea was to keep it as original as possible but make some small changes for obvious reasons. Meaningful tweaks include the Futral Motorsports (Walker, Louisiana) F13 hydraulic roller camshaft that sports 0.595-inch lift and 232 degrees duration at 0.050 on both valves. The LS3 cylinder heads (likewise intake manifold and fuel injectors) were not touched but acquired Manley dual valvesprings to service the peppier camshaft. For a measure of insurance on the road course, Terry capped the bottom end with a 5.5-quart Autokraft oil pan endowed with four-corner baffling, a custom pickup and a billet oil filter adapter. Trash is extracted by Hooker Super Comps with 13/4-inch primaries leading to a 2.5-inch exhaust system punctuated by the ubiquitous X-pipe. Futral specializes in tuning the LS engine. On the chassis dyno, Futral coaxed 400 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm and 410 hp at 6,800 rpm ... on 87-octane fuel from this totally sensible combination. Hard numbers are joyous: at 3,605 pounds, the Camaro routinely peels off 11.80s at 115. Terry swapped out the transmission for a Gearstar 4L65E overdrive automatic preceded by a Yank 3,000-stall speed convertor. Again, for that margin of insurance on the track, Terry plumped in a B&M fluid cooler. The driveshaft is stock but shortened a bit to accommodate the longer transmission. Terry narrowed the 12-bolt housing by 6 inches and fitted it with a 3.73:1 ring-and-pinion and an Eaton Positraction differential.
If there is a "killer" part of the car, it's the suspension system and the rolling chassis. And we like that Terry was adventurous enough to mix and match components from different manufacturers. He began with a Detroit Speed 600-series steering box to point the stock spindles. Though Terry stopped short of installing a rollcage, he joined the front and rear of the car with DSE frame connectors that would further enable the high-rise suspension components. In front, he posted Global West upper arms and RideTech lower arms with RideTech triple-adjustable dampers and coilover springs. At the back of the car, he installed DSE deep tubs and a QUADRALink system and set it up with RideTech dampers and coilovers. Body roll is ironed out by RideTech MuscleBars. Best of all, the Camaro's stance came out perfectly.
Wheels & Brakes
No skimping here. Big Baer 6P energy-burners ride closest to the bone, six-piston calipers on 14-inch discs in every direction, and they can still be seen clearly beneath those nasty-looking 18x8.5 and 18x11 Forgeline SP3P rims fitted with BFGoodrich KDW 245/40 and 335/30 erasers.
When Terry blew the '68 completely apart he found a few nits but rendered them harmless with new quarter-panels and a whole new floor. He peeled off the front chrome strip and tucked the rear bumper. He finished off the exterior modifications with a ZL2 cowl hood. He cleaned up and smoothed out the engine compartment considerably and locked in some Marquez Design hood hinges. The livery was applied by Carmena's in Central, Louisiana: House of Kolor's Candy Apple Red over a silver base followed by the attendant ghost stripes.
Since he knew that he and Terri would be packin' a lunch nearly everywhere they went, Terry did not scrimp on creature comforts, not at all. He rewired the chassis with an American Autowire loom, scratch-built a sheetmetal dash center and populated it with Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges, wrapped the console in carbon fiber, and installed a security system with a pager and remote-start feature. Specialized Automotive Woodworks in Slaughter, Louisiana, upholstered the '04 Audi TT seats, door and kick panels, and the decklid, and built the housings for the 10-inch Alpine subwoofer and amplifier. Terry did the rest. Prominent features include the Vintage Air Gen IV HVAC system, the ididit Waterfall steering wheel, and a NOS horseshoe shifter. Audio power includes a JVC head unit with CD/DVD/iPod player and global positioning and a rear-view surveillance eye, because you never know when a Ford will try to sneak up in back of you.