For Michael Mack it’s a hobby.
For others who admire the results of his favourite pastime the hobby is a rolling work of art that will be on display when the Quilt Walk & Car Show takes over the streets of Ladner Village Aug. 21.
Mack, along with brother Ken, recently completed the restoration and customization of a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro that turned a rust-free, but poorly restored classic into a show car crammed full of the finest components—engine, chassis and transmission—that belong on true high-performance vehicles.
“It has the newest drive train from Chevrolet, the LS9 from the ZR1 Corvette,” says Mack as he proudly wipes down the car’s gleaming, chromed wheels. “It’s probably the highest horsepower, stock motor ever built by a factory.”
The specs are dizzying.
In the Corvette, the engine spins out 638 horsepower.
“But this car has been re-tuned and it’s pushing about 724,” Mack says, a big and proud smile appearing on this face.
Torque numbers put it in the 600-foot-pound region.
“It’s a handful. It spins at will.”
The project took 11 months to complete and also included installing an Art Morrison chassis to give it race car-like stiffness and 14-inch brakes to rein in its power.
Inside, the seats are clad in the same leather used in Audi’s super car, the R8. Recaro racing seats hold front passenger and driver in place, while the rear seats were custom made.
Cost of the auto makeover—a cool $170,000 in parts with about $50,000 going to the motor alone.
Throw in roughly 2,500 hours of work on the car by Mack and his brother, and the value goes up considerably.
All of that hard work is already paying dividends as at the end of July it won a builder’s award at a show in Washington State.
“The ‘69 Camaro for me was the best penned car of all time,” Mack says. “It’s been my favourite car since I saw the first one. It’s a really nice, timeless design.
“I’ve bought European cars, but wanted to get back into the hotrods,” Mack adds.
While the car has show-winning looks with its custom blue and white-striped paint job, a four-point harness for the driver shows its other intent.
“It’s really built for us to track (race),” Mack says. “We wanted a show-quality car that we could track.”
The goal is to qualify the Camaro for the Optima Battery Challenge, a racing series in the U.S.
There’s always the next project, and it’s sitting on an upper shelf of the garage where all the work is done.
“It’s a ‘Cuda,” Mack says pointing to the shell of a classic Plymouth Barracuda waiting its turn.
“It’s a hobby and we’re here every night working on something. And we’ll do it again, again and again,” Mack says.