Building a first-gen Camaro that stands out among a sea of first-gen Camaros can be a nearly impossible task. Let’s face it, there isn’t much that hasn’t been done to build a hot rod Camaro. But, if you were able to attend the 2018 Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, you did get to see one of Chevrolet’s early pony cars stand – not only above a sea of similar rides – but also, above all of the street machines in attendance. We of course, are talking about the car aptly named TUX.
The car was meticulously massaged, tweaked, and heavily modified during a 13-year collaborative effort between Detroit Speed, Inc., and car builder extraordinaire Stuart Adams. But, before TUX became an award-winning hot rod, it started life as a meager, green-on-green base-model daily commuter. As the pictures attest, it’s come a long way.
Although the car was in relatively good condition before it became more than a top-shelf show car, this 1969 Camaro was required to possess the appearance of elegance and sophistication, yet, prove its mettle as a drivable car. In other words, it needed to be extremely detailed, and exude the functionality and performance for which Detroit Speed is known. It wasn’t long after the build started that the name TUX was coined. Just like a good tuxedo, the sophistication and timeless style will never grow old.
The exterior modifications start with a hand-fabricated, custom floor pan, transmission tunnel, front and rear wheel houses for suspension travel and a smooth, clean look. Although not readily visible, the underside of the car features closeout panels stretching from the front apron to the rear belly pan and rocker panels. There are even custom-machined jacking posts built into rockers. The factory drip rails have been shaved to make room for new hand-built drip rails that bolt-on, allowing for chrome plating and adjustable body gaps. The side marker lights have been ever-so-slightly relocated, and custom-machined billet RS-style headlight doors and tail light bezels were made. Continuing the custom tweaks, the front and rear bumpers have been narrowed and peaked to fit body lines and gaps.
One can get lost trying to point out all of the work done to the interior. There is a hand-built rear trunk pan and inner quarter panel closeouts, custom billet-aluminum bezels, and a custom console Custom is the word of the day, and the dash is no exception. Filled with a Classic Instruments gauge cluster, this work of art interior was created and built by M&M Hot Rod Interiors.
This is a muscle car, so a run-of-the-mill V8 was not going to cut it. Kurt Urban was commissioned to build an LS2 and top it with a Harrop supercharger. Modern touches include a front accessory-drive, smoothed, polished, painted, engine block, heads, and an Infinity Box Electronic Control System keeps time and feed the monster. A custom-designed and machined air box and air intake and billet valve covers finish the look.
Like we said, this is not just a show car. At the Columbus Goodguys event, the car even made a few passes around the autocross course. It did very well, thanks in-part to the narrowed Detroit Speed front subframe with hydro-formed frame rails and custom stamped steel cross-members for increased turning radius and lowered ride height and the QUADRALink rear suspension.
We want to congratulate everyone involved with the building of TUX for the well-deserved recognition of being the 2018 Goodguys Street Machine Of The Year.