"Do you think you have a numbers-matching 396ci '68 Camaro that can match this one?" That's the challenge issued to us by John Strano of Sydney, Australia, and we'll have to concede that we don't have anything close. John's goal was to keep the car all numbers matching with the TH400 trans and 12-bolt rear, and even keep the cubic inches to a legit 396, but to run 11s.
To make it happen, John relied upon Ned and Tony Sassine who run Hercules Competition Engines in Campsie, Sydney, for their Aussie version of the factory L89 396. "When I purchased my Camaro, I said to Ned, ‘Mate, forget horsepower, go for torque, but keep it 396. I made the target: 500 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm." Not bad at all, we say! Ned drives a wheel-standing GM Torana, so John handed over the keys to the 3,650-pound Camaro to get the best quarter-mile time. Using second-hand Mickey Thompson drag radials, a full exhaust system, a factory air cleaner, and 100-octane fuel, Ted speared an 11.9 at 116 mph on his first run, followed by 11.86 at 119 mph on the second. "Sure, Yenko had his L72 427, Harrell had his, and so did Motion," John said, "but I didn't miss with my 396!"d his L72 427, Harrell had his, and so did Motion,” John said, “but I didn’t miss with my 396!”
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