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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
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