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Car of the Month - April, 2007
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1981 Camaro - Owned by George McClain

1981 Camaro - Owned by George McClain

Car of the Month for April is George McClainís (gdmii) 1981 Camaro, which George purchased over the winter break.

George now does his flying on the ground; heís a retired airline pilot who used to fly with US Airways.

The car has a full round tube chassis that was built by Zeeker Performance, with 4 link rear suspension complete with Alden Eagle double adjustable coil over shocks. The front end is fitted with suspension struts. This is all cloaked in a full fibreglass body that retains steel rear quarter panels and roof.

Under the back you will find a Ford 9 inch axle with 4.86 gears and Wilwood disc brakes and Goodyear 32 x16 x 15 slicks. Also mounted under the rear are a 4 gallon fuel cell for methanol along side the 1 gallon fuel cell for Georges on board gas priming system, this means 2 pumps a BG 400 for the methanol and a low pressure stock item for the gas. Front braking are taken care of with JFZ discs.

Working forward is the Powerglide transmission that has recently been rebuilt by George and Ken Rutledge, it has Vasco input and output shafts, with a straight cut 1.80 gearset, an 8 plate high gear clutch and roller rear support and tailshaft. Power is fed to the transmission via either a Trans Specialities or BTE spragless converter depending on engine configuration.

The engine is a 496 ci BBC that George built himself, itís fitted with an Eagle crank and H beam rods with L19 bolts. J&E 43cc domed pistons and a moly ring pack makes the compression up around 13.5 to 1. The engine is internally balanced to 0.09 grams. King Alecular bearings are used throughout. A Comp cams solid roller cam and lifters operate the valves in the Brodix BB-2X heads that have been given the full Curtis Boggs (Race Flow Development) treatment. These are topped off with an Edlebrock super victor manifold (also ported by Curtis) and a Rupert 1150 Alky Dominator. George has also been experimenting with a tunnel ram and a pair of Rupert alky 750ís. An Aerospace Components Vacuum pump is also fitted.

George says that the engine is his pride and joy and that he alone is the only one who touches it! He speaks very highly of both Curtis and Ken (both fellow Forum Members) for their help with the heads and transmission respectively. Heís not a horsepower junkie but he wants to have the best in class (normally aspirated) of whatever he builds. At the moment itís a 496 but the same would apply if it were a 582 unit. This is reflected in the ETís that have shown in testing that he is approaching that goal.

Future plans for the car are to do a little work to the chassis to obtain a full 7.50 certification and also to build a 582 to get close to that specification.

George is fully supported by his wife of 32 years, Lynn, who is currently in remission from Leukaemia and struggles from the side effects of the daily drugs. Even through all this she still occasionally attends the races with him. George himself is a diabetic which led to his early retirement from being a pilot. This led him to turn to drag racing for his low flying experiences. His brother-in-law, Russell DeBolt, is his partner and crew chief on the car which is based in Newport News, Va. Russell lives in Williamsburg which handily is halfway between Newport News and Richmond, where their local track is.

George won the first bracket race he ever participated in way back in 1971 that was in a 68 GTO. He hopes to repeat his early successes with the newer Camaro in this coming season. Iím sure we all wish him well with that goal.

1981 Camaro - Owned by George McClain

1981 Camaro - Owned by George McClain

George McClain


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