Family Fun: Mike And Sam Farmer’s Turbocharged 1980 Camaro

If you had to create the template for a diehard car guy and drag racer you would need to sprinkle some of Mike Farmer’s attributes in the mixture. Over the course of his life, Mike has been obsessed with cars and he passed that on to his son Sam. Now, this father/son duo are ready to take their racing to the next level with a super slick 1980 Camaro that’s rocking serious boosted LS power under the hood.

Growing up, Mike just gravitated toward cars and as the years went by that never changed. Mike would keep the instructions to model cars he built in his pockets so he could memorize different engine part names. When he was old enough to drive Mike made his way to the drag strip so he could bracket race. After the first generation of outlaw heads-up racers hit the drag racing scene it was all over for Mike — he knew that bracket racing wouldn’t do it for him anymore.

Since racing has always been a part of Mike’s life it was only natural for his son to show some interest. When Sam got his hands on the Camaro he immediately began making modifications to it and, over time, it morphed into a small-tire racing machine.

“This car has been a father/son project from the start. Sam is the driver and co-owner. This was his high school car and it was powered by a small-block when we bought, but we quickly swapped that engine out for a 496 cubic-inch big block with a 150 shot of nitrous. I’m going to say it was the fastest car at school. Sam has worked since he was 15 years old to help pay for this car…it’s not all daddy’s money. The first thing he ever bought for the car was a TCI shifter and it’s still in the car today,” Mike says.

The Camaro before and during its transformation...

To ensure the car was safe and had the right chassis Mike took it to Tin Solder Racecars. Under the rear of the Camaro, you’ll find a set of Calvert Racing Suspensions leaf springs and Assassin bars. Up front, the stock framerails are still in place along with the factory coil springs. Powering the Camaro is a stock bottom end 5.3-liter engine that was assembled by Brad Schieders at Tin Solder. The engine uses a set of CNC-ported heads from BES Racing Engines, a BTR Stage 4 camshaft, and a BorgWarner S480 turbo. Behind the LS-based engine is a Powerglide transmission and PTC torque converter. Controlling everything is a Holley Dominator EFI system that works with a Holley dash display.

Mike and Sam’s goal is to be competitive in the Ultra Street class this year and they plan on attending several points races for the class. Racing locally is also on the docket for the team since they’ve had some luck at events close to home in the past.

“None of this would be possible without the help of Brad and Jason and all the boys at Tin Soldier Racecars. I feel very fortunate we found them and had that group of guys build this car for us. I also want to thank Brad Johannes at BJ Fab, Brandon Doller at Low Doller Motorsports, Terry Smith at Horsepower Sales, Rick Parsons at Hook Road Body Shop, and to all the people I asked a million questions,” Mike says.

Mike and Sam’s father/son project Camaro shows that drag racing is still a popular family activity. The memories they have made on this journey will last a lifetime and the car is something they can be very proud of.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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