Maiden Texas: Warbird Meets ’67 Camaro

With a warbird theme, I can’t help but write about this Pro Touring Camaro with a World War II feel. The idea makes sense too, as Mike DuSold, the car’s owner, goes to war against Corvettes in every race he runs it.

When Myron Scott came up with the Corvette moniker for Chevrolet, he was inspired by the small and highly maneuverable warships of the same name. During the Second Great War, General Motors took over production of the TBM Avenger torpedo bomber plane to fight against enemy corvette ships when aircraft company Grumman began to focus on the F6F Hellcat. I’m pretty sure Mike would be proud of that since the theme isn’t by accident.

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“The theme behind my car came from a warbird collection I have had the opportunity to be around,” says Mike, “Sitting in those planes and getting to work on them was an awesome experience. It gave me the idea to try to pull off the same theme with the car. I didn’t just want it to be a car with a plane themed paint job, I wanted it to have plane DNA all the way through it. Even the chassis design has aircraft inspiration.”

That chassis is also a full tube-frame design.

Tube Frame Chassis
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That’s right, that evil sounding word to those who cry out as purists of street driven cars, this Camaro is built with a tube-frame chassis, despite its unibody origins. Yet, just by looking at it, you can’t tell. That’s the beauty in a purpose-built chassis that’s completely custom. The body still looks original because it is, and the floor is modified so that it fits on the new chassis.

“The current version of the car was inspired by the performance gap between the previous version and race prepped Corvettes. We figured out that we were either going to need to switch platforms or undergo a drastic transformation,” says Mike.

When you’re up against the latest Corvettes from the General, your warbird needs all the updating and improvements it can get. So the suspension geometry was changed, allowing the car to work with the massive 335-section BFGoodrich Rival S tires front and rear.

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One of the big reasons for the drastic change is the switch over to a Corvette transaxle. Out went the 10-bolt and leaf springs, and in when a Tremec TR-6060 MZ6 transaxle with an independent rear suspension (IRS). Much like a Corvette, moving the transmission to the back improves the weight balance of the car to near 50/50 by itself. It also allows the engine to move back several inches, which gets it closer to that perfect distribution. You also get a modern 6-speed gearbox over the old-school Muncie M20 4-speed gearbox, never mind the Powerglide 2-speed or the TH350 3-speed automatics. The tube-chassis was also chosen to allow for a fully integrated roll-cage built for both safety and maximum chassis rigidity, while still giving a clean build inside.

Design & Power
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The warbird theme also continues inside. Being a part of the Ultimate Street Car Association (USCA) means it must pass the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge. They look for fit, form, function, and safety when judging every car that passes by the selected judges for each event.

It’s not unusual to hear about Mike’s car taking home the highest points in the D&E, just like he did this year at the 2017 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. And you only need to take a look inside to understand why. While you can see the cage it’s entirely part of the interior design, and the leather-wrapped center console, metal dashboard, door cards, seats and airplane gauges give off the vibe of warbirds of years past. The metal work alone is something to stare at for days just to find all the handmade details.

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One of the obvious things you’ll notice about this Camaro right away is the sound from the side pipes. It’s not just a loud, V8 burble from the LS Gen IV-based 7.0L block coming out of them; it’s the sounds of Precision Turbo turbochargers that feed boosted air through an LS3 intake manifold into a set of LS9 heads via a Holley throttle body. While the stock Gen IV bottom end can handle plenty of power, Mike elected to get his built by ERL Performance prior to the division shutting down earlier this year. A Quarter Master clutch clamps the power transferred to the custom torque tube before going to the RPM Transmissions-built Z06 6-speed.

MegaSquirt
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Controlling the Turbo LS is an AMPEFI MS3Pro, a name some of you will probably recognize from the DIY world of engine tuning. The MS3 is based on the latest and greatest of the MegaSquirt family and the original EFI332 conceived by USENET Forum EFI-332 from John Gwynne in 1996. The two co-founders, Bruce Bowling and Al Grippo, further developed it to become the MegaSquirt – a complete kit for auto enthusiasts to build their own fuel injection computer from the ground up. From that simple fuel injection computer is now the MS3Pro, a full powertrain control module that equals or rivals the best in aftermarket ECUs with full control of injector and spark timing and dwell, variable valve timing control, traction control, data-logging, and more. While this version is all plug-and-play, there is still a version of the MS3 that is still in kit form and you hand assemble. Having done a MS2 myself, it’s an amazing way to learn what goes into building a PCM.

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When Mike DuSold set out to create a Camaro that runs with the best sports cars in the US, he knew it was going to be a fight. With aircraft inspiration and detail, this 1967 Camaro has become one of the best Pro Touring cars in America.

It took a lot of effort, but it was time well spent with awards and recognition from events across the country. It’s a functional work of engineering art.

Words by Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner
Twitter: RacerBanner

Photos by Louis Yio
louis@speedhunters.com
Instagram: lusciousy

Cutting Room Floor
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37 comments

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1

Unreal. He nailed the theme and the car is an absolute track monster. Love the OUSCI.

Mike himself is a class act!

2

Amazing ride, but...that’s not a ‘69 Camaro. Must be a ‘67. You can tell by the front and back lights and the longer look of the side of the car.

3

your right, the front hideaway covers are obviously 67-68, and the rears are definitly 67. not to mention, the 69' had fins in front of the rear wheel.

4

Wing windows were only on the '67 models.

5

Great article on a fantastic ride. However, this is a 67 camaro. Vent windows and rounded arches are a dead give away.

6

What track is that?

7

Road Atlanta

8

Beat me to it.

9

As other have said, that is not 1969 sheet-metal. 1967or 1968 but not 1969.

10

That's a 1967 not a 1969.

11

I saw this car in person run autocross and mike is a madman at the wheel. That is one unique build.

12

Should do a rotary swap.

13

more like 4 rotor twin turbo swap.

14

Now that'd be interesting.

15
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

This is just incredible! The interior is pure art! Anyway, is that an iPhone holder on the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel?

16

It would make my day if there was a full build thread on this thing!

17

another mediocre article from SH. Tons of outer body shots and a written description of a nice chassis/suspension but ZERO shots of said chassis/ suspension. And this is a 1st gen 67-68, not a 69 2nd gen.

18

You have no idea the effort that goes into a professional photo shoot do you? So many arm chair experts that think that all you do is turn up, take a few photos then go home.

Author19

Second Gen Camaro started in 1970 model year with the introduction of the sleeker looking fastback body and the iconic "split bumper" RS package from 1970 to 1973. 1969 was still a first gen but the last of them. I got the year wrong on this article but not THAT wrong.

20

It was explained politely to you before that it's not always possible to get under a car during shoot, although we try when we can but you chose to ignore that response. Regards the mistake between it being labelled a '69 instead of '67/'68, I've messaged the author to put it right.

I've no issue when someone highlights something wrong or brings it up, but just tone the attitude down. Thanks.

21

http://speedhunters-wp-production.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/15171436/Louis_Yio_2017_Speedhunters_Gridlife_Camaro_0033-1200x800.jpg

Yet another poorly designed cage, the X joint narrows down to only 1 tube in cross section, right at the central point of the most weakness. With gussets in only one direction.

Author22

You might want to read up on roll cages, Jader. An X-brace door bar is fine and common to the point that it's an FIA approved design. I wrote about that this year and talk specifically about door bar design. Here's a link to it: http://www.speedhunters.com/2017/07/roll-cage-tech/#chapter-the-drift-formula

23

thats one of the most common door bar designs, it is very well done.

24

Now this is sick. Love everything about this, but the analog gauges and interior blow the cool factor off many builds I've seen. The fact it's boosted as well is very cool. 10/10.

25

Pure art inside and out. The warbird livery is just amazing with the pinup girl to boot.
Can never go wrong with a well built LS!
This is more up my alley, keep em coming!

Author26

The sound you hear around the world is the bang from my head against my desk. Sorry, everyone, I brain farted on the year and it is a 1967 body. Article has been corrected.

27

I've been following Dusold's instagram for a few years, and this car definitely lives up to the hype. Very cool. But what's even cooler, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that it was built on a table. Like, an actual table. Just a random bit of info I've always found kinda funny. Dunno why.

28

Like... A big wooden table?

29

Well, it's metal. But yes. Big table.

30
Daniel P Huneault

thanks for presenting this awesome pro tourer - question why aren't there more protouring cars on this site?! Please we need to see more builds like this!!! Such a well thought out car! props to the owner

31

What a Hooligan

32

Man, it's awesome!
nononomean:

IT'S TOTALLY AWESOME!!

Actually, I don't like "Tube Frame Chassis" the reason is clear - when you hear that chassis is now gone you instantly imagine almost pro-racer without any konfidence of design, only function, so sometimes ust forget about "which car i've lookin' at" but not this one!
Airplane theme has very mean to me, i just love parts of interior with old fashion looking, this is true warbird!
Keep doin' it, your car has so much personality and i believe that car will be "the best Pro Touring cars in America"

p.s. Just a pleasure for eyes

33

I had to come back a second time to pore over more details, but there's too many to say what's great about each one, so I'll just pick the shift knob. I love that it looks like a fighter plane joystick, complete with button for the cannons.

Your photos are incredible. Every color pops perfectly; you are a master. I echo the sentiment above, more Pro Touring, more muscle!

34

Agreed! all the avation accessories are amazing like the switches and gauges/dials. But I think the gear stick is a helicopter collective lever, please someone correct me if im wrong.

35

The gearshift is from some type of 1950's aircraft, used as a throttle. It looks very much like a T-33 throttle lever, but could be from another similar jet. See the black portion on the bottom, the thumb lever in front is for the speed brakes in a jet.

36

Amazing purpose built machine, car just oozes awesome. great shots!!

37

saw this at PRI a few weeks ago. even from a distance it looked awesome and when i took a look at the interior it made my jaw drop! the altimeter inside is a nice touch as well

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