With the 61st NHRA U.S. Nationals just around the corner, this week’s column will feature a home-built, drag-racing street rod that’s a throwback to the high- performance craze of the late 1960s.
We revisit Jimmy Skiles with yet another absolutely stunning classic, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS, which showcases the passion of street and drag racers nationwide, then and now.
Jimmy has owned his car for 18 years. And in that time he’s assembled a beautiful hot rod that has been meticulously detailed while retaining enough originality to appreciate its design and appearance. His Camaro has its original front bucket seats, center console, dashboard and rear bench seat. It packs a horsepower punch that makes its high-performance factory counterpart appear tame. The car is a true throwback to what it meant to build cars solely for the joy of driving and racing.
The Camaro’s untamed power originates in its after-market Chevrolet ZZ502 HO 502 cubic-inch big block engine. It’s fed gasoline through dual Edelbrock 750cfm four-barrel carburetors complete with nitrous oxide for that extra punch.
Then the high-performance racing torque converter transfers the power through a GM Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission. It has a 9-inch Ford narrowed rear end to distribute the power to the 15-inch wheels. It’s definitely no sleeper.
Jimmy paid $10,000 to have the GM Marina Blue paint applied along with the Grey Z28/RS hood and trunk stripes. It has after-market racing 15-inch front wheels and tires with factory front disc brakes. The rear sports racing wheels and tires with factory drum brakes. The rear leaf springs have been strengthened and lifted to accommodate the narrowed rear end.
Just looking at the car brings a smile as if you were driving it on the road with the wind in your hair. You can see Jimmy cruising in his Camaro in the summer, and he stops at cruise-ins, including The Southside Voice’s, Dog ’n Suds and car shows.
On occasion you may even be able to catch him racing it on a drag strip. And if you talk nicely and come with a pocket full of cash, you may even talk him into selling it to you.