Is This Camaro The Best First Car On The Block?

How well do you remember your first car? Nine times out of ten, the first car that people own isn’t the best on the block. That’s what makes anyone’s first car so memorable. There are only a few rare situations when people say “I don’t really remember it” when asked that question. The majority say “oh boy” and follow up with a disappointed yet excited facial expression. The first car that many people ever own tends to represent the frivolous ventures born in their teenage years. 

Not everyone is fortunate enough to own their first ride after time passes. However, there are a few, such as Matt and his 1988 IROC Camaro, that still have the keys and title for their very first. Matt is a young gun that smolders with passion for all things drag racing. He purchased the Camaro to drive around for now, but his intentions go beyond far more than the average driver. Matt’s background in mechanics and performance cars has provided him with a rare opportunity. The opportunity to build a high horsepower drivetrain and lay hold of his position in the 10.5 NMCA index. All while keeping the car street legal and driveable.

THE HISTORY

Matt bought the car in Plano, Illinois when he was seventeen. Upon purchasing the car, he found out that it belonged to the local high school’s automotive class. In the first year of possessing his Camaro, he simply spent time learning the ins and outs of his Camaro while trying to get it running. His most recent project with the car involved an engine swap. Matt installed a carbureted 350ci small block at the summer start. To back his 350ci is a five-speed manual and limited-slip differential. “The 350ci isn’t my stopping point with the car, but it was a great place to start for this season while the second motor is prepped.” 

And he’s right. Matt currently works for Precision Engine Rebuilders as a Teardown Specialist which gives him access to some pretty neat engines and machinery. One of those engines is bound to be his next build. “Once the winter rolls in, that’s where the real power project begins.” Says Matt. 

THE FUTURE

The undergoing power operation is a stroker 383ci Chevy block with a 250cc nitrous plate. Behind it, will be a TH400 transmission and a Ford 9-inch center section to plant the torque. Before he starts the power project, however, Matt is finishing the bodywork based on the car’s “Hulk” inspired theme. The details involve painting the engine, interior, and exterior of the car in Hulk details. Even the paint code he’s selecting will be a tone or variation that accompanies the interior and exterior accents. His current debate is deciding between a white or lime green for the car’s body. On top of all that, he plans to get a cage welded in and painted as well. He’s also hoping to replace the 4-inch cowl with a taller fiberglass cowl hood. Simply put, there’s a lot of work ahead.

Matt is positive about one general statement. “I’m going to get the car out there on the strip at Route 66 Raceway to test my work. I’m excited just to see what the car is capable of when it’s chugging nitrous and pumping 750 horsepower.” Until it’s time, Matt will continue his auto adventures around the midwest; celebrating his powerful street muscle Camaro!

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About the author

Matthew McMurray

Matt McMurray is a young writer, photographer and entrepreneur with a passion for the modern world of all things automotive. Having grown up in his dad’s garage, he spent extensive time at the drag strip – both behind the wheel and under the hood.
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