Home-Built Hero: Mark Laucamp’s ’71 Camaro

Sometimes, a situation that we rather would not have experienced, can actually be a blessing in disguise. Back in 2002, such was the case for Mark Laucamp. He tells us about a very bad day he experienced at work involving his ’68 Nova. In fact, it was the unexpected reason for him building this ’71 Camaro.

“There’s a little bit of a back story on how I got my Camaro,” says Mark. “It started in 2002, when an incompetent construction worker left a trailer unattended and parked on a hill. The trailer rolled down the hill, hit a light pole and knocked it over. Unfortunately, it then fell on my ‘68 Nova. I had owned that car since high school.”

Camaro

With a set of leaf springs aided by Cal-Trac bars from Calvert Racing, 1.18-second 60-foot times are the norm.

The tree fell across the deck lid and quarter-panel, and extensive damage rendered the car irreparable. A few months later, fate intervened. A friend, Paul Klyzek, mentioned he had a ‘71 Camaro that he used to street race.

“It was mini tubbed and already had a rollcage, Mark stated. “I bought it because it was already headed in the direction that I had intended for my Nova. The car was a roller with no engine, transmission, or interior. I took it to a friend’s house, because I didn’t have a garage of my own.”

With the help of his brother, Ernie Holder, and a few friends, a 355ci small block took-up residence in the vacant area under the hood. With a little shot if nitrous, Mark’s ’71 Camaro ran a best of 10.0 seconds in the quarter-mile. However, as any hot rodder can attest, once you get a car going quick it is never quick enough.

71 Camaro

“I soon built a 395ci small block that ran low 9’s,” quipped Mark. But as you can imagine, eventually, even that was not enough. “I needed more, so I built a 505ci big block which propelled the car to high 8’s,” he added. But you guessed it, that wasn’t enough after just a short time. “It now has a 565ci big block under the hood and has run 5.14 in the eighth-mile,” Mark said with a chuckle.

The latest mill is based on a Dart block with Profiler Sniper-X heads and an Induction Solutions nitrous fogger kit. Behind that is a Powerglide transmission with a PTC torque converter. The abuse from the engine and transmission is currently sent to a Dana 60 rearend, but with the help of friend Matt Paris, a Mark Williams-filled 9-inch is about to take its place.

71 Camaro

There are 565 cubic-inches of tire fryer under that plumbing.

“I’m planning to have the car out this spring and run it at various head’s-up events and the PSCA Rocky Mountain Summer Series at Bandimere Speedway,” Mark stated. “I’m hoping to run in the 4-second range in the eighth-mile with leaf springs and a radial tire.

Camaro

Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heroes? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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