Travis Yoder’s 1969 Ca­maro com­bines the best of Pro Tour­ing with su­per­car style

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - ✜ TEXT: Evan Perkins | PHO­TOS: Stephen Kim

There’s more than one way to skin a cat ... and even more ways to build a ’69 Ca­maro. Some yearn for the nos­tal­gic feel of an orig­i­nal muscle car; others crave the com­fort­able and so­phis­ti­cated blend of old steel packed with mod­ern hard­ware. Travis Yoder is among the lat­ter va­ri­ety, and his hunt for the per­fect ’69 meant build­ing a ve­hi­cle with ev­ery­day drive­abil­ity; a cut­ting-edge driv­e­train; and the per­fect, clas­sic look.

“I have a [Nis­san] GT-R and I wanted kind of the op­po­site in the Ca­maro,” said Yoder. “I never had a dire urge to have one as a kid, but I started look­ing at what Mark Stielow started and what ev­ery­body was do­ing and de­cided ‘I want to do that.’”

For those that don’t rec­og­nize the name, Mark Stielow is widely con­sid­ered the godfather of the Pro Tour­ing move­ment and has a list of epic Ca­maro builds un­der his belt that few pro­fes­sional builders could match.

Yoder’s search for a ’69 Ca­maro orig­i­nally en­ter­tained the idea of pur­chas­ing one al­ready built and adding some cus­tom touches. “I flew to Vegas, looked at a car, then Hous­ton to look at an­other, and came home with my money in my pocket each time,” he said. It didn’t take long be­fore Yoder re­al­ized some­one else’s car sim­ply wouldn’t do. “I knew I had to build one to get what I wanted,” he said.

The search con­tin­ued, dur­ing which Yoder en­listed the help of builder Mike Du­sold of Du­sold De­signs. When a prospect came up, Du­sold and Yoder drove out to­gether to ver­ify its po­ten­tial.

“Mike is only about two hours from me and ac­tu­ally went and looked at the car with me be­fore I bought it,” said Yoder. “It was an aban­doned project that al­ready had a Detroit Speed sub­frame and QUADRALink rear sus­pen­sion, Baer brakes, 18-inch wheels, and mini-tubs. The pre­vi­ous owner had started it just the way I was go­ing to.”

And just like that, Yoder and Du­sold had their can­vas. The car was towed to Du­sold’s shop in Lewisville, Texas, where it im­me­di­ately went un­der the knife. The Detroit Speed sus­pen­sion was ex­actly what Yoder had on the wish list, so that item was quickly checked off.

Since the car had to stack up against Yoder’s Nis­san GT-R—it’s no Chevy, but not an ac­cel­er­a­tion slouch by any means—power had to be am­ple and im­me­di­ate. To that end, an LSA crate en­gine was sourced from Chevro­let Per­for­mance. It car­ried a 580hp rat­ing out of the box, but Du­sold was af­ter more than just oomph ... it had to sound right. A quick swap to a Brian Tooley camshaft added lift, du­ra­tion, and the re­quired au­di­tory thump out the twin tailpipes. A smaller pul­ley on the fac­tory su­per­charger upped the boost, and the en­gine now de­liv­ers 650 hp to the tires. Gear duty is han­dled by a TRE­MEC T-56 Mag­num trans­mis­sion.

The sus­pen­sion is the afore­men­tioned Detroit Speed

Inc. front sub­frame and QUADRALink rear, with steer­ing han­dled by a Flam­ing River rack-and-pin­ion. QA1 ad­justable shocks are placed at all four corners to damp road os­cil­la­tions and Baer 14-inch ro­tors with six-pis­ton calipers help rein in the en­gine’s mas­sive out­put.

In­side, the car was treated to mod­ern elec­tri­cal, cour­tesy of a Pain­less Per­for­mance wiring har­ness and a host of cus­tom touches, such as a brushed alu­minum cen­ter con­sole and dash in­sert that make the car unique. Black car­pet adorns the floor, and grippy Re­caro seats keep Yoder firmly be­hind the wheel.

On the ex­te­rior, the car is all about sub­tlety. Shaved

locks, em­blems, and side mark­ers let the body lines flow un­in­ter­rupted, while a sim­ple black grille be­lies the power be­hind it. The bumpers fea­ture the cus­tom work of Du­sold De­signs and re­ally leap the styling of the Ca­maro a cou­ple decades.

“I strug­gled with the paint choice,” said Yoder. “I went back and forth on stripes, but I felt like the solid color was more mod­ern. I was try­ing to bring it into the cur­rent day and age while still keep­ing the ’69 her­itage. I wanted some­thing my sons and I could take to car shows.” Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

So what does Yoder do with the fin­ished prod­uct? “I like to drive this car to work ev­ery once in a while,” he said. “It’s not flashy. With a ’69 Ca­maro, most peo­ple don’t know whether it cost $30,000 or $130,000. It’s a fun driver and I just en­joy it. CHP

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