ANYONE who has built a car knows just how quickly things can get out of hand. If you need an evidence of this then just check out Steve Hopes’s 1968 Camaro.
Steve started off building a track car to have some fun with, but it didn’t take too long before he was cutting off the exterior sheet metal and welding in a ‘show-spec’ flat floor. When it came to the chassis Steve didn’t mess about trying to make the 1968 original equipment perform; he went for a whole SRG-Force chassis from Street Race Garage in Grant, Alabama. That gave the Camaro tubular A-arm front suspension, rack and pinion steering and a torque-arm rear end with Watts linkage. Throw in some Wilwood brakes and tyres measuring up at 345 on the rear and 215 on the front and you’ve got a car that both stops and handles.
It doesn’t go too badly either; thanks to a twin turbo 406ci small block Chev from Nelson Racing Engines. Steve went for one of their symmetrical twin turbo packages that just look amazing. It’s not just for show however, the NRE combo is good for 1500hp on E85, and while it sounds crazy to tie all that power together with a Tremec 6-speed transmission the Camaro seems to cruise around nicely.
In case you’re wondering Steve didn’t just write cheques for this car, he was right in there getting hands on with some pretty major body mods and heavy-duty hardware. Barring the paint (Creative Body Works), electrical (Caloundra Custom Auto Electrical) and interior stitching (North Coast Custom Trim) Steve did just about everything himself during the five year build. The result is a work of art; from the overwhelming grunt through to the custom trim and mirror-finished panels the car is a show-stopper in every sense of the word. It looks like something that would be more at home on a raised dais, not cruising down suburban streets, but Steve reckons that first and foremost the car was built to drive. We’re just hoping he swings past to take us for a drive next time he is in town.