All great stories start somewhere and it’s no different for Matt Walter out of Westminser Maryland and his 1990 Chevrolet Camaro RS. It just happens that this one starts in a trailer park in Milledgeville Georgia on a set of cinder blocks in front of a single-wide trailer and involves a blown 3.1L V6, a lot of hard work and some good old fashion hot rodding ability.
The first thing Matt did was scrap the old engine and trans, strip the car of what was left of the hashed interior and bring the little 3rd-gen back to life with a 305/700R4 combination that in his words was “actually quite surprising” – after three different combinations of 305s until 2009 that ran a best of 12.31 @108mph and a couple of 350 combos that pushed the car to 12.16 @112mph, Matt was done with traditional small blocks and it was time for an LS swap.
The first LS was pretty straightforward with a LS1 block, sporting a LS6 intake, cam and backed by a 4L60E – yielding a best of 12.02 @113mph before the bottom end scattered and it was back to the garage to figure out what was next.
Mulling over choices of a boosted 5.3 or other power adders, Matt decided to stick to the theme of his power choices and stuck to the naturally aspirated route and went with a 6.0L backed by a THM400 and just like that, the sorted 3rd-gen leaped into the 10s with authority.
Running this set up for a couple of years in his 10.90 index class at Silver Dollar Raceway was keeping a smile on Matt’s face, that was until the tell-tale signs of bottom end problems started showing their head in the way of a rattle from the pan…but this was just opportunity in the making as Matt knew he needed to make things a little more interesting so after the bottom end was refreshed, a new cam via Martin Smallwood specifically for his carb set up along with a SuperVictor all now backed by a Tick Performance T56 that replaced the tired THM400.
Now as we all know – letting go of the “fun button” and launching a stick car is a whole different bag of tricks and Matt was quick to figure this out, but unfortunately it was after trashing the transmission from stem to stern in the summer of ’14. Back to Tick Performance for a fresh rebuild including a set of Liberty Gears for Matt’s high-rpm shifts, A Viper Main-shaft, REM polishing and a external pump to keep the trans-fluid happy and cool as possible while Matt beat the combo like he stole it. Beyond that it was more of the same basics, more weight was removed including a PA Racing front suspension package, new motor and mid plates and a custom self-build set of equal length-front exit headers (with a little help from a good friend Jeff Moyer) to cap off the power train – this and several gear sets later helped Matt dip the Camaro into the 9’s with a 9.97 @135 at Cecil County in some brisk fall conditions.
Like so many projects that never really seem to end, Matt found himself to be the proud owner of a 9-second car with only a basic roll bar to protect himself so it was back to the garage for a thrash that lasted nine weeks and included the installation of a full 10-point cage, mini tubs for larger rubber, the new Afco shocks and re-wiring the car as he refreshed the interior all of which came together as he calls it (and we would too) a “promising little hot rod” with the right conditions and shifter in hand, Matt is looking for 9.80s around 137mph soon.
…as for us here at Cars Illustrated, we love the car Matt and keep up the good fight – the Janitor.
370″ LS (iron 6.0 .030″ over)
Stock crank, Eagle H-Beams, Diamond pistons 11.2:1
PRC Stage 2.5 ls6 heads
750 CFM Holley (dubbed old faithful, there are components on this carb older than myself)
Comp Cams trunion upgrade, ls7 lifters, Brian Tooley platinum springs, and a Martin Smallwood cam
Monster lt1-s twin disc organic clutch
Tick Performance stage 3 viperized t56 with faceplate and pump
Moser 9″ bolt-in housing with Strange center housing and 4.71 gears
PA Racing full front k-member, a-arms, rack and pinion, caster camber plates
PA Racing torque arm
BMR Extreme anti-roll bar
AFCO shocks and struts (front coil overs)
M/T 28×10.5Stiffwall ET Drags with tubes
Monster Clutches, PA Racing, AFCO, Mickey Thompson, ICT Billet, Brian Tooley Racing, MotorManiaTV, Daytona Sensors