THIS article on Michael Te Ture's '69 Camaro was originally published in the September 2009 issue of Street Machine magazine. This weekend the car will be auctioned off by Lloyds Auctioners and Valuers, for more information click here.
IF YOU think this car looks familiar yet somehow different, grab our Sept ’07 issue and turn to page 148. What you’ll see is this exact same car in bare metal. Not much has changed besides the paint and trim. And a million other little things that you can’t see.
If you’ve just flicked through that back issue, you’ll see that the car was built entirely at Kustom City by Steve Bowman and his team. This may be the last mega-project out of the workshop as Steve is close to selling the business and will be heading out to run a smaller-scale custom shop on his own, dubbed Eights & Aces.
“I’ll be concentrating on designing and project-managing. I’ve got a couple of ’32 Fords on the go at the moment,” he says. There are a few jobs to be finished off this car but owner Michael Te Ture and his wife Joanna are pretty rapt with how it’s turned out, especially considering the fairly broad brief they gave Steve: “Put a big motor in and give it a bit of a tidy-up.”
The motor isn’t actually that big. It measures up at 366ci but it sure packs a big wallop. “It’s been dynoed at 1100hp and that was without the intercoolers and only running 12lb of boost. It’ll easily handle 20lb of boost and should make around 1500hp,” Steve says.
That’s the joy of running turboed and electronically fuel injected engines; you can crank them up but they don’t have to be cranky. In fact, they can be surprisingly driveable.
“I wanted something that my missus could take to the shops. I’ve got a Monaro with a blower on it. It’s really loud and in the wet it goes sideways with just a tiny bit of throttle,” Michael says. The Camaro might be a bit more driveable but by the look of how that boot is trimmed out, Joanna won’t be doing a big grocery shop with it.
Getting back to the motor, keen-eyed readers have probably spotted the extra plumbing in the engine bay. You know how Steve said this thing would make 1500hp with intercoolers? Well, it’s got intercoolers now. Lots of ’em.
Straight out of the turbos, the air gets passed through a PWR liquid-to-air barrel intercooler before passing through an air-to-air intercooler at the front of the car. The nicely cooled and therefore much denser air charge then makes its way back up to the Gale Banks-designed pressure chamber and integral shuttle-valve, and finally through the billet throttlebody.
The chassis is pretty much unchanged and features a polished stainless steel triangulated four-bar in the rear, with similarly shiny A-arm front suspension. The QA1 billet coil-overs are fully adjustable but they can also be replaced by Shockwave airbags — presumably that will be to lift the car up because it sure as hell doesn’t need to go any lower!
Backing up those 1500-odd ponies is a six-speed T56 built by Mal Wood Transmissions. The rear end is a fabricated unit from McDonald Brothers, which features a Detroit Locker centre and 35-spline billet axles. That should hold together long enough to get those massive tyres smoking!
All the gory details were in our Sept ’07 issue but basically you can’t just stuff a set of 22x13 wheels under your garden variety ’69 Camaro. “There were six rear quarter skins — three each side — four front guards, four door skins, two front bumpers and one rear bumper used for the body mods,” Steve says. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you pump a set of guards. Besides the pumped guards and the suicide doors, the body is stretched too, by 100mm front and rear.
Up front, the wheels are little 20x8.5s. The Intro Sport 5s came from Showwheels, of course, and since big wheels need big brakes behind them, V8 Supercar-style Alcon discs and six-piston calipers were fitted all ’round. The larger 387mm rotors went on the back to match the larger diameter wheels, while the front rotors come in at a slightly more dainty 372mm.
A couple of years ago the interior had been fabricated much as it is now. And remember, it was all done in metal — including the speaker pods in the doors and behind the seats. What it didn’t have was any seats but Steve had the perfect set lying around the workshop.
“A couple of years ago we cut up a 308 GT4 Ferrari and rebodied it with a replica F40 body from NZ,” Steve says. “The seats are circa 1974 and they work perfectly, giving a bit of a race look yet keeping with the era of the car. I don’t know why they work but they do — for me, anyway.”
The seats and most of the other trim details were covered in red Connolly leather. Lord knows how many young calves were sacrificed to complete the job.
The final job was paint. As seems to be traditional for a car of this calibre, it was completed just a couple of days before the beast was unveiled at MotorEx. Back when we first featured the car, Michael was pretty keen on painting it candy apple red. But he couldn’t quite convince Steve that it was a good idea.
“The car looked so sinister it just had to be black. It’s a HOK black and the stripes have a silver HOK Metajuls base, which is a really heavy flake, and then Kandy Apple Red over that. They really pop when the light hits them.”
Capturing paint like that in a photo is a big ask and photographer Dean Summers has done an amazing job of it. Not to take away from him, but this car has so much presence, attitude and sheer bad-arsedness that it’d look amazing if you took the photos on your phone.
It might have taken three years to get it built but one thing’s for sure: Michael Te Ture has one of the most stunning street machines ever to be screwed together in this country.
MICHAEL & JOANNA TE TURE
1969 CHEVROLET CAMARO
Colour: HOK Black/Kandy Apple Red metalflake
Brand: Dart, to Banks Power specs, 366ci
Built by: Gale Banks Engineering
Induction: Twin turbos with Banks-designed pressure chamber, integral shuttle-valve, billet throttlebody, PWR liquid/air intercoolers
Intake: Port-matched Accel Pro-Ram
Valves: Severe Duty, 2.08in (in), 1.60in (ex)
Crank: Forged 4340
Conrods: Forged 4340 H-beam
Camshaft: Comp Cams solid roller
Ignition: Accel DFI
Fuel: Premium unleaded
Exhaust: Five-inch tube with custom mufflers
Dyno: 1500hp (est)
Gearbox: Tremec T56A
Diff: Nine-inch with 3.9:1 gears & 35-spline Moser axles
SUPENSION & BRAKES
Shocks: QA1 coil-overs (f&r)
Mods: Polished stainless tubular A-arms (f), triangulated four-bar (r)
Steering: Flaming River rack & steering column
Brakes: Alcon 372mm (f), Alcon 387mm (r)
Calipers: Alcon six-piston (f&r)
Master cylinder: Tilton
Seats: Modified Ferrari
Mods: Fully fabricated sheet metal
Rollcage: Hidden 14-point
Instruments: Auto Meter
Shifter: Kustom City
Stereo unit: Kenwood
WHEELS & TYRES
Rims: Intro Sport 5, 20x8.5 (f), 22x13 (r)
Rubber: Toyo 255/35/20 (f), 335/40/22 (r)
Owen Webb, House Of Kolor; Tony, Meguiar’s; Ray, McDonald Brothers Engineering; Chris, Showwheels; Julian, PWR; Mal, Mal Wood Transmissions; Michael, Rocket Hot Rods