Caleb Thomas’s blown & injected 400-cube 1968 Camaro

We caught up with Caleb Thomas and his dad, Brian, at the recent Junga Bunga No Prep Cash Days at Warwick Dragway

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

We met Caleb Thomas and his dad Brian as they lined up their blown Camaros side by side at the Junga Bunga’s No Prep Cash Days event at Warwick Dragway. After chatting to him, it was clear Caleb’s passion for drag racing runs deep – especially the no-prep kind.

First published in the January 2024 issue of Street Machine

How did you get into drag racing?

My dad took me to the drags when I was around 15, and I was instantly hooked. We had a discussion about it and decided the drag life was for us! We decided to build ourselves a car, and I started racing at around 18.

What was your first build?

My first car was a naturally aspirated small-block WB One Tonner. We upgraded the engine and put a supercharger on it with mechanical injection. That ended up getting transferred into a red HJ Tonner. After a few years of racing that, we bought the black 1968 Camaro and transferred all the running gear into it.

Tell us about the Camaro.

It’s a purpose-built drag car. I’ve been racing it for about 18 months now. We bought it as a roller and spent just over two years on the build. It’s got a full tube chassis, fibreglass front clip, and a steel roof and quarters. It’s running a blown, injected, 400-cube small-block Chev on methanol, a Powerglide, and a nine-inch diff in the rear.

What’s your PB?

We made a 5.18-second pass down the eighth-mile on small tyres with no-prep during testing. We normally run big tyres, but all of our timed runs have been on small tyres.

Where do you race no-prep?

I’ve only ever run big tyres on an un-prepped street surface. Most of the racing we like to do is on no-prep surfaces like airstrips and tar roads. We love the challenge of it. We often race the Camaros at the Gunnedah Airstrip. Dad actually holds the record out there at 5.45 seconds, and I am really looking forward to breaking that record.

How did you and your dad both end up racing Camaros?

Well, Dad bought his purple 1967 Camaro back in 2017, purely because it was a purpose-built drag car and a whole lot lighter than the One Tonner we were racing. It’s also running a small-block Chev. So, after mine popped up [for sale], we decided to get it and run matching cars down the track. When Dad decides he’s going to enter his car into the big-tyre division, I run on small tyres. That way we have a chance of both winning at the same events.

Your dad tells me you’ve had a great year of racing.

I’m sitting in the number one spot at Powercruise Sydney Street Outlaws, and Dad is in second. I started the event racing my One Tonner and worked my way up to the 11th spot, then I moved over to my Camaro and dropped 10 spots. I had six or seven runs a night and managed to work my way up to the number two spot. I raced Dad for the number one and beat him in the heads-up race.

That must have been an amazing moment!

It’s not so much about who wins, it’s the achievement for us both to be sitting at number one and two in Australian no-prep. We were also both accepted to race at Street Outlaws vs The World Australia. Unfortunately, when I lined up against Kye Kelley, I blew a head gasket, which put me out. But after that, I jumped in and crewed for Dad. He raced against Stinky Pinky and Ryan Martin. We had such a great time, regardless of the result. It was an incredible experience.

What’s next for you in the no-prep scene?

I’m hoping one day to make it over to the US and be able to race in Street Outlaws over there. That would be the ultimate goal – to go up against the Americans on their home turf.