From 100 yards, Brett Campbell’s Camaro convertible could be mistaken for just another high-dollar boulevardier out for its biannual weekend jaunt. That image quickly morphs into something more sinister as Brett pushes this handsome sled well into triple digits, knifing through a series of high-speed sweepers. Relaxing Sunday drives typically don’t go this way, at least not without a phalanx of police and news choppers overhead.
On pavement once used by F-4U Corsairs and F-4 Phantoms, Brett has come to El Toro Marine Base in Southern California to compete in the El Toro RTTC (Run To The Coast), a three-day slugfest of new and classic American Iron. And while Brett’s Camaro is certainly a gorgeous example of the vintage, its behavior is decidedly 2012. Virtually the entire, sizable field was left in Brett’s formidable wake.
Brett Campbell’s ’67 Camaro...
Brett Campbell’s ’67 Camaro convertible is a classic study of form following function. Subtle modifications to the fenders allow it to utilize its hugely revised chassis.
“I had been keeping tabs on the Pro Touring and g-Machine movement of the early 2000s,” Brett says. “While I loved the performance of the newer cars, I loved the styling of the older stuff. I needed to put them together. To me, it was the perfect marriage.” The only problem was Brett had neither a car nor an engine. He had an idea though and for some, that’s enough.
Well, most of an idea anyway. There was the engine issue, or more accurately which engine would be best. And, of course, a car would help too. “My Corvette-collecting next-door neighbor came home with a ’01 LS6 Z06 Corvette motor purchased off eBay,” Brett says. “He wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it as I helped him pull the pallet off the truck. He didn’t have room in his garage, so he asked if I could store it for him. Sucker! Six months later, that motor was mine. Funny thing is, I didn’t even have a car to put that in yet. I was on the hunt for a Camaro convertible.”
A Martz front clip with widened...
A Martz front clip with widened lower and upper control arms are designed to accept deep-set Z06 Corvette wheels; custom spindles accept Corvette C4 hubs.
As fate would have it, an older gentleman in Camarillo had just the thing: a clean, one-owner, six-cylinder car. Now the real fun would start. “As I started the collection of parts and information, I realized this was going to take some custom work. There weren’t a lot of options at that time to just bolt this thing together,” Brett says. “I took the car to a custom race car shop for help with some of the metal fabrication. With delays and disappointment, I felt like small potatoes at this well-known shop. Eventually, the car came home with just a few of the modifications completed, and to make things worse, they needed to be redone.”
The frustration served as a catalyst of sorts and Brett began doing the work himself. Friends liked what they saw and were soon asking Brett to do the same to their rides. Pretty soon, Brett started a little venture called Fab53. If you want a car like the one on these pages, give them a call.
Unlike a purpose-built drag racer or Bonneville car, a Fab53 vehicle has got to be proficient in several schools of competition. Plus, it has to look awesome while doing it. That’s a lot to ask of any automobile. The Fab53 formula requires equal parts addition and subtraction to make it work. “My current Pro Touring belief is not the typical horsepower-to-weight ratio rule,” Brett explains. “These cars, including mine, also need to turn fast and stop quickly. My formula is less overall curb weight for a better power-to-weight ratio.”