Five-star, 17-inch wheels...
Five-star, 17-inch wheels are the norm now on Pro Touring cars, but they just didn't exist for muscle cars when this car was first built. These Corvette ZR-1 wheels look as appropriate on the Camaro today as they did in 1996.
Mark originally built an all-aluminum splayed-valve engine designed by GM for an ISMA race program. The engine displaced 396 ci and used an ACCEL fuel-injection system. Don't bother looking for it in the engine photos; we'll come back to the engine shortly.
Remember when we said that Mark built this car to compete in One Lap? He let the car off the jackstands at 5 a.m. the day before the competition. After a testdrive up and down the street, he and codriver Lance Mallet (who also did plenty of the fabrication and paintwork on the car) loaded their stuff into the car and hit the road for the 350-mile trip to Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin for the start of the race. Mark tuned the EFI on the way, and they burnished in the brakes. Ironically, with a car that would become so important to the sport, it didn't do well at all in the One Lap competition. They were plagued with mechanical problems. But that didn't stop Hot Rod magazine from naming it their Car of the Year in 1996.
A custom Currie 9-inch with...
A custom Currie 9-inch with aluminum centersection meets all the needs in the back. The axle is plenty strong without taking up too much space, adding too much weight, or requiring anything funky. It also looks pretty cool.
RS taillights (no backup lights)...
RS taillights (no backup lights) give the rear a cleaner look. The factory fuel-fill location holds a fuel cell cap, and the stainless steel fuel tank is half in the trunk and half underneath the car. Those rear tires look impressive and fit in the sheetmetal perfectly.
With most cars, once it's complete, the story is more or less over. But this one was just reaching halftime. Shortly after the car was built, Mark started work on the next Camaro: an LS9-powered '69 named Jackass. When that car was complete, the Red Witch was just going to sit, so he decided to sell it. The car changed hands, and the car's story, and influence, continued. Charley Lillard bought the car from owner number two off eBay. What Mark did by building the car and getting recognition for competing in One Lap, capturing magazine covers and awards, Charley matched by driving the car, everywhere. He did Hot Rod's Power Tour in 2001 and 2003. The car was being driven across the country, to events and just about anywhere else Charley and his wife, Shirley, felt like. The splayed-valve engine was gone, and a 532 big-block was now powering the car.
In 2005, the car had accumulated more than 20,000 miles in its current form. Charley decided it was time to freshen it up and tidy up some things. After all, the car was built in a thrash for a competition, and some things could definitely use a little attention. He decided to ship the car to the Detroit area and have Mark lend a hand in overseeing the makeover.
Kurt Urban at the now-defunct Wheel to Wheel, tossed a stroker crank in the 523 to grow the displacement to 565. Urban really wanted to change the cylinder heads and make some other changes to modernize the engine, but Charley wanted to stay true to the way the car was built. The ACCEL EFI was replaced with a Big Stuff 3 system, including a custom sheetmetal intake.
Stenod Performance built a set of stainless steel headers and wired the car using a Painless kit. A set of production DSE upper control arms were installed with one of their coilover kits. The car was repainted, and a custom carbon-fiber hood was added. The original fuel cell was also replaced with a stainless fuel tank from Rick's Tanks. The car was wrapped up in time for Charley to do the Power Tour in 2007. He ran his last Power Tour in the car in 2008.
This car also started a pattern of Charley buying Mark's projects. He purchased Jackass, as well as the next Camaro, PHR project car, the Mule, after Mark was done with them. While he still owns these two cars, he sold the Red Witch to Mike Jenkins at the Barrett-Jackson auction in cottsdale, Arizona, in January. So the car starts a new chapter with a new owner after writing the book for the Pro Touring genre of cars.