FIRECRACKER

Jay Do­er­fler’s ’69 Ca­maro packs ag­gres­sive per­for­mance and amaz­ing style

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT & PHO­TOS: Chuck Vranas

Jay Do­er­fler’s ’69 Ca­maro packs ag­gres­sive per­for­mance and amaz­ing style

In­spi­ra­tion, it’s a word that by def­i­ni­tion en­com­passes how you be­come in­flu­enced by a per­son or a thing. But, ac­tu­ally, it’s far more than that when you take into con­sid­er­a­tion just how life-chang­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence can be. For some­one carv­ing a new path from a young age it can be par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing when an oc­cur­rence opens a whole new world right be­fore their very eyes. Jay Do­er­fler of Manch­ester, New Hamp­shire, was lit­er­ally born into the hobby when his dad, Michael, opened the doors to Auto Body Spe­cial­ists in 1969, the same year he was born.

It’s pretty cool when your first mem­o­ries re­volve around a sea of Corvettes and Trans Ams, spend­ing time grow­ing up in a body shop along­side your dad learn­ing the trade and gain­ing an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for mus­cle cars.

As the years passed, he fol­lowed his dad’s lead, learn­ing the finer points of au­to­mo­tive re­pair. Long­time family friend Ron Gagnon, owner of New Eng­land Rod Shop, was also a con­tin­u­ous in­flu­ence. From them, he learned one of the most im­por­tant lessons in that fine de­tails mat­ter when build­ing a car. Sim­ply stated, ev­ery minute de­tail—re­gard­less if it’s un­seen un­der the dash or be­hind a door panel—mat­ters when a car is fi­nally as­sem­bled. Some­one might later take the car apart and ap­pre­ci­ate that it’s just as nice be­hind the scenes as it is on top, and that’s the pay­out for a job well done. As his ca­reer evolved, plenty of hopped-up mus­cle cars fol­lowed as he learned the art of power shift­ing a num­ber of hot Ca­maros and No­vas. He even­tu­ally took over the family busi­ness and shifted fo­cus onto hot rods and restora­tion ser­vices, chang­ing the name to ABS Clas­sic Mus­cle Car Restora­tion.

Well-known for the level of work­man­ship the shop turned out, he put to­gether a per­sonal ride that would show­case the qual­ity of his builds. It was around the same time when Mark Stielow de­buted a ’69 Ca­maro known as The Mule. The iconic Pro Tour­ing master­piece stopped Jay in his tracks, leaving him breath­less and in­spired to en­com­pass many of The Mule’s at­tributes into his own project. Start­ing the search for a suit­able base, he lo­cated a rea­son­ably clean ’69 Ca­maro so a deal was made and the car was hauled to the shop where the tear­down com­menced.

The first ar­eas to ad­dress were the front and rear sus­pen­sions.

Out back, an alu­minum Cur­rie 9-inch unit packed with Strange En­gi­neer­ing 31-spline axles con­nects to a match­ing alu­minum cen­ter spin­ning 3.73:1 gears. It’s sus­pended in place by a Detroit Speed QUADRALink with a Pan­hard bar deftly matched to a Speed­way En­gi­neer­ing splined sway bar and JRi sin­gle-ad­justable coilover shocks with Eibach springs. Up front, pay­ing di­rect homage to The Mule, a Wayne Due sub­frame was added to make the car han­dle like a champ. Corvette C5 up­per and lower con­trol arms and spin­dles are matched to a Speed­way En­gi­neer­ing splined sway bar with C5 ends and JRi sin­glead­justable coilover shocks with custom, one-off ad­justable re­mote can­is­ters and Eibach springs. For am­ple stop­ping power, a Wil­wood dual master pushes fluid through custom-bent stain­less lines to match­ing 14-inch ro­tors wear­ing six-pis­ton front and four-pis­ton rear

calipers. It all meets the pave­ment through a set of Fikse Pro­fil 5 wheels (18x10 front, 18x12 rear) capped with Miche­lin Pi­lot Sport rub­ber.

For a fire-breath­ing V-8 be­tween the ’rails, PK Machine of Fitch­burg, Mas­sachusetts, got started ma­chin­ing a

346ci LS6 to perfection, hand­ing it over to Ju­lian D’An­jou of 2-Lane Per­for­mance in Goff­s­town, New Hamp­shire, to work his magic. The block was packed with a stock crank linked to Man­ley rods capped with Mahle pis­tons, get­ting a heavy bump from a Comp cam. Up top, a pair of mas­saged alu­minum LS6 heads breathe deep while a Wil­son Bil­let Bank in­take with stock in­jec­tors feeds the party through a ProCharger D-1SC su­per­charger.

Ex­ten­sive de­tail­ing brings the en­gine bay to life, in­clud­ing a custom fire­wall, Kat­ech car­bon-fiber valve cov­ers, hand-bent stain­less fuel lines, car­bon-fiber filler pan­els, and Detroit Speed fender braces. A stock ig­ni­tion lights the fire with spent gasses mov­ing through Stain­less Works head­ers to a custom 3-inch stain­less ex­haust with Borla muf­flers. Power moves rear­ward through a G-Force

Street six-speed with a McLeod twin-disc clutch and fly­wheel to a custom Denny’s drive­shaft. With tuning by Jan­netty Rac­ing in Water­bury, Con­necti­cut, the stout LS pulled 732 hp at 6,800 rpm to the fly­wheel (632 hp at 6,950 rpm to the tires).

It’s im­por­tant to start with the best pos­si­ble car you can when un­der­tak­ing a build. Jay’s ’69 was an orig­i­nal black-plate Cal­i­for­nia car that sur­vived the mus­cle car era un­scathed, mak­ing it the per­fect can­di­date. With the body stripped and set on a ro­tis­serie, he then in­stalled a set of Detroit Speed mini-tubs while also re­work­ing the trunk floor to ac­com­mo­date the ex­haust sys­tem. From there, he added a custom front valance then shaved, nar­rowed, and tucked the bumpers. The fac­tory sheet­metal was then fi­nessed with all the gaps be­ing set. He then prepped the body and laid down the vibe with a lus­trous coat­ing of PPG GM Vic­tory Red to bring the car to life. Other cool bits in­clude Mar­quez De­sign tail­lights, ’70 Pon­tiac GTO mir­rors, and daz­zle from Paul’s Chrome Plat­ing.

The stock dash wears an insert from Detroit Speed hous­ing dials from Au­toMeter to mon­i­tor the vi­tals while a Corvette three-spoke wheel meets an ididit tilt col­umn and shifts move through a stick from Long. Heavy tunes pour through an Alpine head unit to Polk Au­dio speak­ers. A Vin­tage Air HVAC sys­tem pro­vides a cool breeze.

An ex­clu­sive all-cloth wiring har­ness by Skip Rea­dio of Ayer, Mas­sachusetts, brings it all to life. Com­plet­ing the look, Michael Cur­ley of Michael Jay Coach Trim­mers

of Bar­ring­ton, New Hamp­shire, cov­ered a set of Re­caro buckets in black leather to com­ple­ment the rest of the in­te­rior ac­cented by black Mercedes square-weave car­pet. A Detroit Speed four-point roll­bar en­sures safety, along with seat har­nesses from Crow En­ter­prizes.

This is one subtle Pro Tour­ing ’69 Ca­maro that sep­a­rates it­self from the pack with ex­cep­tional at­ten­tion to de­tail per­son­i­fy­ing Jay’s build style, and we dig it! CHP

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