Home-Built Hero: Check Out Brandon Michaels’ 9-Second Camaro

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A 1.291 short time is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it is done on a 9-inch wide tire.

Brandon Michaels of Baltimore, Maryland, is like many of us, his passion for high-performance cars is tough to keep at bay. No matter how much performance we crank out of a car, he, like us, always want more. Brandon tells us that his journey with his third-generation Camaro began in 2010, when he purchased the car from a guy that had it advertised on Yellow Bullet. When he took possession of the Camaro, it was powered by a 355 cubic-inch small-block that propelled the car to 11.50 ¼-mile times, but kept the driver safe with a rollcage certified for 8.50 seconds. It was a good car to start building upon, and Brandon drove the car for a while in as-found condition. But, it didn’t take very long for him to realize that like any true gearhead, he wanted, no, he needed more power.

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At 355 cubic-inches, this mouse packs a lot of punch.

In his quest to increase the ¼-mile performance of his Camaro, Brandon met two gentlemen named Mike and Kim at RRC Performance in Baltimore. After discussing with him his needs in regards to an engine, the guys sent Brandon to meet another gentleman, Randy Harshman of Harshman Racing Engines. Brandon and Randy worked together to developed a plan to put together another 355 cubic-inch big-block killer that would completely overshadow, the car’s current 355 cubic-inch engine. By using parts like a Dart block, Brodix Track 1 cylinder heads, and an Erson solid-roller camshaft, the engine squeezed the compression ratio to a serious 12.0:1, and when the dyno stopped recording, made 600 horsepower with an RRC-prepped 750 Holley carburetor.

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Behind that mouse motor is a Sepanek Racing-built Turbo 350 transmission with an ATI Performance Products 8-inch converter, that is stalling at around 5,300 rpm. Power transfers from the engine to the ground, via a Moser 12-bolt rearend filled with 4.56 gears. The combination is more than enough to get the Mickey Thompson 28×9 ET Drags rolling.

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Brandon tells us, “After racing at Cecil County Dragway for years, I started traveling to other tracks, and then I met Michael Beard with Loose Rocker Promotions. He runs some big bracket races, so now I race in those events.”

Brandon also tells us that he thinks the only reason his car is cool is because it is an ’84 Camaro that weighs 3,000 pounds, and runs 9.75 at 137 mph in the ¼-mile. Sure, that absolutely adds to the cool factor, but when that third-gen Camaro pops off a 1.291-second 60-foot time, the cool factor is solidified. While there is no doubt, that a third-gen Camaro running a 9-second, ¼-mile time is cool, that, and the fact that Brandon works on the car himself makes this a really-cool Home-Built Hero.

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On the way to another 9-second pass.

Do you own a Home-Built Hero? We want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the Home-Built Heros series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still need more. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car 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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