RK’s 772 Horsepower 1969 Camaro Convertible Build

Text by Travis Noack
Photos by Brandon Burrell

Article

The best part about owning a high performance muscle car is sliding into the seat, cranking the key, hearing the rumble exit the pipes, and mashing the gas while the rear tires feverishly search for traction as their grip is no match for the fire breather you’ve got under the hood.

 

RK-Collection,1969 Camaro Convertible, Concord, NC

 

For the crew at the RK-Collection in Concord, North Carolina, the injected big-block-powered pro touring ’69 Camaro convertible radiating off of these pages was an investment in potential. The RK crew wanted to see how far they could and would go to create the ultimate pro touring ’69 with power, style, detail and craftsmanship rounding every curve and corner of this handcrafted pavement pounder.

 

Like any piece of art the Camaro was not created by one man but by a whole team who dived head first into the project. The staff of the RK-Collection includes Ron Kauffman, Tom Farrell (fabricator/designer), Rich Kraus (president), Hugo Tinajero (fabricator), Nick Sherwood (fabricator) Wally Roberts (engine builder), Gary Volpicelli (Camaro expert), Vic Maguire (wiring), Tyler Walker (painter/bodywork), Corey Rupp (mechanic), Katie Morgan Rupp (administrative assistant) and Marcia Aguilano (office manager).

 

A special thanks also goes out to Hot Rod Interiors of Mooresville, North Carolina, for crafting the trick threads. Chuck Hanna and Darrel Pressley really outdid themselves on the insane cockpit of the Camaro. This tightly chiseled and deeply fabricated muscle car took approximately 18 months to build, and with a stack of awards under its belt in just the first show season, the car is definitely forcing other Camaro builders to bust out their note pads. Check out all of the details on this amazing custom ’69 ragtop Camaro.

 

The underside of the Camaro is just as detailed and polished as the topside. The modern G-machine chassis and suspension help toss down all 772 horses and 758 lb-ft of torque to the asphalt.

 

FAST FACTS OF THIS BUILD

1969 Camaro Convertible

 

Engine/Drivetrain/Fuel Delivery

772 hp/775 ft-lb of tq, all-aluminum 582-ci Dart/Chevy big-block

Hilborn electronic fuel injection

Crane cams camshaft

Crane cams Pro Magnum rockers

JE Pistons 10.5:1

Eagle 4.600 bore-4.375 stroke crankshaft

Dart aluminum Race series 340 cylinder heads

Manley valves, COMP Cams valve springs

MSD ignition

ARP fasteners

Billet Specialties pulleys

TKO 600 five-speed manual transmission

Pro Motion shifter

Universal Automotive custom nickel-plated driveshaft

Strange 9-inch Ford rearend with 3.50:1 gears

Electronic traction control with driver selectable on/off mode

MagnaFlow performance exhaust

Hand-built stainless steel headers and exhaust

Custom-fabricated, 24-gallon aluminum fuel cell

Custom aluminum oil pan

 

A detailed, injected 772-hp Dart aluminum Race series big-block is topped with Hilborn fuel injection. Linked to a TKO-600 five-speed and 9-inch Ford rearend stuffed with Strange axles, this modernized Rat will definitely bury your spine in the seat. Wally Roberts built this asphalt terror.

 

Frame

Custom Art Morrison Max-G frame mated to custom floor

Custom-crafted, mandrel-bent, removable 2 1/2-inch steel roll bar (leather covered)

Custom-fabricated front frame cross member/stiffener with 1-1/4-inch sway bar

Custom CNC-machined/polished frame to firewall stiffeners

 

Interior

All custom fabricated

Finished in two-tone leather with carbon fiber inserts

Pioneer AM/FM CD stereo/GPS navigation/iPod interface, 800-watt amplifier, six speakers, two subwoofers

A/C, push-button start, power top, power windows, power doors, power trunk

Tilt/telescopic wheel

Custom-molded carbon fiber kick-sill plates

Customized ’68 Camaro dash with modern gauges/billet switches

Custom-fabricated center console with CNC-machined billet gauge panel

Auto Meter gauges

Formula 1-style foot controls with custom CNC-machined pedals

One-off, CNC-machined shifter with carbon fiber ball

Interior by Hot Rod Interiors, Moorseville, NC (704.799.7680)

 

Hot Rod Interiors pulled out all the stops on the Camaro’s guts. Darrel Pressley custom-formed the door panels, rear panels and rear seat and covered them in two-tone leather.

The front seats are Cerullo and were covered in the same pattern of two-tone leather. The roll bar pad was hand-stitched in leather by Chuck Hanna.

The crew at RK retrofitted a ’68 Camaro dash into the ’69 cockpit and built a custom center console from aluminum. Other one-off features between the doors include an aluminum shifter with carbon fiber two-piece ball design and custom aluminum floor-mounted pedals. A stock Camaro steering wheel sits atop an ididit column commanding a Uni-Steer electronic assist steering system. A Vintage Air A/C system keeps top down temps in check.

 

Tilton floor-mounted pedals with reservoirs mounted in the firewall take the abuse when the big-block lights off and the hammer is shoved into high gear.

Body

Genuine ’69 Camaro Rally Sport (RS) convertible with original, intact ’69 Camaro VIN Number

All hand-fabricated inner fender covers/firewall

Customized cowl-induction hood with hidden air filter and CNC-machined billet cowl-induction grille

Custom-fabricated flat floors, all-metal rear spoiler

Electrically actuated exterior door handles

Billet aluminum polished hood/trunk hinges

Custom-shaved/painted front and rear bumpers and shaved side marker lights

Rockers extended to bottom of frame

Custom-fabricated rear fascia with custom exhaust outlets and billet LED taillights and fuel cover

RS headlight openers converted to DSC electric

Custom hidden cable-drive wiper motor

PPG Atomic Fire custom-mixed paint

 

Suspension/Steering

Front: C-6 Vette polished front suspension with Strange adjustable coil-overs, 1.25-inch sway bar

Rear: 4-link (nickel plated) rear suspension with Strange adjustable coil-overs, 1-inch rear sway bar

Rack-and-pinion steering with Uni-Steer electric assist

Ididit steering column

 

Wheels/Tires/Brakes

Colorado Customs Taladega Wheels

Front: 18 x 10

Rear: 20 x 12

Tires Front: P275/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot

Tires Rear: 335/30ZR20 Michelin Pilot

Wilwood four-wheel drilled discs/six-piston calipers front; 14-inch rotors/four-piston calipers rear13-inch rotors

Colorado Custom Talladega wheels, 20 x 12-inch, wrapped in Michelin Pilot 335/30ZR20 rubber roll under the massaged rear sheet metal.

The back of RK-1 has been massaged with a custom tail panel with custom taillights, integrated spoiler and Lamborghini Black stripes flowing down to the massaged underbelly.

This is what the RK-Collection started with, a well-worn ’69 RS convertible Camaro that had seen better days. Lots of rust necessitated a ton of metal work.

 

Time to Build: 4,000 work hours

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