BILL THOMAS AND DEAN KLEIN CON­NEC­TION

Muscle Car Review - - Family Jewel - —Drew Hardin

This Ca­maro is just one of sev­eral Bill Thomas cars that Dean Klein has owned. We fea­tured one of them, likely the only 1969 L78 Nova to get the Thomas touch, in our Apr. 2012 is­sue (“One and Only,” goo.gl/C81RrE).

Klein and Thomas also col­lab­o­rated on a very spe­cial Ca­maro back in 2002, when Chevrolet an­nounced it was go­ing to sus­pend pro­duc­tion of its ven­er­a­ble pony­car.

“I said to Bill, ‘You were the first guy to get his hands on a 1967 Ca­maro to do con­ver­sions. We ought to do some of the last ones,’ Dean re­calls. “We de­cided to take the 35th An­niver­sary Ca­maro and turn the LT1s into 427 cars.”

Thomas had pub­licly re­tired from high-per­for­mance work with Chevrolet in the 1970s, and yet some­how he was able to get his hands on not one, but two of the 427 race mo­tors built to power C5-R Corvettes at Le Mans. Bill Thomas III did the fab­ri­ca­tion work re­quired to fit that mo­tor in the Ca­maro SS—“ev­ery­thing was cus­tom on that car,” Dean re­calls—and once they got the mo­tor di­aled in, it recorded 1,240 hp. To the rear wheels. “And re­mem­ber, this was in 2002, when there was no such thing as 1,000hp street cars.”

Dean took the fin­ished car to the York US30/Mus­cle Car Mad­ness show, where he hap­pened to cross paths with Bill Jenkins. In con­ver­sa­tion, the Grump ad­mit­ted he and Thomas had been in­volved with the race mo­tor’s de­vel­op­ment.

Search for “1000 hp Ca­maro” on YouTube and you can see the car on the chas­sis dyno at the 2005 Car Craft

Sum­mer Na­tion­als. “The tach lead came off on the first pass,” Dean says. “The clutch was hot for the sec­ond pass and did 1,000 horses to the rear wheels. Ear­lier in the day it went 1,140.”

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