Two years ago, John Cipolla started on a journey of sorts. The East Islip, New York, resident already had a primo Pro Touring 1969 Camaro in the garage ... a high-horsepower, built-to-the-hilt F-body that he regularly ran hard on the streets. But he wanted more. What he really craved was a hot Camaro that he could not only let loose on the local roads, but a ride that would feel most comfortable out on the 1320. So he looked around for a suitable Camaro to build as his new project. He located a needy ’67 that a friend had stashed away; a car that already had some work done but needed a lot more. It was on a partial path as a Pro Touring ride, but John felt that this car would be much happier as a big-block dragstrip ripper. So a deal was made and the F-body was soon on its way home for the start of its conversion. Game on.
Knowing what he wanted to do right out of the box, John realized he had to bring the car to a shop that would see this build to fruition. Dropping the car off to Billy Pedus at BP Racing in Babylon, New York, was a no-brainer. It’s here where the Camaro would go through its metamorphosis from a so-so Pro Touring project to the manic street/strip Camaro that John so desperately desired.
With the Camaro stripped down to bare bones, the first order of business was to install a Smith chromoly front clip, which would become the basic structure for the front end. Next, Billy fabricated chassis outriggers to connect the body to the frame, and then built custom subframe connectors for added stiffness.
To fit the 12-inch-wide double-beadlock rims out back, the front of the leaf spring pockets were modified to move the springs inward, while the back ends of the Calvert monoleaf springs were put on sliders.
CalTracs traction bars add gripping power and Menscer Motorsports shocks were placed at the corners for overall ride improvement. A custom Racecraft sheetmetal rear housing holds a Strange Ultra Case centersection stuffed with 3.73 gears. Twist is sent to a set of 40-spline gun-drilled axles.
Since both the floors and trunk were shot, Billy went ahead and installed a one-piece repop floor and one-piece trunk pan, along with mini-tubs out back and a custom metal dash. From there, the Camaro was sent to Mike Pollaro at Diamond Auto Collision in Massapequa, New York, for body prep and to lay down a smooth skin of PPG Lexus Silver.
For motivation of this here Camaro, John called on Scott Shafiroff Racing Engines to do the dirty work. General Manager Vinny Budano started with an aluminum 582ci Brodix block and stuffed it with a Callies crank and rods, and 11.7:1 Diamond Racing pistons. Brodix Big Chief heads worked over by Rick McConathy at Slick Rick Racing Heads in Magnolia, Texas, top the cylinders. A custom solid roller cam gets the valves jumpin’. A BRE 1,250-cfm carburetor feeds the beast, and a custom ceramic-coated exhaust with 4-inch Burns billet mufflers gets rid of the spent gasses.
Even at 1,100 horsepower on the engine alone, John wanted more. So he called on Steve Johnson at Induction Solutions Nitrous Oxide Systems for a dose of NO2. Steve installed a Guardian Nitrous Plate System that delivers a 100-shot on command. An ATI Powerglide transmission built with a ProTorque converter spec’d out specifically for nitrous gets this wild Camaro into gear.
The Camaro rides on RC Components Exile 15x12 wheels shod in Mickey Thompson Drag Radials out back. Up front is a set of RC Exile 15x3.5s, also wrapped in MT rubber. Strange Pro Race brakes ensure ample stopping power with four-piston calipers pinching 11-inch rotors on all four corners.
The interior received a healthy massaging as well. A Racepak dash keeps track of the vitals while Kirkey racing seats offer John an equal dose of comfort and support. The steering column was handmade by Billy and is spun by a TRZ Motorsports steering wheel. Vintage Air takes care of the climate control, as Long Island weather can be an inferno in the summer and a frosted freezer in the winter.
Billy TIG-welded a full chromoly NHRA-certified 8.50 ’cage built with a tub hoop, in order to fit the full back seat. The piece was then finished off with rocker bars, a dash bar, firewall-to-front-end bars, and a driver’s swing-out bar for easy access in and out of the cockpit.
This Camaro is a driving testament to the hard work put in by several shops and individuals. A special shout-out goes out to Bill Pedus Sr. for helping out both day and night with the build. John would also like to thank Billy Pedus and BP Racing for seeing his vision to completion and building one mighty Silver Hammer Camaro. CHP
Owner: John Cipolla, East Islip, New York
Vehicle: 1967 Camaro
Type: Brodix big-block
Displacement: 582 ci
Compression Ratio: 11.7:1
Bore: 4.600 inches
Stroke: 4.375 inches
Cylinder Heads: Brodix Big Chief
Rotating Assembly: Callies forged crank, Callies rods, Diamond forged pistons
Camshaft: Comp Cams solid roller
Induction: Brodix intake, BRE 1,250-cfm carburetor
Power-Adder: Induction Solutions Guardian Nitrous Plate
Engine Management: Racepak data logger, Edelbrock progressive nitrous controller
Exhaust: Custom headers, custom exhaust with 4-inch Burns billet mufflers
Built By: Billy Pedus, BP Racing
Tuned By: Billy Pedus, BP Racing
Output: 1,100 hp N/A
Transmission: ATI Powerglide
Rear Axle: Racecraft sheetmetal housing, Strange Ultra Case with 3.73 gears
Front Suspension: Smith Racecraft frame and coil springs, Menscer shocks
Rear Suspension: Calvert Racing leaf springs, CalTracs traction bars
Steering: Smith rack-and-pinion
Brakes: Strange Pro Race 11-inch rotors with four-piston calipers front and rear
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: RC Components Exile 15x3.5 front, 15x12 rear
Tires: Mickey Thompson ET Front 26.0x4.0 front, ET Street Radial Pro 275/60 rear
Upholstery: Stock Camaro
Steering Wheel: TRZ Motorsports
Shifter: Hurst Pistol Grip
Paint: PPG Lexus Silver
Hood: Tear Drop cowl
Photography by Scotty Lachenauer