The epiphany came for Marty as the car neared completion, and the genius of Elmer's design elements came into dramatic focus. All too often, we see lesser shops cave to a client's disjointed vision, bringing to fruition a vulgar abomination that can't be fixed, or shops that lack the ability to synthesize the design, color, and engineering elements into a cogent whole, but such was not the case with HER and Marty. Top shops will tell you this: They dream of marrying the right idea with the right customer and enough money to make it real—and this was such an alignment of the planets. Not only was HER in the position to push the limits of style and function, but Marty's years of keeping cool under pressure made him the ideal client for such a monumental build.
One area conspicuously missing from our story so far is the engine. Marty's torrid romance with the big-block Chevy that started back in the 1980s with powerboat racing was still in full bloom as of 2010. That's when Marty contacted his tuning guru and pal, Bob Ream, who he'd met years ago while racing boats. Marty: "I called Bob and asked him to recommend an engine builder, and he referred me to Bud Yancer. Bud builds Sprint Car engines for Bob and he was really successful. I'm totally impressed with Bud. I explained that I wanted a high-revving, quick-revving big-block that would run on pump gas, so that's what he built me." The resulting fuel-injecte427 puts out a healthy 655 hp at 6,000 rpm and 633 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.
Here's where another communication glitch between Marty and Elmer spawned what is perhaps the Camaro's sexiest feature—Imagine Injection's eight-stack EFI. Although Marty had mulled over and rejected the idea of running one of Ream's eight-stack masterpieces, he ultimately decided to use a prized 830-cfm carb that Ream had tweaked years ago. Except HER had already procured the Anvil carbon-fiber hood, which would not accommodate the single-plane intake and carb setup. "We couldn't fit the engine under the hood. We tried everything. We lowered the engine in the car, we modified the oil pan, but we couldn't get it to fit under the Anvil hood," Marty says. "That's when I called Bob and said we're going to be needing your eight-stack fuel-injection system. It turned out to be the right thing for one because of the appearance. It just pops out of the engine bay with the eight-stack in it. It went from average to over-the-top. It's a huge improvement on the driveability, starting, idle, throttle response; there's no comparison. It's still learning, so the more I drive it, the better it gets."
All this automotive joy, however, wouldn't even be possible without proper clearance from the tower. "My wife, Tammy, likes cars just as much as I do, so I'm very fortunate. She's a total car girl. That's good on the one hand, but it also makes things very expensive," Marty says. "My kids enjoy it as well, so it's been too easy to spend money on this stuff because the family likes it as much as I do." That's a good thing, because Marty's next move is to ramp up the pounding that he's already started to put on it at events like the Goodguys autocross. As an avid road racer (did we mention that Marty runs a BMW 328i in the Chump Car Series and the 24 Hours of LeMons?!), he plans to go wide-open with the Camaro on some of his favorite road courses, and may even show up to PHR's Muscle Car of the Year competition.
We'll be keeping an eye out on this Camaro and its up-and-coming owner to see if he takes the very public dive into the competitive autocross circuit. We also would love to see it turn road course laps with the intensity that was intended for—probably once all the "new" has worn off. One thing that might hasten that is Marty's plan to build a 1967 Chevy II with Heath Elmer Restorations, ostensibly for his wife. That might be just the thing to get the Camaro acquainted with some rumble strips!